Man Singh: ‘Pride of playing for the country united them’

It's been 34 years since India lifted its first World Cup. Man Singh, manager of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian team, relives his experience.

During the 1983 World Cup, the players had only the manager P.R. Man Singh to rely on.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

On June 25, 1983, the Kapil Dev-led Indian team won the World Cup at Lord’s without a coach or support staff.

The players had only the manager P.R. Man Singh to rely on. He donned other roles also, like member of the touring selection panel.

“It all depends on the kind of one-to-one relationship with the players. Fortunately, I had a special bonding with them including the big guns as I saw them grow up since their early days and most of them played in the Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup, Inter-State or Ranji Trophy championships,” said the Hyderabadi.

“I must say I never imposed myself on anyone even when I sensed there were some ego problems among the big guns. I conveyed the message in a subtle and humorous manner. They all respected me for my theoretical knowledge and legacy,” he recalled.

“Despite ego problems off the field, once they were out there in the middle, the pride of playing for the country was the decisive binding factor for the entire team,” Man Singh said.

“My role had been defined clearly and the players knew about that. We worked accordingly in the best interest of the team,” he said.

“Now, in the case of the reported rift between Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli, I cannot pass any judgement as very little is known about what exactly had happened,” said Man Singh.

'But, I wonder what was the manager of the team doing in England when this Kumble-Kohli issue was on. He cannot say that he was not aware of what was happening given his limited duties as so many support staff are handling different jobs. He should have briefed the Board about the developments to facilitate corrective measures if he thought something was brewing" he said.

"Definitely, the whole issue could have been handled better. But, the BCCI is itself in a mess and they themselves don't know who is expected to do what," the victorious World Cup manager said.

“I don’t think the Kumble issue will have a bearing on the Indian team’s performance in the West Indies,” said Man Singh.

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