The greatest memory for me ever is the 1983 World Cup. The win, of course, is a huge memory, but before that — Tunbridge Wells. It was like a fantasy. It was like reading a fairy tale. I couldn’t believe it. At 13/4 and then 17/5, it was game, set and match against a pretty decent Zimbabwean bowling attack. It just didn’t look possible and then this guy, the unbelievable cricketer Kapil Dev Nikhanj, played this innings of, at least, the entire One-Day International millennium in a sense. It was never done before. Sir Viv Richards had made 189 not out subsequently, but this was the innings of a lifetime, of a generation. It defined India for me. It was the innings that really made us believe that we could do something.
I couldn’t believe it. I went for swimming practice. I returned and heard he was batting on 86. We could not even see it, it was on the radio. Then, he went on and on and on...175 from 17/5. What an innings! India goes to 260-odd and wins the game. There was no looking back from there.
The other memory is beating the West Indies in the preliminaries before we beat them in the final. You can’t beat a team with Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and the four fast bowlers. It was just impossible.
To me, 1983 was like a fairy tale. Till then, we did not think seriously about India winning anything. Now we have a position in cricket, commercial and otherwise; look at the kind of victories we achieve, but this was just fantastic.
Kapil Dev, I salute you!
Cyrus Broacha is a TV anchor, theatre personality, comedian, political satirist, columnist, podcaster and an author.
As told to Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya.
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