Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev served team India for 16 years. The biggest moment of his career was winning the 1983 World Cup for India. Before the start of the tournament in England, very few would have counted India as one of the favourites to lift the trophy.
But even if they did, hardly anyone would have betted on them after they were dismissed for a mere 183 in the final at Lords against the deadly West Indies. The opponents had won both the World Cups before this one and this looked like a cake walk. But the result ensured jubilation among Indians and shock among the West Indians [that rhymed!] as the latter were bowled out for just 140.
Dev’s second biggest achievement ever, at least in my personal opinion, came in the same series against Zimbabwe, a team that was making its first international appearance. Those growing up in the 1990s would remember Zimbabweans giving a tough time to the Indians on numerous occasions.
Not many would know that Zimbabwe marked their entry into international cricket in an astounding fashion in the 1983 World Cup. The team went onto beat the strong Australian side in their first match of the WC [which was also their first international match ever] by 13 runs. Duncan Fletcher gave an all-round performance of 69 not out with the bat and 4 for 42 with the ball.
Although they lost their next three matches, one couldn’t take them lightly after their debut match.
India had beaten Zimbabwe by five wickets earlier in the series [every team played two matches against all teams in the league round], so they had the upper hand before the start of their second match against them at Turnbridge Wells. However, the start they had after choosing to bat was more than horrible.
After being 17 for 5, India was later reduced to 78 for 7. It looked like they might go down in the dumps but Dev had other plans. He came in when they was reeling at 9 for 4. He took full charge of the situation and not only rescued the team but also went onto score the highest ever ODI score then of 175 not out with 16 fours and 6 sixes.
India finished with 266 for 8, a score that never looked possible in any way before. Zimbabwe were bowled out for 235.
This is easily one of the most memorable matches for India even today. However, what is truly unfortunate is that the match was not telecast as the broadcasters were on strike that day. This means that it wasn’t recorded ever to revisit later! All we have is few pictures of Dev playing some big shots. Sad indeed!
But there is some glimmer of hope of watching at least the dramatized version of the match in the upcoming Hindi movie ’83. Directed by Kabir Khan, the film will feature India’s journey to the 1983 World Cup victory.
The victory against Zimbabwe is an important part of the series for India, so it has to be there in the film. Dev, whose character will be essayed by Ranveer Singh, has been roped in by the makers as an advisor for the film. I am sure he remembers the match, including his innings, well and will help in recreating it.
What makes us more hopeful is that the makers recently revealed that they will be shooting at Turnbridge Wells, the venue where India played Zimbabwe.
By: Keyur Seta