Kapil Dev’s Indian team defeating the West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final to lift the trophy was an aberration in the natural order of things.
But even the dusty veterans of the sport wouldn’t have imagined that Kapil Dev’s historic catch and the win that followed on the 25th of June in Lord’s would lay the foundation to the Indian empire in the industry that is cricket.
The image of Kapil Dev standing on the Lord’s balcony lifting that trophy had given an entire nation something to get behind, irrespective of their individual differences. It was our team, a David of the sport that had slain Goliath for the world to witness.
What we see today in the stands every time India plays, that maniacal devotion to the sport, it was birthed on that day.
It also gave the next generation of cricketers a dream to chase. It wasn’t just about playing for India anymore. We weren’t here to take part, we were here to take over.
One such product of that inspiration, that mindset would go on to give rise to world beaters, one of them being the great Sachin Tendulkar, himself.
A day that changed Indian 🏏 history forever!— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) June 25, 2021
I’ll always remember the celebration & joy we felt with the fall of every wicket and the pride on witnessing 🇮🇳 win the World Cup. #1983WorldCup #nostalgia #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/GJtTaoFCgc
Just look at how many athletes in India, just this one event inspired.
38 years ago on this day , India won the world cup against all odds and this victory inspired a generation of youngsters to take up cricket and dream big. Thank you @therealkapildev Paaji and team for inspiring us. pic.twitter.com/I5Q6xxhP6Q— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) June 25, 2021
On this day in 1983, @therealkapildev and his men showed us that anything is possible if we dare to dream. This victory inspired a whole generation to take up cricket and dream big 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/nYgOJElYg3— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) June 25, 2021
A day that changed the face of cricket in India and inspired so many kids to pick up a bat and ball 🇮🇳 Congratulations to the wonderful 1983 team on creating history and inspiring generations. pic.twitter.com/xYmalq4ZPO— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) June 25, 2021
The magical smile of @therealkapildev and even more magical performance by his teammates on this day in 1983 is the only reason why cricket is greater than any religion in our country . pic.twitter.com/TqXczoKUVd— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) June 25, 2021
On June 25, 1983, India played the World Cup final. And Kapil Dev and team created history by defeating two-time defending champions West Indies to lay their hands on the coveted trophy at the Lord’s. pic.twitter.com/bdHHnEgZOe— Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) June 25, 2021
That Indian team of the 1983 World Cup would go on to achieve many other laurels. They would also go on to win the Bensen & Hedges World Championship of cricket in 18984-85. Sure, it would take a few years or so for Indian cricket to start calling the shots.
West Indian cricket would still remain strong for the next decade and a half but they would never win the ODI World Cup again. Australia would seize the power vacuum for a few good years and bag a few World Cups.
But we get there, sometimes painfully, but we get there. We are there now. And it all started when a group of relatively unknown Indians played like they had nothing to lose.
And it isn’t just that we were in the finals or that India won that game. It was how we played and fought tooth and nail to just survive in the tournament. Be it, Kapil Dev’s counter-attacking 175 against Zimbabwe, or Sandip Patil’s 36 off 52 against West Indies in the opening game, a spoiler for the final, we dragged ourselves deeper into the tournament by the sheer force of will.
That spirit lived on and it got passed from this Indian team to the next and the next. We saw that spirit not so long ago in the Test series in England and in Australia. Sure, Dhoni’s team put a calm head on its shoulders and won every trophy and Ganguly’s team fought and won overseas but it was Kapil Dev’s 83 World Cup win that taught Indian cricket how to fight and win and then some.