India celebrates 37th anniversary of 1983 WC; here's what cricketers said

Kapil Dev and his side stunned defending champions West Indies, beating them by 43 runs in a memorable final at Lord's. Photo: @BCCI
Remembering the 1983 World Cup triumph, former India all-rounder Kapil Dev on Thursday said that the tournament win made a big difference in the country as parents started inculcating values of sport in the minds of their children.


India had defeated West Indies in the finals of the 1983 World Cup to win its first 50-over World Cup. The Kapil Dev-led side was not given a chance by many people prior to the tournament, but in the end, the side defied all odds.


"I can say we were proud about our team, we made ourselves proud by winning the tournament, the World Cup win is a wonderful thing, because of that the entire nation celebrated," Dev told ANI.


"I think any big achievement affects the next generation, the 1983 win made a big difference, in our country, parents also started inculcating the value of sports, so it was a big thing. We have been producing doctors and engineers in large numbers as parents support that profession," he added.


When asked about the pressure Virat Kohli is put under for not winning the World Cup title yet, Dev replied: "There is no pressure on the current Indian team, in my opinion, they are doing well, it's not like that you need to win a World Cup to be called a good team."


"Virat Kohli is doing well, Sourav Ganguly did well, how can we forget Sunil Gavaskar? He was a great captain too. Lifting the cup is not everything, how you shape up the team matters," he added.


In the finals between India and West Indies, the latter won the toss and opted to bowl first.


The Kapil Dev-led side managed to score just 183 runs as Andy Roberts took three wickets while Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, and Larry Gomes picked up two wickets each.


Defending 183, India did a good job of keeping a check on the Windies run flow, reducing the side to 57/3.


Soon after, the team from the Caribbean was reduced to 76/6 and India was the favourites from there on to win the title.


Mohinder Amarnath took the final wicket of Michael Holding to give India their first-ever World Cup title win.


In the finals, West Indies was bowled out for 140, and as a result, India won the match by 43 runs.


Kapil Dev lifting the trophy at the balcony of Lord's Cricket Ground still remains an image to savour for all the Indian fans.


In the finals, Mohinder Amarnath was chosen as the Man of the Match as he scored 26 runs with the bat and also picked up three wickets with the ball.


1983 WC: West Indies had best team but they weren't God - Madan Lal


 Madan Lal, who was an integral part of the World Cup-winning Indian team in 1983, jogged down the memory lane to recall one of the best wins, not just in the history of Indian cricket but world cricket as well.


India had entered the 1983 World Cup with zero expectations and nobody really considered them as title contenders, considering the inexperience the team had of playing ODI cricket.


"We won one match in 1975 and one in 1979 editions of the World Cup. So, we were underdogs going into 1983. That's why our victory in England was one of the biggest wins in Indian cricket and also in world cricket," Lal told IANS in an exclusive interview.


"We entered the World Cup without any pressure. People were thinking that it would be good enough for us if we win one or two games. But as it happens in life, if you put your best foot forward, things fall in place. That's what happened with us. Everyone in the team wanted to do well for the country."


"We had defeated West Indies in an ODI game in 1982. So, we knew we could defeat them. We knew in England, small targets can be defended and so, when we started our campaign and won the first match, it gave us a lot of confidence," said the 69-year-old. 

West Indies won the first two World Cup titles (1975, 1979) and was the runner-up in 1983. India has won the title two times, in 1983 and in 2011.


MS Dhoni captained the 2011 team to win their second title after 28 years. Australia has won the tournament five times (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2015).

One of the noticeable things about the 1983 World Cup was the gap between the matches. India had a gap of only a day in between matches and considering they were of 60 overs, fitness issues might have come into play.


However, Lal believes it was not the case. "There was no fitness issue. All the players in the team were extremely fit. We were one of the best fielding sides."


"A gap of one day was enough for us. It kept us in rythym, it kept us fresh. In England the weather is cold and that's why you don't feel that much tired. Our in between journeys were no longer than that of three or three and a half hours. So, fitness and fatigue were not an issue for us.


