1983 triumph changed course of Indian cricket: Tendulkar
Mumbai: The epochal triumph of the Kapil Dev-led Indian team in the 1983 cricket World Cup changed the course of game in the country forever and is perhaps the greatest-ever feat in its history, says senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
In his foreword to a book on the victorious squad by one of the 1983 team members` Balwinder Singh Sandhu, titled "The Devil`s Pack", Tendulkar recalls the celebrations after that historic triumph in his neighbourhood when he was a 10-year-old boy.
"Winning the World Cup in 1983, against heavy odds, was a huge achievement; perhaps the greatest in the history of Indian cricket! The significance of that win is that it changed the course of Indian cricket forever," Tendulkar says in the book which was released here today by another member of that triumphant outfit - Dilip Vengsarkar.
"There were unbelievable scenes in my building and the neighbourhood on that historic night when India won the World Cup. People were dancing on the streets and bursting firecrackers everywhere.”
"As a 10-year-old who knew very little about the game, I got immersed in the mood and enjoyed the victory with my friends till the early hours of the morning. Looking back, like me, I am sure there are millions of other Indians whose success stories have revolved round that one great performance," he admits candidly.
Vengsarkar, who was the chief guest at the book release function at the MIG Club in Bandra - one of Tendulkar`s preferred practice spots - said Sandhu`s contribution to the game has been very vast.
"Sandhu was extremely focused and gritty player. On the 1983 tour to the West Indies, which was his first, he was very popular with the crowd and was also close to (former West Indies captain) Viv Richards," said the former India captain and ex-chief selector.
Vengsarkar also described Sandhu as a "very good coach" and said "his contributions to cricket have been immense".
Former teammates and ex-India stumpers Kiran More and Chandrakant Pandit also recalled the funny incidents during their playing days while echoing Vengsarkar`s views about the former swing bowler`s coaching abilities.
"On the 1983 tour to the West Indies I was his room partner. I think Ballu is one of the best coaches we have," said More.
Sandhu, talking about the book, said people know the feats of the cricketers who formed the 1983 squad but did not know the human faces behind them.
"I wanted to bring out the human personalities of these cricketers. They have a lot of plus points and a few minus ones. Everyone of us have weaknesses. I hope the book acts as an inspiration to the youngsters of today," he said.
The book is co-authored by Sandhu`s Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers new ball mate Austin Coutinho, who has also drawn caricatures of all the team members, and is published by Rupa Publications.
The book, which costs Rs 195, has also some photographs of the players outside the cricket field, clicked along with their spouses and other family members.