It’s a shame I have to comment on an unseemly intrigue on the eve of the 25th anniversary of India’s greatest cricket triumph: the 1983 World Cup. When Kapil Dev’s masterpiece knock breathed life into an Indian innings that was almost done for (at 17 for five) against Zimbabwe in that do-or-die match at Tunbridge Wells, it changed the face of Indian sport. Yet, the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) chose to humiliate Kapil by removing his poster from the Mohali stadium.
Never mind the damage control exercises of the PCA bosses who now claim they were only protecting the poster from the strong Chandigarh gusts. Apparently, the board did not reckon with the overwhelming public backlash. Nor perhaps Kapil’s own polite request for the memorabilia he gifted to the PCA to be returned. It’s no secret that those who preside over the game never forgave Kapil for his role in the Indian Cricket League. The BCCI even went to the extent of stopping his pension altogether.
But that said, Kapil is perhaps a lucky exception, considering that we seldom respect our sporting legends. And this won’t change as long as many of them eke out a meagre living in obscurity, their exploits forgotten by the very country they inspired.