India are powerhouses in world cricket and that is often reflected in the fact that they are seen as one of the favourites whenever a major ICC tournament comes around. However, this wasn’t always the case, as former captain Kapil Dev pointed out. Kapil and the rest of the Indian team had famously won the 1983 World Cup despite going into the tournament as rank underdogs. On the other hand, the Virat Kohli-led Team India had gone into the 2021 T20 World Cup as one of the favourites to reach the final and failed to make it to the knockouts.
“I don’t know,” Kapil said when asked about whether the tag of being favourites weighs down the current team. Kapil was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the 1983 World Cup Opus, a limited edition coffee table book published in association with Paymentz.
“We were never in a situation where we were called the favourites. So I don’t know what that feeling is.”
India had only won one World Cup game before they won the title itself in 1983. That win came against East Africa, a team made of players from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia, in 1975. The team never played in any later World Cups.
However, India incredibly beat the mighty West Indies twice in 1983, with the second win coming in the final where they defended a score of 183.
“Today’s boys will be able to tell you what they feel. We were always the underdogs. People never gave us the chance that we will win the World Cup or even win anything,” said Kapil.
The 63-year-old, widely rated as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time, said that he doesn’t see his seminal knock of 175 off 138 balls against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup as the point where the perception about the team’s chances changed.
India had found themselves tottering at 17/5 but Kapil then smashed 16 fours and six sixes to almost single-handedly take India to 266/8. India went on to win the match by 31 runs.
“It is not one thing that can change it. Everything contributes and gives you moral support and you start believing. Yes, that was part of it but so was efforts from Roger Binny, Mohinder Amarnath, Kirti Azad and everyone else.
“When you win any championship, you have to include everybody’s performance. Major points do happen but that is not the only thing. Everyone has a hand, that is the only reason why you win a championship,” said Kapil.