India’s Champions Trophy win in the small hours of Monday came 30 years nearly to the day that Kapil's Devils were the toast of another English summer.
The wins couldn’t have been more different. In 1983, a group of no-hopers beat the all-conquering West Indians. India under Dhoni
have been no strangers to one-day victory. Even the weather was different. Sunshine then, and rain now.
But there’s a similarity. The June 25, 1983 win gave India belief. Monday’s gives hope to a side rebuilding after the exit of its top stars and to a country rocked by a fixing scandal.
When Kapil Dev ran 40 yards to catch a Viv Richards skier, he turned a low-scoring match on its head. Thirty years on, Ishant Sharma struck twice against the run of play to rid India of Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, and a win was winkled out of nothing.
Shikhar Dhawan, whiskers and all, is the Krish Srikkanth of his age. The current team has no parallel to Gavaskar in technical virtuosity but is decidedly more muscular in the middle order and pace bowling departments. And spin all-rounders R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja give the side added heft.
But comparisons are probably unfair. The experience of hundreds of one-day -- and more recently T20 -- games have given India a side blessed with clean striking, superb running between the wickets, and incredibly, top-class fielding.
1983 was special because it was the first. Since then, India have won four ICC events, three of them under Dhoni. When India take the field, they expect to win. But the past eighteen months have been taxing. The 2013 win will be treasured because it has given India the core of a side for the future.
Instances abound where crises have helped galvanise teams. Sourav Ganguly had led India to the Champions Trophy final in 2000 soon after the match-fixing scandal broke in cricket. Italy won the football World Cup in 1982 and 2006, recovering from fixing scandals.
Reeling under spot-fixing allegations in the IPL, Dhoni, 'gagged' by the BCCI, left with a bunch of youngsters who replaced most of our 2011 World Cup heroes.
Expectations had ebbed, there was skepticism. But the side delivered -- to spark celebrations redolent of another summer day in 1983.
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