Thu, 31 Mar 2011 16:18:00 GMT | By Raj Narayan, India Syndicate

India’s moment of glory in 1983

Cricket historians of a future millennium may find it hard to explain India's almost Davidian penchant for taking on cricketing Goliaths of different eras while seldom rising above the average mark against other opponents of the same period.

India’s moment of glory in 1983

If we took on the mighty West Indians of the 1970s and 1980s and come out bruised but hardly battered, we did it again in the 1990s and 2000s by humbling the all-conquering Australians. What happened on that balmy summer day of June 25, 1983 became a piece of cricketing folklore not because India won the World Cup; In doing so India beat the best team to lift that trophy. And it was no fluke!

As a teenager, I recall the excitement of a semi-final victory over the much-fancied England and how a visibly chastened captain Bob Willis had run in to bowl with his entire fielders on one side. When Sandeep Patil played an ugly cut shot and ran for dear life into the pavilion at Lord's, the elation was somewhat dampened by the 'fear of the known'. Though David had got the better of Goliath twice in two months, even the most die-hard fan could not have predicted the turn of the dice on that fateful day.

For once, Doordarshan had geared up for D-day (having done it for the semis earlier) and there we were at the house of a friend, who was one among the very few to have a color television. Incidentally, color telecast had started just about six months ago during the Asian Games of 1982.

When Kapil Dev won the toss and decided to bat on a typically benign summer wicket at the Lord's, cricket fans hoped that India could at least play out their sixty overs and in doing so probably score in excess of 225 or 250. However, things began as badly as they do for Team India with Sunny Gavaskar edging Andy Roberts to keeper Jeff Dujon very early on. What began thereafter was a 57-run partnership between the hare and the tortoise!

Holiding fort at one end was MohinderAmarnath, India's Rahul Dravid of the 1980s, busy blocking everything that the four west Indian quicks could hurl at him, either with bat or body. At the other end was a batsman who swung and missed one ball and spanked the very next from the world's fastest bowler for four. In between the two, he spent time snorting, make faces, taking long walks to square leg and vigorously shaking his head from side to side. That was KrishnamachariSrikkanth for you.

Srikkanth lasted precisely 57 deliveries that day, but during his stay provided glimpses of a cavalier approach to cricket that was unseen till then but has come to stay today with the likes of VirenderSehwag and Yuvraj Singh. He struck seven boundaries and a six of Roberts during his 82 minute stay at the wicket while scoring 38 runs. The next best score in that match was the 33 scored by Vivian Richards for the losing team.

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