1983 World Cup: Comeback man Mohinder Amarnath grabs the limelight

Mohinder Amarnath was the Man of the Match in the semifinal against England and in the final against the West Indies.

Mohinder Amarnath has trapped last man Michael Holding to seal India’s victory against West Indies in the final of the Prudential World Cup at Lord’s on June 25, 1983.   -  The Hindu Photo Library

Mohinder Amarnath often reflects on the 1983 World Cup and a smile adorns his face when he talks about the final.

Few gave India a chance. Being bowled out for 183 only proved Indian cricket’s detractors right. So it seemed. For Kapil Dev and his team, there was a chance. Because small targets often prove tricky. It proved right and this time it was India, thanks to Amarnath’s prowess with the bat and the ball, which came on top.

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Amarnath began his international career essentially as a seam bowler. His two wickets on Test debut were Keith Stackpole and Ian Chappell in Madras in 1969 — gentle but lethal outswingers which left the Australians foxed. His career witnessed many ups and downs and he came to be known as the comeback man. He also came to be known as a gutsy cricketer, taking the blows on his chest, unflinching at the crease.

In the run-up to the World Cup, he was struck on the mouth by Malcolm Marshall, but he hooked the first ball for a six when he resumed the innings a day later. With such a brave cricketer in its ranks, India could look forward to some heroics and Amarnath did not disappoint. He was Man of the Match in the semifinal against England and in the final against the West Indies.

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His 26 in India’s innings was well-constructed before Michael Holding got him with a brute of a delivery which crashed through his defence. It was with the ball, coming at second change, that he left West Indies bruised. His three scalps were Jeff Dujon, Marshall and Holding, the final wicket.

As the audience exploded and invaded the Lord’s ground, Amarnath made an attempt to snatch one of the stumps at the striker’s end but missed. He kept on running though and it is a sight which has stayed with fans of Indian cricket.