Raising a toast to World Cup 1983

Former India captain Kapil Dev, along with team-mate Madan Lal, walk down the memory lane to relive the greatest day in Indian cricket in London.

Kapil Dev, India’s World Cup-winning captain of 1983, at a book launch in New Delhi on Tuesday.   -  R.V. MOORTHY


For most people present in the banquet hall of a city hotel on Tuesday afternoon, it was nostalgia time. Precisely 36 years after lifting the Prudential Cup, Kapil Dev was among those sharing some anecdotes connected with India’s first World Cup triumph.

The occasion was the release of the book, Miracle Men, written by sports presenter Nikhil Naz. The function was attended, among others, by former cricketers and sports journalists from print and electronic media.

Asked about the famous catch he took to dismiss Vivian Richards in the final, Kapil underplayed the effort and said, “That’s what we were told to do by our coaches – when running back, try to take the catch sideways. During those days, the fielding drills were not like what you see today. Today, it is far more intense and fielders are far more aware of what they need to do to get better.”

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Madan Lal, another key member of the Cup-winning team, hailed Kapil’s captaincy and denied having “snatched the ball from Kapil” to bowl the over that saw the dismissal of Richards.

“No one can snatch the ball away from a captain. Irrespective of seniority, Kapil was a quality all-rounder.” maintained Madan Lal.

Kirti Azad, asked about the low-trajectory ball that dismissed Ian Botham in the semifinals, said, “I still don’t know how I bowled that delivery. That ball simply shot through.”

The all-rounder described Kapil’s catch and the epic knock of 175 against Zimbabwe as “without a parallel.”

Kapil Dev (right) and Mohinder Amarnath with the World Cup at Lord's in London in 1983.   -  GETTY IMAGES


Nikhil Naz touched upon the research behind the book and revealed, “While working on this book I discovered it was not true that the India-Zimbabwe match was not shown because BBC was on strike. The truth was, on that day (June 18), four matches were scheduled. The BBC chose to cover the England-Pakistan match and the one involving Australia and West Indies, thereby giving the other two matches — India-Zimbabwe and New Zealand-Sri lanka — a miss.”

Kapil was quick to add, “I remember no match was shown live that day. I think two matches were recorded and showed it later.”

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Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, who was part of the selection committee that chose India’s World Cup squad, was also present. He praised the cricketing acumen of selectors Kirpal Singh and

Hanumant Singh and acknowledged the immense contribution of Ambar Roy and Chandu Borde, the other two selectors.

“There was agreement on every member selected. We believed these boys could win. Each player gave his all and returned with the Cup that very few expected to come India’s way,” he concluded.

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