June 24, 2013:
The Indian cricket team winning the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy at Edgbaston on Sunday, in a way, brought back memories of the 1983 Prudential World Cup triumph by Kapil’s Devils. There are some similarities in the two triumphs, though there are quite few differences, too.
Going into the 1983 World Cup campaign, India’s only positive take was a win against the West Indies. In the earlier two editions, India had performed badly, even losing to minnows Lanka in 1979.
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men went to England for the Champions Trophy, India’s cricket administration was in a shambles. Dogged by a betting scandal and allegations running wild, the image of Indian cricket was at a low. The turning point could well be termed as the warm-up match against the Australians, who were shot out for 65.
India’s start in both the tourneys was similar – routing the favourites. West Indies was tipped to win the World Cup for the third time in 1983. But the opening match that extended to the next day saw India hand the West Indies its first defeat in the World Cup.
South Africa was the hot favourite despite its choker’s tag in the ICC Champions tournament but India turned the tables with a 26-run win.
The similarities end here, since the World Cup format had each team playing one another twice and India was beaten by the West Indies in the next match. India lost to Australia in their first meeting but managed to bundle them out for 129 runs in the second. It was the most awaited match in the tournament since the winner gained entry into the semi-finals after the West Indies coasted to the last four with five wins out of six matches.
The Champions trophy saw India emerge unbeaten from all the five matches it played, with the lowest victory margin coming in the finals.
In both the semi-finals, India coasted to victory. In the 1983 semi-finals, Sandeep Patil’s innings of a 32-ball half century turned things in India’s favour, besides Kapil Dev’s fantastic bowling. In the Champions Trophy, Delhi Ranji teammates Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma turned things in India’s favour.
The finals also saw India scoring a sub-par score before triumphing with fantastic bowling effort.
There are some similarities in the teams too, with the 1983 team being one of the best fielding sides that India sent to the World Cup. In the Champions Trophy, the Indian team similarly proved to be the world’s best fielding team.
Man-for-man, there are some similarities in the final matches. If Rohit Sharma got out to Stuart Broad failing to move his feet, Sunil Gavaskar got out early trying to hook Andy Roberts. Dhawan attacked like Krishnamachari Srikanth.
Maybe, Ravindra Jadeja played Mohinder Amarnath’s role in playing a crucial role with the ball and the bat, while Virat Kohli perhaps played a role similar to Sandeep Patil.
In the bowling department, Umesh Yadav did to Alaistar Cook what Balwinder Singh Sandhu did to Gordon Greenidge. If Kapil’s catch of Vivian Richards was the turning point, so was Dhoni’s brilliant stumping of Jonathan Trot.
The difference in the two matches lay in how the pacers bowled. In 1983, the Indian pacers, comprising what one might call bits-and-pieces cricketers, bowled brilliantly, defending 183. In the ICC Champions trophy, the spinners were the most impressive, with Dhoni bringing them on at the death.
The Champions Trophy did not have a reserve day, but the World Cup had one! The 1983 triumph showed that India had finally arrived in the world of cricket. The 2013 win shows that India is here to stay as a major power, lifting the fielding standards to a new high.
And there is one more similarity. After winning the World Cup in 2011, India has now won the Champions Trophy under the same captain. But after winning the 1983 World Cup, India went on to win the Benson and Hedges Cup for world cricket championship in 1985 under Sunil Gavaskar!
(This article was published on June 24, 2013)