An Indian Civilizational Perspective

India's 1983 Cricket World Cup Win and Leadership Lessons

There have been many unlikely successes in the world of sports but for India the 1983 Cricket World Cup triumph will count as the best ever. First, India was NOWHERE near any ranking of a One-Day team. If we could win even a single game – even against Sri Lanka, we could rejoice. West Indies, on the other hand, had a side that was simply invincible in one-day games. No one could even think of beating them – least of all India!! But as the championship unfolded India beat West Indies not once but twice in that championship – second time in the finals!! Many games were memorable.. but the Zimbabwe game and the Finals were the most remembered!

Here one of the top team members (and my all time favorite Indian ODI opener) Krish Srikkanth recounts those days – specially the leadership of Kapil Dev.. the guy with the heart of a lion and unlimited patience! Worth a read! Thanks to Gautam for penning these thoughts for all!

He said that he was dropped from the Indian team when it toured West Indies in 1983 and that was the time he got married. After a brief honeymoon which he spent at Sri Lanka, he returned to Chennai and recieved a call from Sunil Gavaskar. Sunny asked him “Cheeka, do you want to go for a second honeymoon to the USA?”

Srikkanth said “Sure, what do I have to do?”

“Oh, just play some exhibition games and have a good time. You can impress your wife” Sunil replied.

“Sure, count me in”

“Ok Cheeka, by the way, we will all go to the US with a stopover at London. You know, play a couple of games for the World Cup, probably watch the semi finals and finals at Lords’ and then head to the US”

Srikkanth shared “Yes, we were that confident that we won’t last until the quarter finals, that the World Cup was just a trip for us en route to the US”

He then shared “Well our first game was against the West Indies, two time winner of the World Cup with names like Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards, Jeff Dujon, Clive Lloyd, Gus Logie and those four fast bowlers whose names I don’t want to remember!”

“Kapil addressed the team meeting and said, boys, we have beaten the West Indies once in the tour we had before this and we can beat them again today. I told myself, this guy has gone bonkers. Beat the West Indies? That’s not possible. But Kapil is an aggressive guy, he was insistent …chhodna nahin, he told us. And that team meeting is what made us believe in ourselves. People say we became a champion side after we won the world cup, but no, we became a champion side after that team meeting. Only Kapil Dev was responsible for that achievement, he made us believe we could do it

“We played all our roles and Kapil led from the front. Remember that match against Zimbabwe when we were 17 for 5. Any other captain would have buckled under and played safe. Not Kapil. He only knew one way to play. By being aggro”

The other points he shared was to take a decision based on your heart instead of your head. “People will mock you. Chandu Borde was the manager when I sent Chetan Sharma to be a pinch hitter at number 3 against England and he was livid. But Chetu scored 105 ! That was because I had to take a decision and I knew I could ask him to score a quickfire 20-25 at more than a ball. I couldn’t ask Dilip or Mohinder to do that. Cricket is a team sport, as a captain you have to take decisions . The brain will only give you options, but your heart takes the decision”

Talking about self growth he told people “Listen to what your heart tells you to be. That is eventually what you will be. “


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