On the evening of September 1st, in partnership with Ray Events, Here and Now 365 hosted a very special event in London to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Indian cricket team’s historic first test and series victory on English soil.
Cricketing heroes both past and present were in attendance. Farokh Engineer, India’s top scorer during the famous winning match, attended in person, and shared his memories of the match with guests. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, who bowled India to the historic win, and Sunil Gavaskar, who opened the batting for India in the game, were also in attendance. John Jameson, who scored 82 for England during the game, represented the home side.
Also in attendance was Ravi Shastri, former player and current head coach of the team striving to repeat past successes at the Oval this week, who remembered how inspired he was by the iconic game. Only 9 years old at the time, he said was glued to the radio commentary on the BBC world service.
In the beautiful surroundings of the Taj St James Court Hotel in London, the audience were served cocktails and canapes and shown highlights of the 1971 Oval test, including a soundbite from the late captain of the Indian side, Ajit Wadekar. There was also a poignant moment of silence for the seven players who participated in the match and have since passed. Aside from Wadekar, they are Dilip Sardesai, Ashok Mankad and Eknath Solkar of India, and Brian Luckhurst, John Edrich and Basil D’Oliviera of England.
Veteran cricket broadcaster and journalist and show presenter Ashis Ray also appealed to the businessmen present to start a benefit fund for the heroes of 1971, who never received proper compensation for their efforts, especially not on the level of the generous rewards that later winning teams have received. The first contribution pledge has already come in.
The 100-odd attendees and sponsors (including ICICI Bank, West Midland India Partnership and East
African Foods) have praised the event, using words like ‘fantastic’ and ‘magical’.