It was on June 25, 1983, exactly 37 years ago, at Lord’s that the Indian team, led by the flamboyant Kapil Dev stunned two-time defending World champions West Indies to perhaps change the game forever.
Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has more than once said that it was the 1983 World Cup victory that inspired him to play the game and he was one among millions for whom the game became an obsession, thanks to the exploits of the Indian team in the 1983 World Cup.
Mohinder Amarnath receives a bottle of champagne for his Man of the Match performance in the Prudential World Cup semi-final against at Old Trafford, Manchester on June 22, 1983. (Photo by Ken Kelly/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Mohinder Amarnath, who played 69 Tests and 85 ODIs for India, played a pivotal role in India’s maiden World Cup victory. He was the Man of the Match in both the semifinal and the final.
In the semifinal against hosts England at Manchester on June 22, 1983, Amarnath took two wickets, before scoring 46 very crucial runs in the Indian run chase, as India won the match by 6 wickets.
In the all-important final against West Indies on June 25, 1983 at Lord’s, Amarnath scored 26 runs, the second highest score for India that day, as Kapil Dev’s team was bowled out for a partly 183. But then Amarnath produced magic with the ball. His spell of 3/12 in 7 overs was crucial in bundling out the Windies for 140 runs, to pave the way for a historic 43-run victory that would change the face of Indian cricket forever.
Celebrations in the Indian dressing room after India’s victory over the West Indies in the World Cup final at Lord’s on June 25, 1983. (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography/Getty Images)
Mohinder Amarnath spoke to TimesofIndia.com on the eve of the 37th anniversary of that historic win.
Recalling that journey which stunned the world 37 years ago, Amarnath told TimesofIndia.com in an interview, “We all were young at that time and we kept on playing as a team right through the World Cup. To win a cup or a trophy, team effort is very important. Every player performed according to the situation and demand and it is only then a unit is made. No player can achieve anything alone till others also contribute.”
Victorious India players Yaspal Sharma and Roger Binny grab the stumps as Mohinder Amarnath runs off the field after dimissing as West Indies’ Michael Holding in the 1983 Prudential World Cup final at Lord’s on June 25, 1983. (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Allsport/Getty Images)
When asked about the impact the 1983 World Cup victory had on Indian cricket, Amarnath said, “The 1983 victory was crucial in a way because before that we had hardly achieved anything great at the international level and that team should get credit for laying the platform for Indian cricket which gave the feeling of self-confidence that we can achieve something at the international level.”
“It’s not that we didn’t play good cricket earlier, but somehow we didn’t have any achievement to show. Before this, it was only hockey that we were masters at, but after the 1983 World Cup victory, all parents wanted their kids to play cricket, represent India and become a World champion. All the changes that are seen in Indian cricket today started after the 1983 World Cup win,” Amarnath further told TimesofIndia.com.
Kapil Dev and Mohinder Armanath celebrate after their victory in the World Cup final against West Indies at Lord’s on June 25, 1983. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Kapil Dev’s magnificent unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells in a must win encounter on June 18, 1983, is said to have changed the course of the game in the context of Indian cricket. It has over the years assumed mythical proportions. Incredibly, no recording of the match and Kapil’s highest ODI score is available as the BBC was on strike that day.
Kapil Dev and Mohinder Armanath celebrate after their victory in the World Cup final against West Indies at Lord’s on June 25, 1983. (Photo Credit: Adrian Murrell/Allsport/Getty Images)
“It was an amazing innings, once in a lifetime kind of a knock and it was something rare to be witnessed. It was a brilliant innings and it was the need of the hour for a player to play that kind of a knock and Kapil as the captain led from the front that day due to which we won the match,” Amarnath signed off.