Madan Lal recalls 1983 World Cup triumph: ‘We were all desperate to win’

first_imgJune 25, 1983. Little did any of India’s star cricketers 35 years ago know what kind of an impact their historic triumph at Lord’s would make on generations of Indians.It was on this day in 1983 that Kapil’s Devils conquered the mighty West Indians at cricket’s Mecca to lift the World Cup. West Indies were runaway winners in 1975 and 1979 and all bets were on the Caribbean boys to win it for a third straight time.India had been blown away for 183. Up against a West Indian batting line-up that boasted of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and Larry Gomes, who would have given a chance to the underdogs?West Indies would get home in a canter.Who would stop them?Madan Lal would (along with Mohinder Amarnath).With his nippy medium-pace bowling, Lal ripped apart West Indies’ batting might. He first removed Haynes before outfoxing the great Sir Viv – the image of Kapil running back to complete aa sensational catch is now part of Indian cricket’s folklore.Shortly after, Lal also dismissed the dangerous Gomes as India started dreaming of ethcing their name in history.Nearly four decades later, Lal, now in running for the president of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), said the World Cup triumph was the best thing that happened to their lives but the players were scared of failure.”It is a historic day. A lot of time has passed since…35 years. It was the best thing that happened to our lives. We always wanted to win,” Lal told India had only 183 to defend. Against Haynes and Richards, no less. Lal admitted there were some nerves in the dressing room but the pressure deployed by him and his colleagues stifled the defending champions.”With that sort of score to defend, you are always worried whether you would win. To be honest, it was a scary feeling. What if we didn’t win? Will we get another chance? What if someone dropped a catch? You will always be remembered for dropping a catch during a World Cup final,” he said.It all ended well, of course. India held their catches, fielded like tigers and made 183 look like 300. The bowling was sharp and West Indies’ batsmen had no answer to Kapil Dev’s shrewd tactics on the field.Lal understands the importance of the 1983 World Cup win in India’s cricket landscape. That June afternoon changed Indian cricket forever. There were major TV deals, major sponsorships and the money just poured in.Six years later, a young boy named Sachin Tendulkar made his debut and ruled world cricket for the next quarter of a century. India produced some of cricket’s biggest superstars in the decades to follow and won the World Cup only again 28 years later.Between 1983 and 2011, India reached the semi-finals in 1987 and 1996. They were embarrassed in 1992 and 2007. The World Cup of 1999 produced some moments to cherish. In 2003, India were second best only to Australia – they won all their matches barring the first and the final – losing both times to the eventual champions.In 2015, India were once again decimated by Australia after storming through to the semi-finals. Word Cup triumphs are not easy and who knows how Indian cricket would have shaped up had Madan Lal and his colleagues not held their nerves to pull off one of the greatest upsets in cricket history that afternoon in England?last_img