Archive for July 2, 2008

Nine world cups down -1983 remains the special one

The global cricket fraternity has witnessed nine world cups but none has been as fascinating as the prudential world cup held during the summer world cup of 1983. The fact that it changed the financial ramifications and added whole new dynamics to the game is least said about that magnificent triumph by the Indian cricket team of 1983.the game was propelled to a whole new level both for administrators of the game and its players. The most spectacular swansong for any sporting discipline is the triumph of an under dog against all odds & this fairytale was never scripted better than by Kapil’s Devils who triumphed against all odds to pick up the prudential world cup of 1983. The world and the game have moved 25 years since that magnificent date of 25th June 1983. The ICC itself has organized 6 world cups since that Indian triumph, but the 83 triumph remains special in more ways than one. It took the game to a completely new pedestal in the Sub continent. Cricket players could now take their game to a new level with the game becoming a viable professional career, the social status of the cricketers was propelled to a demi god status and inspired a whole new generation to take up the game.
it is important for the authorities governing the game in the country to recognize that if its finest champion cricketer had not achieved the impossible on an English summer day in 1983 then they would not have been able to achieve all the success they have had in all these years.
Looking forward I am however surprised that Indian cricket has not been able to repeat its 1983 success; especially looking at the huge support the game receives in this nick of the woods and the large player base in its possession. If one has to point a finger at this under achievement then it has to be the state of its domestic cricket structure. I believe that this is an area that it needs to worked on so that it can produce an assemble line of top quality players who are ready to play for India when the need arises. The answer lies in league cricket; the latest phenomenon to strike the world of cricket. League cricket should work as talent identification platform; ICL & IPL operating from India should be viewed as the grass root structure to produce the player backup for the national Indian team. Looking at the large player base in India it is imperative that India needs more than one league and its resources to attain the above objective. Therefore the true cricket fan has to lay equal importance to both the leagues and its players & evaluate the success objectively.

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Kapil Dev the real Moses of Indian cricket

Circa June 1983: The English summer saw the 3rd world cup hosted by England; featuring 8 teams. The Prudential world cup started with the all conquering West Indies starting as favorites to pick up their 3rd straight world cup title. The Indians came into the world cup led by a young 24 year old all-rounder with a fresh approach keen to establish India’s credentials in the one day format of the game.

In the two previous editions of the world cup (1974. & 1978) the Indians had managed to register a sole victory against East Africa.

The Indians were placed in the tougher group B along with defending Champions West Indies, Australia and Zimbabwe. Their campaign got off in style with a victory over the defending champions in their first league game; making a strong statement that they were no pushovers at the Prudential world cup. As the tournament progressed to the final league stage, group B was wide open with Kapil’s boys needing crucial wins over Zimbabwe & Australia in their final two league matches to move into the knock out stage of the tournament. June 18 1983, was the big day when India took on Zimbabwe at Tunbridge wells. The Indians batting first were off to a disastrous start tottering at 17/5, the stage was set for the Indian captain, Kapil Dev who went on to play arguably the best one day innings ever of 175 not out (that stood as the highest individual score in the one day format for a very long time). It was that innings that took India into the semi- final stage. A comprehensive victory over hosts England saw the Indians take on the might West Indies in the final which was the classic David – Goliath contest. Kapil’s Devils, as they were described took the field on the destined date of June 25th 1983, as firm underdogs; playing out of their skins they created one of the biggest upsets in sports history to be crowned the cricket champions of the world. The victory was the catalyst that propelled cricket as India’s greatest national pastime.

If today’s cricketers have achieved Demi-god status and enviable commercial & social status in the country, then they owe a big part of it to the magnificent team of 1983 who took the game to an entire new level. It was under the astute leadership of Kapil Dev that India discovered its proficiency in the one-day format of the game. Today Kapil is at the helm of affairs at the ICL which has pioneered the city based league format of the game and was the first league to crack the T20 code which has caught the imagination of the modern cricket fan. Along with Kapil are three other world cup winners in Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Madan Lal & Sandip Patil who have embraced the ICL ideology of taking domestic Indian cricket & its players to the next level.

This proves that it is Kapil who is responsible for pioneering new paths in the two shorter formats of the game. Had it not been for the 1983 victory, one day cricket would have not seen the stature it has achieved today. And had it not been Kapils’ pioneering effort in league cricket with the ICL ; T20 would have not got its humongous support that it enjoys today .

It is now for the cricketing fraternity especially the Indian fans to decide who the is the real Moses of Indian cricket ?

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