On 25th June 1983 the Indian cricket team , known as Kapil’s Devils, shocked Clive Lloyd’s mighty West Indies to lift the world cup and usher in a cricket revolution in the country. The win was even more of a huge surprise since in the previous two editions India had bowed out in the league stages while the West Indies team had won not only won both the World Cups held so far, but had not been beaten in a single match.
No one thought the Indian team would win. In a recent felicitation, Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath and Kirti Azad said they had mentally thought they were going for a free holiday. Yashpal Sharma said even the broadcasters had not taken the team seriously and BBC did not cover the team’s first match and did so only after India won it. India did not stop there and went on to win the World Cup.
The team proved that the world cup win was not a fluke by winning the 1985 World Championships of cricket in Australia. Thereafter India has steadily remained a top cricketing country.
Let’s take a nostalgic trivia journey of this memorable tournament of 1983.
India shocked the West Indies in their 1st match. This was the 1st ever loss in the World Cup for Lloyd’s men. ODI’s then were 60 over a side matches and this was the 200th ODI overall. India scored 262/8 with Yashpal Sharma top scoring with 89. West Indies were 130/8 at one stage with Binny and Shastri doing the damage with 3 wickets each. 37 each by Roberts and Garner took them to 228.
India then comfortably defeated Zimbabwe by restricting them to 155 and reaching the target with loss of 5 wickets. Kapil’s team then suffered a setback with a 162 run loss to Australia for whom opener Trevor Chappell, of the infamous underarm ball incident of 1981, scored a century. Kepler Wessels who later captained South Africa, played for the Aussies in this match to join a select club who have played for 2 countries.
India lost their next match as well. West Indies, powered by 119 by Viv Richards reached 282 and comfortably restricted India to 216, with only Jimmy Amarnath scoring a battling 80. Dilip Vengsarkar was hit on the face by Marshall and retired hurt on 32. It was destiny that he was fit by semi-finals but by then the team was settled and he could not be fitted in. Ever a team man, Colonel says that he has regrets about not playing the final, but more importantly, it was a matter of great pride that the world cup was won, even though all had written them off.
India thereafter entered the semi-finals with wins over Zimbabwe and Australia. Ironically the win over Australia was easy while the Zimbabwe match had lot of drama. Madan Lal and Binny took 4 wickets each to restrict the Aussies to 129 after India had scored 247.
The win over Zimbabwe saw one of the greatest ODI innings ever from Kapil Dev who scored 175 after Rawson and Curran had reduced India to 17-5. The only other double digit scores were 24, 22 and 17 by Kirmani, Binny and Madan Lal respectively and their contribution too is praiseworthy. Sadly, a TV strike meant that this great innings could never be seen by cricket lovers worldwide, then and in future. Sunny Gavaskar later said this knock changed not just that match but the game of cricket forever.
England by virtue of being the losing finalist of the 1979 edition and with vastly richer experience in the format were the favorites. However they could score just 214 with Kapil leading from the front with 3-35, and well supported by Jimmy Amarnath and Binny. India had a comfortable 6 wicket win with Yashpal Sharma scoring 61 and Sandeep Patil scoring an electrifying 51 in 31 balls. Amarnath by virtue of his 46 and 2-27 in 12 overs was man of the match.
India met the fearsome West Indies, who had thumped Pakistan by 8 wickets after restricting them to 188 and reaching the target by losing just 2 wickets, with Viv Richards scoring a magnificent 80.
In the finals India scored just 183 with Sreekanth being highest scorer with just 38. West Indies seemed on the way with Richards taking off from his unbeaten 80 when the match turned after Kapil took a stunning catch to remove Richards off the bowling of Madan Lal. Before that catch, Sandeep Patil recollects that he was fielding at deep fine legand the way Richards was batting, Marshneil Gavaskar (Sunny’s wife) told him to tell Sunny to meet her outside in half an hour so that they could go for shopping. After Richards dismissal, wickets kept on tumbling at regular intervals. West Indies were bowled out for 140 to give India a stunning upset win. Jimmy Amarnath was once again man of the match for his 26 and 3-12 in 7 overs.
Some of the lifetime memories of the final are;
(i) Sreekanth going down on one knee to square drive Andy Roberts, which he later said reminded him of Gundappa Vishwanath, who played that stroke like an artist.
(ii) Balwinder Sandhu clean bowling Greenidge who shouldered arms to an inswinger. Recollecting the incident Sandhu says that he kept on bowling outswingers to Haynes and when he bowled to Greenidge he bowled and inswinger from close to the stumps which did the trick.
(iii) Kapil Dev’s magnificent catch of Richards who had raced to 33 in 28 balls where he had to run backwards and sideways for 20 yards,
(iv) Jimmy Amarnath’s languid style of bowling. As Kapil Dev put it, Jimmy had a lazy relaxed style of bowling , almost as if he was jogging, but he was very deceptive and could make the ball wobble, and induce indecisiveness in batting.
(v) The crowd swarming all over the place after Amarnath trapped Holding lbw to secure India’s win. Sandhu says that he and other players ran from safety and only he, Binny and Madan Lal managed to retain the stumps as souvenirs.
These then are the glimpses of India’s incredible run in the 1983 World Cup winning campaign which changed the course of Indian cricket.
Singing icon Lata Mangeskar had invited the 1983 team for a dinner at her hotel before the final. She also watched the Cup final at Lords and mentions the win as a cherished memory close to her heart. After winning the trophy Kapil invited her for dinner with the team and she went. Those days BCCI did not have money and Lata performed a concert free in which Rs 20 Lakh was collected and each player got Rs 1 Lakh. Contrast this with the Rs 2 Crore given by BCCI to each player of the winning 2011 world cup team. Indeed , the game has changed, but the joy of 1983 will be with us forever.
About the author
The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS officer based in Mumbai who has a keen interest in sports, movies and music.
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