"In a country like India, you need a gap of at least two days because the weather is hot," he added.


One of the things which Lal feels went India's way at the World Cup was the ability of the Indian bowlers to swing the ball.


"In cricket you must know how to bowl depending on the conditions. England is a place where you must know the right length and most of our bowlers knew that. We were very good movers of the ball."


After winning first two group-stage matches, India lost the other two and many thought that the team would not be able to make it to the last four. However, the Indian team came back strongly and registered comfortable wins over Zimbabwe (June 18) and Australia (June 20) to make it to the semi-finals.


On June 22, the team surprised many as they defeated England by six wickets to make it to their maiden World Cup final.


"It was not impossible to defeat West Indies. They were not invincible. They were not God. No doubt, they were the best team but definitely not God," Lal sid while talking about the summit clash where India defended a paltry target of 184 and registered their names in the history books.


"And that's why I say that our title win in 1983 was one of the biggest victories in world cricket because after that teams like Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan also went on to win the World Cup," the right-arm pacer, who played 39 Tests and 67 ODIs, added. 

Lal picked 17 wickets in 8 matches he played in the tournament and played a pivotal role in India's title win. Asked about his own peformance, he said: "I was very happy with my performance. I picked up wickets at crucial junctures and in turn contributed towards the victory of the team. So, it was a great tournament for me."


"One thing we all should remember is that it was not a win of Kapil Dev only or of Mohinder Amarnath, it was the victory of Team India -- a result of the team effort," he added.


Kapil was brilliant throughout the tournament: Vengsarkar


Former India batting great Dilip Vengsarkar hailed India's 1983 World Cup win as a defining moment for the sport in the country, saying the nation never had to look back since that day in the sport which is now a religion in this part of the world.



"It's one of the greatest things to have happened for Indian cricket," Vengsarkar told IANS on Thursday.


Part of India's 15-member World Cup winning squad, Vengsarkar lauded skipper Kapil's virtuoso efforts throughout the tournament.


Kapil scored 303 runs at an average of 60.60 including the epochal 175 not out against Zimbabwe, regarded as one of the greatest ODI innings of all time, and also scalped 12 wickets.


"Indian cricket never looked down after that. It always looked up. I remember Kapil Dev was so good and he was the Man of the Tournament almost.


"We defied all odds to win against the mighty West Indies. Kapil was brilliant throughout the tournament," added Vengsarkar.



End result was revolution which changed shorter format cricket: K Srikkanth


On the 37th anniversary when India lifted their first-ever cricket World Cup title in 1983, former Indian Cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth on Thursday termed the victory as a revolution which changed the shorter format cricket and shaped budding cricketers.


1983 World Cup-winning member Srikkanth recalled the journey to the prestigious title and said the Indian side went as the underdog in the pinnacle of cricket.


"When India went for the 1983 World Cup, the previous two World Cups were a disaster for India, we hardly did anything in 1975 and 1979, with mighty West Indies who had won the title two times and the tournament being played in England, no one gave India a chance, any purist who followed the game thought that India stood a chance to move even a distance in the tournament. But the end result that came out was a revolution, this victory changed the shorter format cricket. It also turned the tide for us, it shaped all the budding cricketers in India when Kapil Dev collected the trophy at Lord's, it revolutionised cricket," Srikkanth, the veteran of 146 ODIs, told ANI.


"It was a monumental victory, it changed the landscape of Indian cricket. It changed the shorter format as India won Benson and Hedges Cup in 1985 after the World Cup," the former right-handed batsman added.


Speaking about the 1983 winning squad, he said the team consists of many all-rounders with 'natural talent' and 'born cricketers' who were exceptional in batting, bowling and fielding.


"Personally I believe comparing cricketers of different generations is not right, 83 team was completely different. We had a lot of all-rounders and all of them could perform multiple duties. The team was a very good fielding unit as well, that side was filled with natural talent, that team was born to play cricket," Srikkanth said.



