The 1983 victory was a game changer

P. R. Man Singh, the manager of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, with the souvenir commemorating the epoch-making victory.-V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

“Things have changed a lot in the last 32 years since that epoch-making victory. The captain now looks to the coach and outside information for guidance,” says Man Singh, the manager of the Indian team that won the World Cup in 1983. By V. V. Subrahmanyam.

He takes pride in the fact that India had won the 1983 World Cup without any coach or support staff. P. R. Man Singh, the manager of that victorious Indian team who had donned different roles, has every reason to feel so, for he was part of the think-tank that made the victory possible.

“Things have changed a lot in the last 32 years since that epoch-making victory. What I feel is that there is too much tampering in the thought process now. The captain now looks to the coach and outside information for guidance. Back then, you had an inspirational captain in Kapil Dev, who led by instinct and often came up with incredible decisions that changed the course of the game,” explains Man Singh, as he shares his thoughts on that great victory, ahead of the 2015 World Cup Down Under.

“You need moves on the field which would surprise the opposition, like Martin Crowe introducing off-spinner Dipak Patel in the first spell in the 1992 World Cup,” he says.

How does Man Singh rate the 1983 World Cup?

“There can’t be any (like the 1983 World Cup). There was absolutely no pressure then. I was the manager when we won the Cup in England, and then when we lost at home in the 1987 edition. The pressure is huge at home. And there was no media scrutiny (then). It is so intense these days that it is actually turning out to be the biggest influence on the players — more than anything else,” he says.

As for his fondest memories of the 1983 World Cup, Man Singh says: “Who can forget that epic 175 by Kapil against Zimbabwe when it was almost a gone case for us?

Jubilant fans celebrate India's victory against the West Indies in the final of the 1983 World Cup at Lord's.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

In fact, every World Cup has produced some magical moments.”

Were Man Singh to be the manager of the current Dhoni-led Indian team, what would be most important for him?

“In 1983, every member took pride in the team’s performance. They were relaxed and felt no pressure apparently because no one gave us the chance (to win the World Cup). This was the decisive factor. The camaraderie and the bonding are the key issues,” he says.

What about issues that might not look big — like someone missing vegetarian food — but could hamper the team’s preparations?

“For sure, even I faced this problem in 1983 when (Krishnamachari) Srikkanth and Yashpal Sharma were looking for vegetarian food. This is where the support staff and the manager have a role to play. They have to ensure that there is no scope for such complaints,” Man Singh says.

How does he feel now after Dhoni’s team gave India its second World Cup in 2011?

“No one can take away the credit from us (the 1983 team). I firmly believe that win changed the face of Indian cricket. And like they say, people will remember Tenzing Norgay as the first person to climb Mount Everest, and not the others who followed him,” explains Man Singh.