New Delhi: The story of grit, confidence and the miracle brought about by ‘Kapil’s Devils’ in 1983 was relived in New Delhi 36 years later, during the launch of Nikhil Naz’s “Miracle Men”.
Former skipper Kapil Dev, former BCCI selector Bishan Singh Bedi and former cricketers Madan Lal and Kirti Azad revisited the ‘greatest underdog story in cricket’ — when a fledgling Team India defeated world champion West Indies at the Lords Cricket Ground, and the losing captain Clive Lloyd announced: “Indian cricket has arrived. And it’s here to stay”.
While describing the strength of the Indian team and the one-man army role played by Kapil Dev, Kirti Azad said: “In the entire team, the one player who was confident since the beginning of the tournament that India would win the World Cup was Kapil Dev.”
Azad narrated that when he was picked for the World Cup squad, Kapil Dev called to congratulate him, and Azad replied jokingly, “Thank you very much, we now have a paid holiday for a month.”
Praising current Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s dedication to maintain his fitness levels, Kapil Dev said: “Times have changed, today’s generation is much more aware about what to eat and when to practise. In our times, if a player used to hit a century in an ODI, he would have virtually completed net-practice for three days.”
In another untold story from the 1983 World Cup, Kirti Azad shared an incident about how the team, while travelling in a bus (named Caravan) and watching a certain movie, was stopped by the police. Azad said, “We were watching the movie and the police caught us. A policeman came and stopped us.” Kapil Dev, next to Azad on stage, said, “I didn’t know of this incident till now!”
When Nikhil Naz asked Kirti Azad about his magical delivery to Ian Botham in the semi-finals against England, Azad said, “Even after 36 years, no one knows the trick behind that ‘surra’ ball. The ball didn’t bounce at all and kept so low, it might well have gone underground.”
The man who selected the squad that won the maiden World Cup, Bishan Singh Bedi, said the team was not ‘Kapil’s Devils’, but ‘Kapil’s heroes’. He further said that being an ‘underdog’ is often an advantage, giving the example of Afghanistan in the current World Cup.
Madan Lal, known for his spell in the final where he took Sir Vivian Richards’ wicket, was asked whether he had indeed snatched the ball from Kapil Dev’s hand, as the legend goes.
Laughing, Lal said: “No one has the guts to snatch the ball from the captain’s hand, everyone wants to be in team.”
Nikhil Naz also updated everyone about the India vs Zimbabwe match, where Kapil Dev scored a memorable 175 runs. Naz said contrary to the popular notion, BBC was not on strike during the match, and had covered the other two matches on the same day — England vs Pakistan and West Indies vs Australia. While BBC did not telecast live coverage of any match, it had archival videos of the other two. However, no picture or video is available of the India vs Zimbabwe match.
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