Stolen champagnes, no food and Viv tribute - Sandeep, Yashpal recall 1983 night

Sandeep Patil and Yashpal Sharma recall pleasant memories and anecdotes related to India's 1983 World Cup win.

Yashpal Sharma, who played a crucial fifty in the semifinal win over England, holds the World Cup trophy aloft.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Sandeep Patil does not remember his wife's birthday or his wedding anniversary. “True. But 25th June 1983 is a date which is part of my life. Unforgettable.” For Yashpal Sharma, too, it is a significant day. “The nation remembers us every year on June 25. It is an invigorating feeling when we remember that historic moment.”

Patil has many pleasant memories and anecdotes related to the World Cup win. Some told, some not. “Watching the West Indian players make their way into the Indian dressing room one by one is vivid. It was very sporting and kind of them. I must say that it was a scene none would have thought of. But it happened. What a formidable line up it was and what a moment when all those great names came to our dressing room after the match got over. We even flicked the champagne bottles from their collection,” Patil recalled.

At the lunch break (matches were of 60 overs a side affair), Patil saw someone tapping his shoulder. “I turned to face Viv (Richards). He was praising me for my innings against England (in the semifinals). The West Indians were almost certain they were winning the final. Who would have known. I sat near the Lord's dressing room window soaking in the joy, watching the celebrations all over.”

The champions, however, were left 'hungry and thirsty'. Most restaurants in London had shut and bars had run out of drinks. Patil and Ravi Shastri hopped into a car, and went in search of food. “We drove for an hour and around 4.30 found this Wimpy restaurant in Piccadilly. All we got was a sandwich. Within hours I was on the flight back to India with Dilip (Vengsarkar). I had a shoot lined up for my film (Kabhi Ajnabi The).”

Sharma and Patil greeted by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after India's World Cup win. PHOTO: THE HINDU ARCHIVES


The rest of the team stayed back to play a benefit match in Scotland for Kailash Gattani.

On return, the team was felicitated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at Hyderabad House. Patil recalled, “Imagine being served by the Prime Minister. She broke protocol to receive us alone at the Gate and then at the reception she served each member personally. What a moment it was. I asked for Paani-Poori and she accompanied me to the stall serving the snacks.”

For Yashpal, the abiding memory was the six he hit at Manchester off Bob Willis in the semifinal at Manchester. “I was sitting in the stands (in 1979) when Richards hit Mike Hendricks for a similar six. It was in my mind and wanted to emulate that shot. I picked Willis' line early. I was not even sure of playing but was pleasantly surprised to be picked ahead of Vengsarkar. I batted at different positions but was glad I could contribute.” Yashpal was India's second highest run-getter with super knocks against West Indies in the opener and the semifinal.

“I have happy and some not so happy memories. Somehow I never got recognition from my captain (Kapil Dev),” Yashpal said. Kapil's response to Sportstar was, “I have always talked of Balvinder Sandhu's ball to Gordon Greenidge, Kirti Azad's ball to Ian Botham, how can I not talk of Yashpal. His batting was the key and he was an important part of the World Cup win.”

This year, the gang of 1983 was greeted with a message early morning. “Missing you all at Lord's,” from Sunil Gavaskar. It was a gentle reminder for Kapil's Devils to roll back the years and remember an epic day of Indian cricket.

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