New Delhi: Kapil Dev relived some of the moments of the 1983 World Cup triumph as India on Tuesday celebrated 30 years of their most famous win.
Kapil, who led India to the win, along with his team-mates Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, the youngest man in the team, walked down memory lane recalling some of the best memories of the 1983 Prudential World Cup.
"We were just a bunch of young boys who wanted to have fun. Winning was more fun in the evening and that's what we started to look out for - how we can enjoy more. The first match itself (against West Indies) gave us a little hope. After that our aim was to make the top four. Every match became more and more serious after that," Kapil said.
"We felt that the 1983 World Cup changed the entire sport in our country and gave a new dimension to Indian cricket," he added.
Shastri said the fact that India had beaten the West Indies and Australia in the group stages to reach the semi-final gave them a lot of confidence.
After battering Australia by 118 runs, India booked the semi-finals berth and were off to Manchester to take on England in the semi-finals.
"The fact of the matter was that we had beaten the West Indies and Australia to reach the semi-finals. When we reached Old Trafford for our semi-final game and saw the pitch, we knew we had a very good chance," said Shastri.
England were dismissed for 213 in 60 overs. Kapil bagged 11-1-35-3; Roger Binny and Mohinder Amarnath picked two wickets each. Yashpal Sharma (61) and Sandip Patil (51 not out) scored fifties and India chased down the target with six wickets to spare.
The Unthinkable had happened. India had made it to the World Cup final. Off to London, off to the Lord's!
"We just said, 'let's go out there and enjoy ourselves'. There was no thought of winning or losing. We had played damn good cricket to reach the final and now let's go and enjoy," said Shastri.
Gavaskar said Kapil told the boys to make the final "a memorable one."
"That's what Kapil said, 'We have worked hard and made the final. Yes, nobody is giving us a chance but this is a huge occasion so let's go out there, give it our best'. That's exactly what we did," said Gavaskar.
Kapil said the track at the Lord's was prepared to suit the West Indies bowlers.
"There was so much grass on that wicket, I still remember it clearly in my mind. I thought, 'what the hell is this? This is not a one-day wicket. We discussed it in the team meeting and I said, 'I am sure they will cut the grass. There's no way it will be so bouncy and green for the final'. But that didn't happen," he said.
On the day of the final, Clive Lloyd won the toss and put India in to bat. Sunil Gavaskar departed early but his opening partner Krishnamachari Srikkanth unleashed his uninhibited attacking instincts on the giant Caribbean bowlers.
"The West Indies hadn't seen Cheeka (Srikkanth) before and he had the shots - the cut, the pull and hook - to counter their bowling. When it was pitched up he would smash it through the covers. So the kind of shots he played, took them by surprise. At the end of the match, his 38 was the top-score in the World Cup final," said Shastri.
Srikkanth's cameo helped India crawl to 183 in 54.4 overs but it was never going to be enough against the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd.
"If you look at 183 with the kind of batting line-up that West Indies had, it really should have been a walk in the park for them," he said.
Greenidge and Haynes went cheaply but Richards looked in marauding mood before Kapil covered the distance from mid-on to midwicket to catch a miscued hook from the batsman. With West Indies on 3 for 57 India were back into the game.
"After Richards' wicket it was India's turn to keep their calm and not try too many things in a flash. It was a matter of hanging in there and you never know, there might be a run-out or a stupid shot that's played. Once Clive Lloyd got out India had their nose in the front and they made sure they don't do anything stupid to lose that advantage," said Shastri.
When Mohinder Amarnath trapped Michael Holding lbw a new world order was set.
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