The Kapil Dev-led Indian team stunned one and all with their performances in the 1983 World Cup. They were one least favoured side and no one could believe that they clinched the World Cup banking on some terrific performances. In an interaction with CricketAddictor Kirti Azad recalled the 1983 World Cup semi-final against England and how the media treated India before the big match.
Azad said that at Manchester, England were favourites to clinch the semi-final, as BBC media oversaw India and discussed how the home team will go on and reach the final to face the West Indies pace attack. However, India stunned everyone with their performances, and clinched a victory by six wickets.
It was a moment to savour for Azad personally as after he picked up the wicket of the great Ian Botham, the crowd broke in and offered him flowers as a token of appreciation. Interestingly, he also accumulated 250 pounds from the crowd, with some giving him 5 pounds to other giving 50 for dismissing Botham.
“We have the semi-final next day and you have two local players from Lancashire and we have Graham Fowler and Chris Tavare on BBC they did not mention India at all. They were talking about how they were going to face Michael Holding and Andy Roberts and all. Our ego was hurt. We never thought we will come till here,” Kirti Azad told CricketAddictor in an exclusive interview.
“And here we are playing the semi-final and we start really well at about 96/2 in 14 overs and then Kapil brings me and Jimmy Amarnath from one end. We bowled 12 overs each and got four wickets and I took the wicket of Ian Boatham. He was hated by the Indian diaspora for simple reason they thought he’s took arrogant.
“Once I got his wicket, the Indian crowd just came in and had 250 pounds in my pocket. Someone gave me 2 pounds, someone gave me three pounds even pounds note, I had a great day, got Alan Lamb got out,” the off-spinner added.
Azad however said that he still does not know how he got Botham out. The ball spun and the Englishman was clean bowled for six runs leaving everyone stunned.
After beating England, India went on to face the West Indies in the final, and clinched their maiden World Cup. The 1983 World Cup triumph was special for India, not only as a first, but also because it changed the face of cricket in the country.