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Within hours of our arrival the Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi was assassinated about which I was

Posted on 18 July 2010

Within hours of our arrival, the Prime Minister, Mrs Gandhi, was assassinated, about which I was informed in a telephone call from the Daily Express. There was an official period of mourning and the itinerary was re-arranged. Then, the Deputy High Commissioner, Percy Norris, was murdered. The night before, he had hosted a splendid gathering for the tour party. There were calls, somewhat hysterical I felt, to abandon the tour. I resisted and Mrs Norris wrote saying Percy would have wished us to continue It was a happy squad We won from behind England struggled throughout in the West Indies. It was a different mix of players and Graham Gooch almost went home flew out and we sat for four hours persuading him to stay.

We lost 5-0 but the former West Indies batsman, Jackie Hendricks, told me that if we had had their bowlers we would have won.Bob BennettManaged tours to New Zealand and Australia 1991-92; India and Sri Lanka 1992-93It would perhaps be difficult to have two such contrasting tours. The first was hugely successful and enjoyable, marred only at the very end when we lost the World Cup final. The second was a total failure from a playing perspective but how gruelling it was. An Indian airlines strike meant that only one journey, among scores, went according to schedule. The party were constantly waiting, being re-routed and taking trains huge distances. As a former road haulier it was an extension of that – planning journeys, making sure we reached destinations. But on the entire tour I had only 90 minutes free time when I seized the chance to see something of Calcutta.

For most of the time much of the squad were ill, not with any tummy problems but with a chest virus. Amid constant travel we had to deal with cancellations and crowd disturbances. I wasn’t ill there but on return it took me a year to recover. Neil Fairbrother said they wouldn’t have got through it without me. My days as tour manager are probably over, but I’d do it again.John BarclayManaged tour to South Africa 1995-96; managing tour to Zimbabwe and New Zealand 1996-97There is a tremendous amount of bumf on my kitchen table right now which I’m steadily working my way through. Information about which I should be aware before we embark keeps arriving. This is a particularly exciting tour, of course, because although many English club, county and representative sides have been to Zimbabwe over the years this is the first Test series we have played there.

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