Saturday, March 10, 2007

How we won the World Cup

World Cup Cricket is round the corner and it is our patriotic duty to remind ourselves of our glorious triumph in the 1983 version of the tournament.Not that we are ever allowed to forget it , but I felt that I should do my bit for the cause of keeping the memory alive.

As studies have shown that the average age of the Indian blogger is 16.5 years, you were probably not around in 1983. Whereas, I was not only born, but had also been house-broken by then. So, the burden of providing the highlights of the tournament falls on my broad shoulders.

Remember that nobody gave us any chance whatsoever to return home with or without the Cup. The West Indies were ruling strong. There was England playing on their home turf. And, don’t forget that cricket was patronized by the Royalty. Even today, at the Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth bats, while Prince Charles fields and Camilla-Parker Bowles.

So, to cut a long story short, we started as the underdogs. A ragtag outfit, straight out of Lagaan, but we had some hidden talent.

The lethal weapon in our hands then was the gentle medium pace of Mohinder Amarnath. After a leisurely stroll to the top of his bowling mark which was 1.5 meters behind the crease, Mohinder would run up lazily and toss the ball generally in the direction of the batsman, humming a Hindi film song in that rum-soaked voice of his. Legend has it that one of the balls he bowled to Viv Richards in that memorable finals in 1983 was so slow that it is yet to reach the other end of the pitch, at least till the time this post made it to the blogosphere.

Then, there was Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who could swing the ball both ways. ‘Ball Winder’ Sandhu he was called. A delivery that he bowled at Lord’s is still etched in my memory. It pitched slightly short, swung all the way to Ireland, swung back and knocked the stumps all the way to Scotland, leaving the batsman Gordon Greenidge dumbstruck in England.

And, Krish Srikkant. Simultaneously praying to the Sun God, wiping his nose and spitting on the pitch, he went down on one knee and knocked the stuffing out of a ball from Andy Roberts, sending it straight into the pavilion. Unfortunately, the knee wanted to continue to stay on the ground after that and Srikkant got out while bravely batting on with the rest of his body.

And the manner in which Viv Richards was dismissed! As I told you, Viv was still waiting for that ball from Mohinder to reach him, when the wily Kapil got Madanlal to bowl to him, with a different ball, which ricocheted off Viv’s bat and went straight to Kapil. Viv naturally thought that the whole thing was a camera trick and an optical illusion and squatted on the pich, till the Queen came up and said, “Rise, Sir Vivian” and knighted him.

By that time, the World Cup was ours.


Anonymous said...

I was around then just not old enough to understand cricket...not much has changed since...nice post!


Usha said...

oh appdee poguda kadai!

Raj said...

anon vi : I was old enough to understand, but never could

usha, poyachu

Gautam said...

I enjoy reading your blogs and really admire your prolificness! Keep writing,


Raj said...

Gautom, that makes me feel good. Thanks

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Ball-winder Sandhu.. still has the photograph of Greenidge getting bowled.... on his visiting card. I automatically say this everytime someon talks about the 1983 world cup... which is like every 3 minutes nowadays.

/Unconfirmed sources
//I hope people 50 years from now are still talking about 1983 and 'The Ball'.