ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP
“I was the captain and if the captain does not have confidence then how will he inject the same into the other members of the team?” © Getty
Kapil Dev’s toothy grin holding aloft the Prudential Cup on the Lord’s balcony after India beat the West Indies on June 25, 1983 is an image that will never be forgotten by Indian cricket lovers. In an exclusive chat with ToI, the legendary all-rounder revealed how it felt to be reunited with the hallowed venue and the World Cup trophy when he visited Lord’s.
We saw you with the World Cup at Lord’s in the middle of May…
I was there at the Lord’s for my personal job and suddenly they brought the Cup and took a few pictures. That’s all, nothing less nothing more. It was a great gesture that they handed over the trophy which we won 38 years before. Great feeling, I must say, Lord’s and the World Cup gave me a great satisfaction in my short visit to the iconic ground recently.
Is it true that you carried a bottle of champagne wrapped up in a towel on the morning of the World Cup final in 1983?
Yes, I carried a bottle of champagne in my bag when I went to the ground to play the final.
Does that mean that you were confident of winning the final?
Not really. What I can recall is that I had the belief that we can win the Cup. I was the captain and if the captain does not have confidence then how will he inject the same into the other members of the team? I told myself even if we lose, we still can celebrate the moment of reaching the final.
We are told you went to the West Indies dressing room after the final and brought the champagne bottles from the refrigerator in the West Indies dressing room.
Yes, you are correct. Beating West Indies in the final and winning the cup were really champagne moments. But the authorities thought otherwise. They could not think that India can win and they kept the champagne bottle in the West Indies dressing room with the hope that they will win the Cup for the third time.
How did you to approach the West Indies camp to release the champagne bottles?
I went straight to Clive Lloyd and told him that I am taking the champagne bottles for my boys since you don’t require them now. Clive just nodded his head and I brought all the champagne bottles from the West Indies dressing room.
Clive Lloyd is of the opinion that it was a masterstroke to keep slip fielders all the time…
What to do? We did not have a big total. So we had to attack and kept the slip fielders right through the innings. Do you know what I said to the boys in the lunch break? I told them that although it’s a 60-over game, we have to finish the game in three hours if we want to win the game. Because I knew if they would have batted for 60 overs they would score 183-plus runs easily. So we had only one option, to attack from the first ball and finish the game in three hours. Our bowlers bowled really well and finally we became champions.
What does the World Cup win mean to you and your teammates?
It means everything. It was the greatest moment of my life and I am sure the other 13 cricketers will also echo the same emotion. It was a splendid victory.
Roger Binny, K. Srikkanth, Sandeep Patil have gone on record that you were very hopeful of winning the cup after winning the first game of the World Cup.
I used to say in the team meetings, ‘Let us try and see what happens’. We started winning matches and by the semifinal everybody was very confident that something good is happening.
Who will win the Cup in 2019?
Looks like England. India and Australia will also reach up to the semifinals. After that it is all about destiny, some amount of luck is needed. India has got a balanced side. They should do well.