India's World Cup final playing XI included: Sunil Gavaskar, K Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Yashpal Sharma, SM Patil, Kapil Dev (c), Kirti Azad, Roger Binny, Madan Lal, Syed Kirmani and Balwinder Sandhu.


 Kapil's catch of Richards was the turning point: Kirti Azad


Given no chance at the third-ever World Cup, India created history by getting the better of then two-time champions West Indies at the iconic Lord's, 37 years ago. Such was the magnitude of the victory that players were actually pinching themselves inside the dressing room after getting their hands on the famous trophy.


"How can I explain the euphoria? How can you explain that feeling that you have become the world champions in front of thousands of Indians at Lord's? We were just waving at them from the dressing room," former India cricketer and member of the 1983 World Cup winning team Kirti Azad told IANS.


"I just sat down on my seat and pinched myself a few times that whether I was dreaming or it really was true. Then I joined in the celebrations and we took it on from there."


According to Azad, lifting the trophy was a defining moment in Indian cricket history. 'Kapil's Devils', as they are famously known as, beat Clive Lloyd's team by 43 runs to get their hands on the World Cup for the first time ever.


"Any person who goes to any field he wants to excel and wants to earn name for his country. That was obviously the defining moment of our careers. I think I will take this euphoria, this pride with me to the cremation ground," Azad stated.


"This was something which seem just like yesterday. It brought India on the world map and it became a superpower. It was a stepping stone for many youngsters.


"It is something that can't be expressed in words and is something that we are too emotionally attached... all 15 of us."


West Indies stood between India and history after they got the better of hosts England in the semi-final. According to Azad, the West Indies team of that era was recognised by the players as best ever. So how did India manage to get the better of them? The answer, as per Azad, lies in Kapil's words.


"The West Indies team was unconquerable. It had won the first two editions of the World Cup. Many cricketers have accepted that that West Indies team were the best ever," Azad said.


"One thing that Kapil said was 'let's go... play our best cricket... let's not think about winning or losing. If we play well we will give the people worth their money'.


"We were never given a chance. There were eight teams and we were second from the bottom. When we won our first game we were a little surprised but were definitely on a high at that time."


Azad also recollected what the mood was like inside the dressing room after West Indies had restricted India to just 183 in the final. None of the Indian batsmen got going against the quality West Indies attack as Krishnamachari Srikkanth top-scored with 38.


"We all knew that this total wasn't enough. You look at that strong West Indian side so Kapil said it may not have been a winning total but let's fight... it's a fighting total. We have got those runs and they have to score those runs. So let's fight for every run that is there on the board," Azad said.


"That is how that happened. And then there was Kapil's catch of Viv Richards and that was the turning point. Then wickets fell and we put pressure on the batsmen. We knew if we put pressure on the West Indian batsmen they could succumb to it."


Moment of national pride: Yuvraj on 37 years of India's maiden WC title


As the country is celebrating 37 years of the historic achievement in the game of cricket, former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh on Thursday termed the 1983 World Cup triumph as the 'moment of national pride' and said that the victory was set as the 'benchmark' to achieve the same in 2011.


The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was won by India by defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Yuvraj was awarded as the Player of the Tournament for his all-round performance in the competition.


Congratulating the 1983 World Cup-winning squad, Yuvraj said he is looking forward to seeing India becoming a lead-runner across all sports.


On the occasion, Yuvraj took to Twitter and wrote: "A moment of national pride, our seniors lifted the 1983 Cricket World Cup on this day Congratulations to every member of the 1983 team. You set the benchmark for us to achieve the same in 2011! Looking forward to India becoming a world champion in all sports."


1983 World Cup victory changed cricketing landscape in India: Ashwin


India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin called the 1983 World Cup win as the 'landscape' changing moment for the game of cricket in the country.


Today, India is celebrating the completion of the 37 years of the maiden World Cup triumph under the leadership of Kapil Dev.


"Today 37 years ago, changed the cricketing landscape in India. Thank you @therealkapildev and team for making the game a career for many of us today. Deeply indebted," Ashwin tweeted.



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