The film “83,” directed by Kabir Khan, is a story of hope and belief. It is the story of the Haryana Hurricane, a.k.a. Kapil Dev, and his team. There were many moments that defined the dream run of the Indian cricket team in the 1983 World Cup. Let’s look at those moments and try to understand how they changed the destiny of a billion souls.
Why Was The Indian Team Denied An Entry Pass To Lord’s Cricket Stadium?
India had only won a single match in the history of the cricket World Cup and that too against the meek East Africa in 1975. India’s presence in the World Cup was just a formality. Even back home, the selectors had no expectations whatsoever for the team. It was a paid vacation to England, as that was what everybody was taking it to be.
India’s Manager, PR Man Singh, went to inquire why the team hadn’t got an entry pass for entering the Lord’s cricket stadium. The British official tells him that they didn’t need a pass, considering they did not have any matches in Lords, often referred to as the Mecca of cricket. PR Man Singh argues with him that the World Cup final was to be played at Lords, so every team should have got an entry pass for the same. The official smirks and mockingly tells him that if the Indian cricket team qualifies for the final, then surely he would provide him with a pass. Man Singh knew exactly what kind of reputation the team had, so without saying a word he left the scene. He knew that they had no option other than to earn respect, and there wasn’t a better way to earn it, than by defeating the mighty West Indies, against whom India had their first match.
India had performed terribly in their practice matches, and everybody had presumed what the result would be, when they played against the deadly front runners. The West Indian team hadn’t lost a match in the history of the World Cup. There were four bowlers in the team who were known for their ferocity and were feared by each and every batsman: Andy Roberts, nicknamed as the Hitman, Michael Holding, called the Whispering Death, Joel Garner, called the Big Bird, delivering the bowl from a height of six feet eight inches, and lastly, the lethal Malcolm Marshall, who was the shortest but the fastest. Facing these deadly horsemen of death was equivalent to facing your worst nightmares.
When the team was petrified and suffering from a lack of belief, Yashpal Sharma took the mantle. The all-around criticism irked him and gave him enough motivation to go on the ground and score 89 runs, which at that time was the highest individual score by any Indian in the World Cup. India miraculously defeated the West Indies. It was a declaration to that official who denied India an entry pass, to the selectors back home and to the other teams that the underdogs needed to be taken seriously.
What Changed After Kapil Dev’s Innings Of 175 Runs Against Zimbabwe?
Sunil Gavaskar was dropped from the team for the next couple of matches, and after two consecutive wins, India lost to Australia by a staggering margin of 162 runs.
Their next match was with the West Indies team, whose ego was bruised by the defeat that they had suffered in the first match. Dilip Vengsarkar got seven stitches on his chin, and even a valiant innings by Mohinder Amarnath was not able to save the Indian team, and they fell short by 66 runs.
The broadcasting partners of the Prudential Cup, the BBC, had decided that they wouldn’t telecast the match played between India and Zimbabwe on the Nevill Ground at Tunbridge Wells on June 18th, 1983. It was their loss and also the loss of every cricket fan. Had they done so, the world would have watched history being made that day. The world would have seen how the power of belief can move mountains. The world would have seen what it means to be stubborn and not give up on your dreams.
India were 4 wickets down for a measly score of just 9 runs. This was a do-or-die situation for the Indian team. People believed that the match was over for India, and so was Kapil Dev’s tenure as the captain. Another wicket fell, and Yashpal Sharma began his long walk back to the pavilion. All hope was lost, and not only was it disheartening for every fan, but it was highly demoralizing for each and every team member.
Kapil Dev came with aggression in his eyes and a fire burning inside his soul. He hit a six that not only broke into the windowpane but also the presumption of each and every member sitting in the pavilion, who had already accepted the defeat. Kapil Dev announced his arrival as the greatest all-rounder in the world. He had said in the press conference in his broken English, “We are here to win.” The grammar wasn’t right, but his intent was. That day, a match that wasn’t broadcast by the BBC, was etched in the memory of each and every person sitting in the stands. Had it not been for those few who witnessed the match, nobody would have ever believed that such an innings was ever played. That mongoose bat bore evidence of what an onslaught by an underdog looked like. Kapil Dev scored 175 not out and broke the world record for the highest individual score by any batsman, which was earlier held by Glenn Turner at 171 runs. India reached a total of 266 runs, and the world saw probably the greatest knocks of all time in the game of cricket.
That innings woke the team from their slumber. They knew that they actually had a shot at winning the World Cup. It united the nation and inspired generations to come. Every kid in India wanted to be Kapil Dev. As a nation, India was still trying to get on its feet after the wrath of colonialism. People living in a developing nation had their own hardships, but now they had a reason to rejoice. They saw history being created. For a moment, every Indian forgot their struggles and basked in the glory of an innings that made them all immensely proud.
’83’ Ending Explained – What Made David Frith Eat His Words After The 83′ World Cup?
David Frith, a famed sports journalist, had written an article for The Wisden, a monthly cricket magazine, criticizing the Indian team and had said that he would eat his words if India won the World Cup.
India, under the captaincy of Kapil Dev, had a dream run. On June 20th, 1983, they defeated the Aussies, with Roger Binny being declared the Man of the Match with four crucial wickets to his name. The journalists were calling it a fluke. The players get agitated and ask Kapil Dev to reply to them. Kapil Dev narrates a story where he tells his team members that in 1975, when Tony Greg was England’s captain, he had made a statement that they would rub the faces of the players of the West Indian team in the mud. The West Indies went and won two World Cups. They didn’t shout or reply to them. They gave an answer from their performance. And that was what Kapil wanted his team to do. The Indian team went on to win the semi-finals against England. Finally, an entry pass for India was made to enter the Lords Cricket Stadium, where the finals were going to be played between India and West Indies.
India had never won a single match at Lords. It was June 25th, 1983, when the underdogs took on the uncrowned emperors. After winning the toss, The West Indies decided to bowl first. India wasn’t able to get to the score they would have liked. They scored only 183 runs and had the mammoth task of stopping the West Indies for less than that. Everybody thought that it would be a very easy win for the West Indies, as it was the lowest score ever in a World Cup final. But the Indian boys were willing to make the West Indian bleed for every run. They wanted to make every run scored by them count. Viv Richards came to bat, and slowly it felt like the game was going away from the Indian team. Viv Richards hit three boundaries in one over of Madan Lal. Kapil Dev was adamant about removing Madan Lal from the attack, but he convinced him to give one more over to him. And then a miracle happened. Kapil Dev pulled a blinder. He galloped towards the boundary and took an impossible catch of Viv Richards off the bowling of Madan Lal. Jeff Dujon put up a fight but was dismissed by Mohinder Amarnath. The wickets of other batsmen fell like the houses of cards in front of a lethal Indian bowling attack. The reigning world champions were in total disarray.
And finally, that moment came when time stopped. Mohinder Amarnath picked up the last wicket, and the Indian boys flew away to glory. The crowd went berserk. The impossible had happened. India was the world champion. That picture, where Kapil Dev is seen picking up the Prudential Cup, was etched in history forever.
PR man Singh wrote a letter to David Frith, asking him to eat his words. On July 23rd, David Frith went to the Lords and, in a symbolic way, ate the article in which he had criticized the Indian team.