Unusual situation caused the International Cricket Tour to be cancelled- Death of Prime Minister

Published:17 July 2020

Death of Prime Minister

India's Pakistan tour began in 1984 with the first 3-match ODI series game at Quetta. Pakistan won the game as they bowled out the visitors to 153 after posting in the limited 40 overs for 199. Later, in the first two matches of the 3-match Test series, the two teams clashed; both ending in a draw. In the Lahore Test, India was forced to follow-up where they fought out to save the game the last two days.

India bounced back in Faisalabad where 500 were posted while batting first, but Pakistan also responded to draw this match with a mammoth total of 674. The remaining two ODIs were sought to play in Sialkot and Peshawar before the series decision-maker in Karachi, respectively. In the restricted 40 overs, India put on a significant total of 210/3 after they were put in for bat.

Dilip Vengsarkar smashed an unbeaten 94 off 102 balls while Sandeep Patil scored 59 for the 3rd wicket during the 143-run stand. On the very day (October 31, 1984), India's then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot in the morning by her bodyguards and declared dead at around 2:20 PM IST. The news reached Sialkot through innings break, and the officials decided to call off the tour including Pakistan's chase in the 2nd ODI.

India returned home with a Test, an ODI and Hanif Mohammad Benefit match still to be played leaving the tour incomplete. The call-off tour was quite unusual as the death of a high-profile person during a cricket match was quite rare, and in the touring country, the assassination happened. Percy Norris, a then-British Deputy High Commissioner, was shot dead in Bombay a month later.

The incident occurred about 24 hours before Bombay only hosted the first Test between India and England. However, the officials decided to continue the tour and, despite losing the Bombay Test, England claimed the 5-match Test series by 2-1 margin. Bizarrely, Percy Norris' last official role was to host a party on the first day of the test that included the India and England teams.