25th June 1983 was the date when India created history by beating the mighty West Indies in the final of the 1983 Cricket World Cup at Lords in England. This date is etched into the minds of the millions of cricket fans in India and abroad. The win changed a lot of things. Indian Cricket was never the same. Let us have a look at how this win was not just about a tournament and how it brought monumental changes to Indian Cricket.
The Benchmark Moment
Indian cricket team had witnessed individual star players like Vijay Merchant, Lala Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar and the famous spin quartet of Chandrashekhar, Prasanna, Bedi and Venkatraghvan who exhibited some brilliant individual performances in test cricket but there were no major results barring a couple of occasions like the series win in West Indies in 1971. This win provided exactly what they required – A poster moment. The pictures of Kapil Dev lifting the world cup did not just make us proud but gave us that one goal which could inspire the generations to come. Kids who witnessed that moment, now wanted to play cricket and win the world cup again.
Indian Cricket team till 1983 was not considered as one of the better teams as far as one day cricket was concerned. Indian team’s journey to the final was being termed as a fluke but the win over the favorites West Indies made them superstars. The team that they beat in the finals were considered invincible. Indian team had done the impossible and that instilled the confidence and self belief in each of the players that they can win against any team any day. The Indian team won the world championship 2 years later in 1985 in Australia to prove just that. They were not the underdogs anymore.
Changed the demographics of Indian Cricket
Till the early 80`s the majority of the Indian Team consisted of players from the bigger cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Madras mainly due to the reach of cricket at that time. These bigger cities had the club structure where the junior players came from and could be noticed easily by the selectors. The 1983 world cup win pushed the popularity of cricket to the inner cordons of the country specially with Kapil Dev from Haryana as a role model. The result is now evident with players from small cities making it to the Indian team regularly.
Turned the sport into a religion
Cricket was popular in India but was limited in its audience. The news of the world cup win broke all the boundaries that were there in the reach and popularity of cricket. Hockey was more popular back then but from this moment suddenly everyone started talking cricket.
Made the BCCI into what it is now
The BCCI was not as rich and powerful back then. The surge in the game through the world cup win, in India went to crazy levels. The game became increasingly popular and the people thronged the stadiums in thousands with each seat taken and still long queues outside. Even the 1987 world cup was organized in India. Given the population of our country, revenues started to flow in for the BCCI to lay the foundations of its present form.
Changed the way cricket was played in India
The Indian team largely played test matches before this period and the players were mostly traditional in terms of playing style. Wait and leave the ball was the most important thing during that phase. Sunil Gavaskar was the hero of that time and his style of playing was how the batsmanship was perceived. The advent of players like Kapil Dev, Kris Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath changed the scenario. Kapil hitting those huge sixes while Srikkanth getting quick runs at the top was pretty much unknown to the Indian viewers till then. All rounders who could score runs and get wickets too like Amarnath, Madan Lal and Roger Binny were the need of one day cricket. These players changed the way game was played in India before 1983. This also gave rise to the newer generation of cricketers who could score runs at a brisk pace or could contribute with both, the bat and the ball to be more competitive on the field. This was probably the rebirth of Indian cricket and the most important day for the Indian cricket fans.