"I didn’t believe we’d go that far" - Kapil Dev on 1983 World Cup triumph

Skipper Kapil Dev with the 1983 World Cup trophy
Skipper Kapil Dev with the 1983 World Cup trophy

The 1983 World Cup final win was a watershed moment in Indian sports and the architect of that win was Indian skipper Kapil Dev. No one would have given India a chance to emerge as World Champions from the third edition of the tournament, after just winning one game across the previous two editions.

All of that changed in 1983 as Kapil Dev’s side stunned two-time World Champions West Indies in the final at Lord’s to usher a new wave of popularity for the sport.

In an exclusive interview Indranil Basu and Shanivi Sadana, as a part of Sportskeeda's new series, 'Free Hit', former India captain Kapil Dev revealed that even he didn’t believe that India would reach the final and go all the way to win the Cup.

“I didn’t believe we’ll go that far. When you start winning and start understanding the team that’s when things change."
“When we won a few matches, we felt among ourselves that we are capable of doing anything. I think it’s not my self-belief, when the team started believing and halfway through we started believing that we could win the World Cup,” Kapil Dev said.

The 1983 World Cup India team stunned the defending World Champions West Indies in their first game of the tournament by 34 runs which gave them immense confidence. Then in a crucial game at Tunbridge Wells against Zimbabwe, India had slipped to 17/5 but Kapil Dev came out and took command, scoring 175 off 138 balls as his side romped home by 31 runs.

In the semi-finals, India defeated hosts England by six wickets while in the famous final Kapil Dev’s side managed to defend a paltry 183 and win the famous clash by 43 runs.

Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath picked up three wickets each but Kapil Dev picked up a brilliant running catch of West Indies captain in 1983 World Cup Viv Richards, who was blazing away at 33 off 28 balls.

The captain has to be positive and carry the team along: Kapil Dev

However, while everyone partied after the incredible win, Kapil Dev chose to stay grounded.

“I was mad, that’s all. The CEO of the company or the captain is a little more mad or little loose in their head, that’s why they make you captain," Kapil Dev said.
“Captain has to be more positive and take the team along. As a cricket captain, you have to keep the target to yourself, enjoy yourself there. They enjoy only when they score a boundary or take a wicket, but they should enjoy the day when they are playing. So I was a little mad I would say,” Kapil Dev, who scored 3783 runs and picked up 253 wickets in 225 ODIs, recalled.

Now the 1983 World Cup win will be coming to the silver screen soon with Bollywood star Ranveer Singh reprising the role of Kapil Dev.

However, the 61-year-old had kept himself away from the nitty-gritties of the Bollywood film, preferring to just stick to his side of the story.

“Balwinder Singh Sandhu who is helping the producer or Ranveer Singh would know entirely about the movie. I don’t think anybody else knows, we’ve all given our side of the story."
“Whatever I felt or what I went through, I’ve given my side of the story and the others have also given their side of the story. After that I don’t want to know what it happening. Looking forward to it, fingers crossed,” the former India all-rounder added.

The film, titled '83', was scheduled for an April 2020 release. That has, however, been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the film will now be released on Christmas 2020.

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Edited by Habil Ahmed Sherule
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