SK Flashback: When the Indian Cricket Team won their maiden World Cup title
34 years ago, on this day, cricket in India changed forever. The corporate, paparazzi, and most importantly, the cricket lovers started giving the Indian team the recognition and credit it deserved. India witnessed a sort of a cricket revolution, something that was a foundation of the force that Indian Cricket is today.
This day, in the year 1983, India were crowned the Champions of the World, winning their maiden World Cup trophy. You see, if not for that win, India’s greatest of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, may have not felt inspired enough to pursue the sport.
The 1983 Prudential World Cup, as it was known then, was the third edition of the most fascinating contest in cricket. Eight of the most competitive cricket teams from the world took part in the tournament, a tradition which continues till today. It was held from 9th June to 25th June, 1983 in England and Wales. The only two points that demarcate the contemporary ODI World Cup from its preceding editions are that back then, the total number of overs per side was 60, and teams wore traditional white strips.
If you watched the recently concluded Champions Trophy 2017, you will be able to relate to the story from 1983. The underdogs, India, who were seen as prey for the mighty powers Australia and West Indies, took it all home; much like Pakistan’s fairytale win last Sunday. West Indies had won the preceding two tournaments, and looked good for a hat-trick.
England, on the other hand, boasted of sufficient talent, plus the home advantage. But it was a bunch of young cricketers from India that lifted the silverware. Perhaps, they would not have not even dreamt of the reality that unfurled. With only a solitary win from the previous two editions of the World Cup, the team had done little to inspire support from even its staunchest of fans.
Placed in group B, India played six games during the group stage. They won four and lost two, to Australia and New Zealand respectively. Advancing to the knockout stage, India beat England in the first semifinal, and then decimated West Indies in what was a red letter day in Indian cricket’s history.
The first semi-final was played at Old Trafford on June 22nd. The hosts won the toss and put India to field first. India restricted England on 213, with Kapil Dev taking three for 35 in his 11 overs, while Roger Binny and Mohinder Amarnath mustering two wickets each.
In the chase, Sandeep Patel and Yashpal Sharma scored half centuries, as India chased the target in only 54 overs. The man of the match was awarded to Mohinder Amarnath for his 46 off 92 balls, which saw four boundaries and one six, and also his bowling spell of 2/27 from his 12 overs.
In the final, West Indies, boasting of the best bowling and batting attack, won the toss and elected to field. Their bowlers ripped through India’s batting line-up, with only significant contributions coming from Krishnamachari Srikkanth (38 off 57) and Mohinder Amarnath (26 from 80). India were bundled out for 183 in the 54th over, and not a fly would have imagined them lifting the cup.
However, the Indian bowlers bowled out arguably the best batting lineup of the era for 140 from 52 overs, winning the final by 43 runs and in the process, registered one of the most surprising upsets in cricket.
Madan Lal and Amarnath took three wickets each. The latter was the most economical bowler, conceding just 12 runs from his seven overs. He was once again awarded the Man of the Match award. On that day, Kapil Dev and his troops triggered a love story – that between India and cricket, that has only grown stronger ever since.
Although no man of the tournament was awarded back then, Mohinder Amarnath would surely have bagged it if there was one.
"Mohinder has the laziest, relaxed way of bowling, as if he's jogging, but these are deceptive moves as he trips them by making the ball wobble and induce all kinds of indecisiveness in batting," Kapil Dev wrote years after Indian cricket's most famous day.
Here’s how the greats from the bygone era recall that magical day.
Kapil Dev – "If you look at 183 with the kind of batting line-up that West Indies had, it really should have been a walk in the park for them. It's something that brings goosebumps even after so many years. At times, it is difficult to believe that you were once a part of a World Cup winning team," Kapil was quoted as saying by BCCI's official website.
Sunil Gavaskar – "It is the best moment of your cricketing career to see your captain lift the World Cup up in the air with massive reaction and reception from the huge crowd gathered at the Lord's. It was a moment to savour.”
Ravi Shastri – “Being the youngest man in that party, all I'll tell you is that day at the Lord’s changed my life. June 25, 1983 changed the face of Indian cricket.”Published 25 Jun 2017, 11:02 IST