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'Miracle Men - The Greatest Underdog Story': How One Team Inspired a Generation

Saikat Ghosh |June 26, 2019, 12:04 PM IST
'Miracle Men - The Greatest Underdog Story': How One Team Inspired a Generation

June 25, 1983 will be forever etched in the memories of Indian cricket fans. For, it was the day Kapil Dev and his devils won India their maiden World Cup trophy. It was a feat which was watched by thousands and ushered a new dawn in India's cricketing history.

But only a handful of people know the behind the scenes work which went into the team even making it for the World Cup. Mansingh the then Indian team manager had to plead with the Indian Airlines so that the team can carry the "extra luggage" to England.

"When the Indian team was leaving for England, then Indian team manager had signed an undertaking that said 'we will pay you for the excess baggage'," narrated journalist Nikhil Naz.

Naz has compiled all these anecdotes into his book "Miracle Men - The greatest underdog story" which was launched on Tuesday (June 25) on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of that famous win at Lord's.

Speaking at the event, the World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev, reflected on the journey and how he managed to lead the team which had people from different backgrounds.

"When you come from a joint family it always helps. You deal with your younger sister, elder brother. So you know how to deal with these people. When you want to scold someone you shouldn't be afraid to do so because you know your purpose. Say what you mean. Not like you have something in your mind and you say something else," said Kapil when asked to reflect on his captaincy skills during the course of the tournament.

Talking about Kapil, how can one not reminisce the catch that he took to dismiss Sir Viv Richards in the final.

"You can't just compare that catch. Had there been another fielder they wouldn't be able to catch it. Even today I watch the highlights on Youtube and I just fast forward that catch. 'Agar wo catch chut gaya to match gaya' (If the catch is dropped the cup is gone)," Kapil's teammate Kirti Azad summed it up amidst laughter from the audience.

(Twitter) (Twitter)

What happened after is history. India went on to win the trophy and it changed the game forever.

The very next day, the then BCCI president NKP Salve called up the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and discussed his plan to stage the World Cup in India.

"Salve then calls up the Prime Minister and says that he wants to take the cup away so she gets in touch with Dhirubhai Ambani and they double the prize money and then in '87 we had the Reliance World Cup," recalled the book's author Naz.

Not only the game but it inspired a whole new generation of cricketers to take up cricket as a profession and this included a 10-year-old boy in Mumbai, named Sachin Tendulkar.

"The final was the first match he (Sachin) watched. Before that he wasn't even interested in cricket. So the moment he saw this gentleman (Kapil) with the Cup he decided he wants to play for India," Naz told the audience.

Tendulkar above all was a John McEnroe fan. Interestingly India and McEnroe both were in action that day.

"He (Tendulkar) was shuttling between the radio where he was tracking the McEnroe game and TV where India were playing West Indies. But as it turned out, sometime later he went to Ramakant Achrekar's academy and decided to become a cricketer," narrated Naz.

36 years to this day, the memories remain fresh and the stories are endless. In fact they only get better with time. With Indian cricket on the rise, June 25, 1983 gives a unique perspective to the ever-growing community of cricket fans in this country.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more