Before 1983, it was only hockey India were masters at: Mohinder Amarnath
Amarnath, who picked up three wickets and scored 26 crucial runs for India in the final against West Indies, pointed out how winning the Prudential World Cup dwarfed the fact that Indian cricket had not done anything significant in the years before it.Updated: Jun 25, 2020 15:58 IST
India’s World Cup winning all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath has explained how the path-breaking win in England in 1983 changed the landscape of cricket in India. Amarnath, who was named Man of the Match in the final against West Indies for his three wickets and 26 runs, pointed out how winning the Prudential World Cup dwarfed the fact that Indian cricket had not done anything significant in the years before it.
“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,” Amarnath told Times of India.
“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.”
Why the 1983 World Cup stands out is also due to the fact that India had performed miserably in the previous two editions of the World Cup. Across the 1975 and 1979 World Cups, India had won just one match out of six combined. Reasons were plenty – lack of plans and strategies and the fact that the team was still coming to grips with playing a 60-over format. Of the many things that changed in 1983, Amarnath asserts, was the understanding among players.
“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,” the former all-rounder said.
Amarnath weighed in on his former India teammate Kapil Dev’s magical knock of 175 not out against Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup. On June 18, Kapil helped save India’s campaign with a blistering innings as he ran through the Zimbabwe bowling line-up.
The former all-rounder played a smart, yet brisk innings as he smashed 16 fours and six sixes to become the first Indian to score an ODI century. He took India’s total to 266/8 in 60 overs after which Madan Lal and Roger Binny shined with the ball, combining to claim five wickets as Zimbabwe were bundled out for 235 in reply. India won the match, and advanced to the semifinal against England.
“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 said.