NEW DELHI: It was an evening that brought back memories of the greatest moment in Indian cricket. With several dignitaries including former India captains in attendance at the Darbar Hall of Taj Palace Hotel, Kapil Dev and his ‘devils’ took a trip down memory lane on Sunday and relived the magic moments of that historic World Cup triumph of 1983.
It was not important on this day that the Board was honouring the team that changed the course of Indian cricket once for all by presenting a cheque for Rs. 25 lakh and a silver citation. What was indeed significant was that the golden moments of Indian cricket were being recalled and relived by those who remain the envy of several illustrious cricketers, both past and present.
From the heart
Kapil’s emotional sharing set the tone for the evening. He recalled how he came from a “small town” and “humble background” and learnt much from idols like Mohinder Amarnath and Sunil Gavaskar. Speaking straight from the heart, he acknowledged the contribution of every member of the winning team, shared anecdotes and all along kept his emotions in check.
The mutual admiration of Kapil and Gavaskar was for everyone to see. Gavaskar, often credited for giving his suggestions during the World Cup campaign to Kapil Dev, set the record straight by saying, “it is natural for any senior cricketer to advise the captain but it was to the credit of Kapil that he chose the best from the suggestions made by the senior players. After we started by beating the West Indies, it was Kapil’s knock (of 175 not out) against Zimbabwe that set the tone. For me, it remains the greatest innings that I have ever seen,” said Gavaskar. Mohinder, Roger Binny and Ravi Shastri all took turns to share their feelings on the occasion.
A highlight package of India’s semifinal and final was shown to all present. The show was interspersed with comments from the team members. The Sports Minister M. S. Gill and BCCI President Sharad Pawar presented the Prudential World Cup to Kapil.
In another fine gesture, Gavaskar displayed the cricket ball he had pocketed after Mohinder Amarnath got the last West Indian wicket in the final.
Apart from Kapil, Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, K. Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri, some of the other Indian captains who attended the felicitation function were, Ajit Wadekar, G. R. Viswanath and Mohammad Azharuddin. Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid joined the proceedings.
The victorious members of the Indian team, coming together for the first time after 1999, will leave for London on Monday ahead of the Long Room dinner hosted at Lord’s by Gavaskar on June 25.