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World cup '83 manager slams BCCI

PR Man Singh says the Board should take more interest in 25th anniversary of India’s greatest cricketing achievement, the 1983 triumph, reports G Krishnan.
Hindustan Times | By G Krishnan, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2008 12:22 AM IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has distanced itself from the silver jubilee celebrations of India’s greatest cricketing achievement, the 1983 World Cup triumph. This has not gone down well with PR Man Singh, the manager of the winning team.

The BCCI has disassociated itself from the celebrations mainly because some World Cuppers have joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL). They include captain Kapil Dev, Sandeep Patil, Madan Lal and Balwinder Sandhu. Their benefits from the BCCI have also been withdrawn.

“Let us not forget the 1983 World Cup final win,” Singh told Hindustan Times here shortly before releasing his book, ‘Cricket Biryani — History of Hyderabad Cricket’ on Monday.

The 69-year-old added: “That (World Cup win) was the real thing that has taken cricket to where it is in the country today. This is the silver jubilee year and in between we have not won the Cup even once. The BCCI has celebrated all its other occasions, the silver jubilee of the Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, the Board’s Platinum Jubilee.”

Singh and all the 14 players of that team will meet for dinner at the Long Room at Lord’s, the venue of the final, on June 25, the date of the final. The function is being arranged by Sunil Gavaskar.

“The BCCI should be magnanimous,” Singh said. “It will take a lot of credit by making the players feel they are not a forgotten lot. With the board’s present stance, it is only a clash of egos.

“If the Board can give Rs one crore for Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in an over, this is a bigger event,” Singh said. “People still talk about the 1983 World Cup. What is Rs 15 crore for the board? Let’s not mix a person’s subsequent alliances to what he has achieved. If Sunil and Kapil can get together and raise Rs 5 or 6 crore, can’t the board do it?”

Singh, who was secretary of the Hyderabad Cricket Association from 1976 to 1992, still remembers every moment of that historic tournament and reminisces fondly.

“It was a happy bunch of players,” he said. “I treated each one as an individual. I had known them quite well as they came to the Moin-ud-Dowla tournament often. I told them I was not a spy of the Board and asked to be treated as their older brother.”

Singh went out of the way to make them feel comfortable and sorted out even minor issues over dinner.

“All were happy. The players were mentally at rest. Some of the gestures might have appeared insignificant but went a long way in bonding the team together."

Did he realistically feel India had a chance of winning the World Cup before leaving for England.

“Of entering the semifinals, yes. I had told All India Radio (AIR) before leaving, ‘If this team doesn’t enter the semis, no other Indian team will’. The AIR correspondent laughed.

“David Frith, the Wisden Cricket Monthly editor, had written that this Indian team was no good and should not be participating. After the win, I wrote him a letter. In the September issue, he published photographs of him stuffing his mouth with paper along with my letter with the words ‘I was made to eat my own words’.”

Singh singled out Kapil’s 175 not out against Zimbabwe as the turning point in the tournament and Clive Lloyd’s early dismissal after being injured in the final as the crucial moment on June 25, 1983.

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