When a group of youngsters representing the Indian cricket team sat on their flight to England in 1983, they were carefree and oblivious to what fate had in store for them. They were laughing and joking among themselves, except for one 24-year-old, who had some ideas. He thought, “What if we try to win?”. That one thought ended up changing history, as is usually the case.
India were declared the winner of the World Cup, after an unexpected victory against the mighty West Indies, and nothing was ever the same again. Here we look at some of the lesser-known stories from the tournament, each as unbelievable as interesting.
1. The team that traveled to England for the World Cup did not have a coach, and according to reports, no doctor or a physiotherapist either.
It did, however, have a manager and he was PR Man Singh. Pankaj Tripathi will be playing him in the movie 83.
2. After the team won the World Cup, the BCCI wanted to reward the players. However, it did not have enough money to do so. That’s when Lata Mangeshkar was approached for a concert, which must have been a huge hit because enough funds were raised to reward all players with ₹1 lakh.
That would still be considered a huge amount, so one can imagine what it meant to the team back then.
3. It was supposed to be a ‘stopover tournament’ for many in the team, who had booked their tickets to the US, with journey till England paid for by the BCCI. No one thought they’ll go very far in the tournament, let alone win.
For Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the US trip was also going to double up as his honeymoon, and he still jokes that Kapil Dev owes him ₹10,000 that he lost because he had to cancel the tickets.
4. Balwinder Sandhu, who dismissed Gordon Greenidge in the final, got custom-made visiting cards that had a picture of stumps dislodged and in the air, and a batsman in front.
If there was 1 ball that changed world cricket, this was the one. Not Bradman’s last dismissal, not Misbah’s paddle sweep, not Warne’s ball of the century.— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) June 25, 2020
Greenidge shouldering arms to Balwinder Sandhu. India going on to win the World Cup. And cricket just taking off on in India pic.twitter.com/cikIpNh28k
5. You have all seen images of the Indian crowd barging into the ground, after our victory. Well, they were a part of the celebrations, too. The players passed on champagne to the supporters from Lord’s balcony, and obviously, ran out of it at one point.
So, they started passing on milk bottles. Not a joke.
6. The story of PR Man Singh, the only person from administration touring with the team, is very touching. When the men were leaving for the World Cup, no one believed they would win a single match. Except for Man Singh’s father, who ordered his employees to clear out a cabinet in their shop, and said:
Mera beta cup leke aayega.
7. The Indian cricket team ran into a bit of trouble related to excess baggage at the airport. Not because of equipment or anything – they were actually carrying things like mangoes, and spices I am assuming for their relatives living in London.
Things got to a point where they were told they won’t be allowed to board until payments were made. With a promise to pay the next day, the team flew to its destination.
8. Kapil Dev’s historic 175 against Zimbabwe was not televised because the equipment was sent out to cover the “more important” West Indies vs Australia clash and BBC was on a strike that day.
While it is a disappointment for us that there is no visual record of the iconic innings, Kapil only has good feelings.
Oh, the tales!