The Kapil Devils, who are now in their sixties and sixties, met in Mumbai on Wednesday. They were getting ready for the 8pm premiere. Director Kabir Khan’s ’83’ returns at Indian cricket’s prime, bringing back memories of India’s very first World Cup triumph
On the phone, Sunil Valson seemed excited. “We are getting ready for the premiere. We will all go together, ”he said. The left arm crimper didn’t get a single game at the 1983 World Cup. His teammates made sure he never felt left out.
https://t.co/yx0a9X6l28 The world will know the greatness of Kapil Dev after this movie, a lot of delay and a very well deserved recognition to the great man.
– Mukul Agrawal (@ MukulAg77304674) December 1, 2021
The official trailer for the film, available on YouTube, takes viewers back to June 18, 1983. Tunbridge Wells was the location and India faced Zimbabwe following their back-to-back defeats to the West Indies and Australia. They were playing to survive.
A voice from the locker room informs Kapil Dev of a shaky start. “Kaps, it’s two less.” His captain berates him, “Let me shower.” Quickly it was 9/4 and 17/5. India was coming out of the World Cup.
A success of this magnitude carries an overload of anecdotes. Syed Kirmani shared one… “I walked over to Kapil, who was standing there with his head down. It was a 60 overs game and we still had 35 overs up our sleeves. I said to Kapil: “listen to Kaps, we are in a do or die situation”. We just cannot sit back and die ”. “Maar ke marne ka hai (we are going to come down by knocking),” he said. I tried to inspire him by saying, ‘You are the best hitter on the Indian team. I’ll take singles and give you the strike. You will try to reach every delivery ”. He said: ‘Kiri bhai, humko aur 35 overs khelna hai (we still have to play 35 overs). I’ll do my best’.”
What followed became part of the folklore. Kapil’s unsuccessful 175 remains arguably the highest number of limited heats in Indian cricket history. The skipper, however, was still raging against the First Order surrender. He returned to the lodge at lunch, ready to let go of the hairdryer. But the main hall was empty. Hiding in an anteroom was the idea of a senior cricketer and it stifled the captain’s wrath. Last week, during a promo for the film in Calcutta, Kapil admitted it was a smart call.
He was a young captain who needed the support of his elders at a time when Indian cricket was a prisoner of zonal lobbies. Kirmani recalled how decisive the skipper’s first team meeting was. “The day before our very first game, we had a team meeting, where Kapil said, ‘listen gentlemen, you are all seven seniors, you don’t need my advice. You will have to guide me ‘. It was a big statement that froze the team. We improved as a team as the tournament progressed, even though we didn’t have support staff (sometimes not even a team bus). Of course, we were a little lucky. But luck only helps you when you do your job with sincerity.
Cut to Kapil’s team chat after India went 183 in the final. Again, Kirmani is the narrator. “Even after we were all out for 183 in the final, we weren’t looking back. We had nothing to lose. Kapil said, “Let’s go and do our best.” We had already exceeded our expectations. We decided to do our best.
Some anecdotes sound like mischief. Grapevine says Kapil’s instruction to Balwinder Sandhu was not to throw an inswinger, with Sandeep Patil dealing with the thin leg limit – all light jokes, never to offend anyone.
Dilip Vengsarkar spoke about the post-final celebration. “The fans came and crowded into the hotel lobby. They played drums and dholok. We danced to the rhythms of the bhangra. The champagne was flowing freely.
A Malcolm Marshall bouncer that landed on the cheekbone and required eight stitches to fix it, had ruled out Vengsarkar for the rest of the World Cup. But on June 25, when Mohinder Amarnath snatched the last wicket in the West Indies and ran to the pavilion, he was on the Lord’s balcony cheering.
India overcame the odds 66-1 to win the 1983 World Cup, at the expense of Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s honeymoon trip to the United States, tongue firmly in cheek. In fact, other cricketers had also booked flights to the United States. Nobody gave the sixty-six times outsiders a chance. When the unthinkable happened, the first stop must have been Delhi, with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi waiting to congratulate the golden boys.
The 83-year-old Ranveer Singh star is an ambitious Khan project, something the whole country has been waiting for. “It’s a labor of love that we have been cultivating for years. I can’t wait for everyone to finally watch this come to life onscreen, ”the director told indianexpress.com.
India won the World Cup, but the story was not over yet. Denied two more tickets to the final by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), then BCCI president NKP Salve, together with his Pakistan Cricket Board counterpart Noor Khan, set out to break up the Anglo-Australian duopoly in cricket. Four years later, India and Pakistan jointly hosted the World Cup. The new gaming superpower has gradually replaced the old one.