1971 to most living Indians conjures up the country’s biggest battlefield victory and the creation of Bangladesh. However, if you are of a senior vintage, it’s likely the association will be one of India’s early and epochal sporting triumphs not on the hockey turf. It was indeed nothing short of miraculous when unfancied India beat giants West Indies in their own backyard and followed up by a series victory in England! Such could not have happened without prodigious feats on the field such as Sunil Gavaskar’s astonishing 774 aggregate or Chandrashekhar’s 6 for 38 at The Oval. The story however begins in conflict with the rejection of the Nawab of Pataudi by chairman of selectors Vijay Merchant in favour of Ajit Wadekar by using his casting vote to break a deadlock. The book – 1971: The Beginnings Of Indian Cricket Greatness – details these shenanigans and also how number one keeper Farrokh Engineer was excluded from the West Indies tour. A batting swansong by veteran Dilip Sardesai and the performance of new superstar Gavaskar delivers the series with grace notes from geniuses like Salim Durrani. On the England leg India survives a scare to come back and win at The Oval. Needless to say, in both series the bowling burdens are shared by the fabled spin quartet. The best part of the book are the interviews.