India won the cricket world cup in 1983 and 2011 and lost in 2003 final. A team, a saga of great success and resilience against all odds, the mighty cricketing nations now respect and probably fear for its quest for new crowns for the last 36 years or so since India’s first world cup championship in 1983. The team which took 23 years to score its first 300 plus score in one dayers since playing first one day match in 1973, when it scored 305 against Pakistan in 1996, has now crossed this mark more than 100 times in another 23 years. A giant leap from minnows to mighty. Victories after victories, trophies after trophies and BCCI had to have a seperate larger showcase room to accommodate all. On personal achievement fronts, centuries after centuries, wickets after wickets by Indian players which carved their names in the cricketing giant’s ‘ Hall of Fame ‘.
Indian cricket has come of an age, but, what matters most is, who created the faith or belief first that we can do this, when noone considered or took it seriously before 1983, who prompted or forced the mighty cricketing nations not to take India for granted, who initiated the tactical team meetings in the opposition on how to face India or who, made the opposition to think that India is not simply a ‘ Walk over ‘ team.
Let’s go back to 1983 before the world cup to India’s tour to West Indies. The signal of India’s emerging powers in one dayers was received there when India defeated the great West Indian side of Clive Lloyd in the 2nd one day match by 27 runs. India scored 282 with Sunil Gavaskar’s 117 ball 90 and Kapil Dev’s 38 ball 72 against the mights of Holding, Roberts, Marshall and Davis. West Indies could muster 255 and India won by 27 runs. Still, it was thought to be ‘ Accidental ‘ with no major significance by many, as Lloyd’s team thrased every team even in dreams. Such was the power and strength of that great West Indian team. So, when India landed in England in 1983 to play the world cup, nobody gave India a chance including Indian prople and according to the great Mohinder Amarnath, nobody came to airport except a few bcci officials when they boarded the flight to England.
Though India surprised the world by defeating West Indies a few days back in West Indies, the thought or even imagination to repeat that in World cup, was, supposed to be a case to be referred to a therapist for psychological disorder and cure. For, West Indies didn’t lose a single match in previous two world cups, hammering the giant Australians, England and all.
Come 1983 world cup, 8-9 June, the 4th match of world cup. India v/s West Indies. India was batting first and Holding, Garner, Marshall and Roberts were firing all cylinders. One man…..stood strong and defied everything bowled at him. He drove, cut, hooked, ran even 4 runs and didn’t budge to any pressure of ferocious class and act of those quartet whom the batsmen feared most.
Yashpal Sharma, one of the strongest backbone of India’s middle order in the history of world cup, stood strong and lasted till last overs. The cautious, calculated and aggressive inning of Yashpal Sharma yielded 89 runs and India could reach 262 in 60 overs. West Indies lost 2 wickets that evening and next day, got all out for 228, India defeated them by 34 runs. Yes. West Indies was beaten for the first time in world cup, due to Yashpal’s inning. The second match v/s West Indies, India lost because of Sir Richards scoring a class century and Vengsarkar being hit on his nose by Marshall on 32 and retired hurt when he and Mohinder were guiding India nicely towards victory. After Mohinder’s class act of 80, India collapsed and lost. However, Yashpal had ignited a very inspiring spirit in the Indian camp to win and he again helped India win the semi final against England by scoring match winning 61 runs along with strong support from Mohinder and Sandip Patil who too scored a fast half century.
The 3rd match between India and West Indies at Lords, was the final and everyone knows what happened there and how India came out victorious, lifting the cup. Since then, no stopping for India, but a huge credit goes to Yashpal Sharma, an unsung hero who created a belief in the Indian camp that, ‘ WE CAN, WE WILL ‘