Thursday, 8 March 2007

Memories of the '83 World Cup

In hindsight, leaving the shores as a bunch of ‘no hopers’ was a blessing in disguise. If any member of the '83 team barring Kapil Dev is now to say he was confident of us winning the cup back then, he is lying. Period.

There was no pressure on us whatsoever. Some of the leading reporters even skipped the event, stating there was no point in covering a tournament where India stood no chance. Remember, television was just coming in. The written word was still the gospel among the followers, and pre-event reports suggested we were on a picnic!

And picnic it was, or at least that is what we thought it would be. Sunil Gavaskar had already planned a tripfor eight players from the WC squad, with Ajit Wadekar as manager, to the USA. I remember telling my wife (I got married in March ‘83) that the trip would be our second honeymoon. At the start of the tournament, we hardly envisaged that our private trip would have to be postponed.

We were actually in the tougher of the two groups. Australia, even with a depleted side, were a better bet than some of the other teams, as the one-day mix had already become a part of their culture. To talk about the prowess of the West Indians would be only stating the obvious.






Looking back, I can vividly recall the talk Kapil Dev had with the team before the event started. He made us believe that the West Indies were beatable. We had got a few months earlier and Kapil said if we could do it once, why not another time. The feeling of 'we can do it' rubbed off on to at least some of us after Kapil’s confidence-instilling talk.

The warm-up games we played were total disasters. Losing to Sri Lanka and then to a couple of club sides was hardly the preparation. But one thing I thought would work in our favour was the form of the medium pacers. The English weather was the ideal setting for our seamers who moved the ball well. And in the final analysis, it was seam bowling that paved the way for the famous win.

Leaving the team hotel for the opening game against West Indies at Manchester, thinking of a win was the last thing on our mind. But the knock from Yashpal Sharma and some disciplined bowling and imaginative captaincy from Kapil paved the way for an exciting win.Even then, if any of my team mates had told me we were in with a chance, I would have chased him to the nearest mental asylum!

9 comments:

vinay said...

Awsome observations by Mr.Srikanth

vinay said...

Australia still the favourites for this worldcup despite their recent bad perfoemances

Desh said...

Krish:

It was indeed one of those rare things that happen but once in a lifetime!

Despite the fact that Sunil Gavaskar was (and still is my all time favorite test batsman).. you will remain my favorite opener! I loved the way you could smash the best of deliveries from Imran or Holding off the ground but get beaten by very simple ones :-)

You were a delight to watch!

Cheers,
Desh
Drishtikone.com

Anonymous said...
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Raja Swaminathan said...

Thanks,Krish, for sharing your personal memories of that memorable Cup.

I remember listening to the commentary of all those games. There was no TV available (at least not to me) at that time, so we had to just listen to the radio and imagine what was happening out there.

I remember listening to Kapil's 175* - what an innings !

And then there was that semi-final game against England. I was really desperate for India to win that one - somehow India had rarely ever done well against England, especially in England, so the win in this game - on this stage - was very sweet.

And then there was that final. I remember your batting - against bowling of that quality (Garner, Marshall & co), you did very well to keep your wicket and yet keep the scoreboard moving. I remember when you got out lbw. My brother and I were like - "it was just too good to last". Your 38 was a gem in its own right - and very important in the context of the game.

Like all Indians, I have very fond memories of that World Cup. Thanks to you and all the other players who made it such a memorable Cup for us.

Ramkumar Iyer said...

Hello Kris

Iam Ramkumar. I agree with you that
in 1983 nobody would have anticipated us to win the world cup provided we were not cup favourites compared to west indies, England or Australia. But that particular day in 1983, destiny favoured us. Despite a low scoring match we managed to win bowling out the west indian team .
some good bowling from kapil dev and yashpal sharma and others also paved the way for our historic and
upsetting win over the carribean team. Anyway 1983 is history now, we have to concentrate on the current world cup and should not choke this time.

Regards
Ram

AjiNIMC said...

History will repeat itself this year. Nice to see your blog, may be one day we can see Sachin also blogging.

Anantha Narayanan said...

I also feel that the Indian team was not hot favourites before the start of the world cup of 1983. But after the winning of the cup suddenly things changed. We where getting smarter in ODIs. Actually I feel more that Indians are more of test playing nation than a ODI playing country. We still lack the agression of what should be there to win in a day. We are still good cricketers, but not very good at it. We have lot too many idols to pray upon instead to concentrate on the game.

There is no chance that India will win another world cup in the near future unless they change their attitude.

It is a rare privilege to be able to read your memories of the all memorable world cup.

Venu said...

Great to see this google blog.

Google has an older cricket connection. The word google as you know is a varioation of the spelling for googly.