Kapil Dev, who led India to the memorable triumph in the 1983 World Cup, gets nostalgic in conversation with Times Now's Arnab Goswami. Excerpts:
Kapilji, first of all, it's wonderful to see you once again and we are not going talk about ICL, IPL, controversies or any of that in the course of this chat.
Well, you are the boss and once you are invited and want to take an interview it's entirely up to you whatever you want to ask.
Okay, then we will talk about the few days that led to the most historic days in Indian cricket on 25th of June 1983. Take us through that time because so many people watched that in television... so many youngsters haven't seen what happened on that day.
Very difficult to remember everything; 25 years is not like yesterday 25 years is 25; your brain starts fading out, a lot of memories start going off, but you do remember incidents because they remain in your memory through out your life. You cant remember what you have eaten, what you did at that day, but, as we can say, we got out very cheaply. 183 is not a total to play against West Indies, who were champions twice in the World Cup before. And, yes, you remember the Balwinder Singh Sandhu thing...the coming up...up the hill bowled a gem of a ball...you remember that. You remember Srikkanth hitting a square cut to Marshall I mean, few things you can't forget, so I can't really say I will remember everything.
Like in the dressing room...we come back...and we were a very happy lot basically...not ...not...anybody not expected us we can reach to the finals so we had started celebrating before it happened because coming into final was a victory for us. Let's put it that way... And we were very disappointed to see the wicket... it was total green and we played Lord's few times but that wicket I still remember and we were all trying to say what is this...you know...even though we understand our strength but we were worried about the opponents strength also...bowler like Garner, Marshall, N D Robert, Michael Holding...those 4 fast bowlers. One can say...you can play for the century in any team they were so good.
Two most glorious moments in my view -- one captured on television and one not captured as BBC crew was on strike was your 175 not out before the semi-finals... I'll talk about that a little later but one moment I remember is your running backwards...it was Vivian Richards at 28 and you took a brilliant catch...that really for me and many other people was the highest point of a 23-and-a-half-year-old captain...leading a young side...and that's killer instinct when you run backwards and take a catch of Vivian Richards...that was probably the biggest turning points.
No, I think the over before Viv hit me a couple of boundaries and hit Amarnath a couple of fours, cover drives, square drive and I asked Madan; I said Madi Pa take a break, you know take an over or two. He was very, one can, say adamant...Madan. and he said no give me this over...
He said that?
Yes...I would say as if he grabbed the ball and I was trying to say doesn't matter every bowler...Vivian Richard bowling any bowler can get hit but I said to him...I calmed him down and said Madi Pa just take a break. He said no just give me the over I'll...what word he said...give me one over I'll get him out. I have got him out much time before...he said in Punjabi and I said ok fine. When a bowler believes so much...one should always be ready to go with the flow and captain should follow bowler's instinct also and I think that's what happened perhaps and I would say Viv at that time was so arrogant in his approach.
He was the king
No doubt one of the finest batsmen...
Ever played this game and his over confidence was our victory because had he played a little calmed down and played with more time he could have walked through with the cup but again.
And you remember that particular catch?
Yes, I think.
You ran backwards...did you realize running backwards?
Yes, I think what happened is...
Were you afraid of falling down?
No. A lot of people said about...what happen when these things happen is your reflexes take over. I don't remember...I saw the ball...the ball was in the air for quite long time...I started running. After taking the catch we realized what happened...not that period of 4 sec, 5 sec or 10 sec
That's why Sunny Gavaskar always says, still says...'Kapil Dev is the greatest natural player of the have that we have got'. This World Cup was very important in also the sense that everybody says about the young players and young captains...you were 23-years-and-a-half; you had taken over in difficult times. Here the tremendous personality of Bishen Singh Bedi in 1978 when you had taken over and then you took over the captaincy from Sunny Gavaskar and Indian cricket was dominated over by the Mumbai lobby and everyone said Sunny Gavaskar and Kapil Dev don't get along and here you were spearheading the side in a pretty mature way but in a bit of dare devilish way ...one must say...
I think anybody who has ruled cricket for so long it is difficult to give up that thing. We should respect Bombay...they were one sort of cricketers where we learn a lot from them without any doubt and I think and their power that they had for 40 years was coming out in a different manner. And perhaps I was very young; all of these guys were my heroes too.
Were you talking to Sunny through out the tournament?
On and off...I mean most of the time me and Sunny start working more is...when you are 23 you are very immature...
How old was Sunny at that time?
Must be 8 years senior to me or 10 years seniors to me and I think Sunny...
It's like Dhoni...but like Dhoni and Dravid...Dhoni and Sachin...
Sachin yes...I think we were school kids and in colleges when Sunny and Jimmy and Madan and Kiri were all playing for the country. So I can only say that when Sunny and me come into that is much later after 83, 84 it start happening. Then we were discussing...I start standing in the slip where I could discuss with him much more. All of them used to treat me like a kid off the field and on the field also
The game against Zimbabwe...you probably knew as a captain...if you got this match wrong the chances of getting through were impossible.
When we were 17/5 and then you get 100 and odd runs it sounds to be a very important and enjoyable innings but as a captain...every captain would like to give a performance like that to the team when you are down. But it wasn't important, we weren't thinking about Zimbabwe we can lose because we were winning our matches and playing so well and where it comes to be that Zimbabwe match is very important is that we should win the match with 311 runs. I still remember in the dressing room if we win that and lose the next match against Australia we will be through for the semis.
In this particular 175 runs partnership when did Kiri come in...what was the score then?
Round about 100 and something when Kiri comes in...
100 and something for 7?
Ya round about and that is the time...before that little bit Madan scored, little bit Roger Binny and everybody gave me a little bit of breathing space
I just want to understand because I don't think in the history of Indian cricket there has been a 9th wicket partnership of a 126 runs between you and Kirmani...and in which Kirmani scored 24 of 56 balls eventually
I think Kiri and me were just saying that Kiri you just have to say there. I was running out of the partners and I kept telling Kiri once I get 160-170 on the board...after that I said Kiri now I'll open up you stay there. And before that I was telling everybody I am going to stay there you do whatever you want to. And here I turn my role, I remember saying to Kiri...Kiri you stay there...you have to play 60 overs. And I think all this happened in the last seven overs, if I am not wrong...
Last seven overs I think... in every cricketer's life... sometimes the time comes that that day is made for him only.
Absolutely...when it's magic...when it's written in destiny
It happens to every cricketer who played. like Sunil Gavaskar, Vivian Richards, or you can say Allan Border or you can say Zaheer Abbas or you can say Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly... everybody had few days is written perhaps that day was for me only.
How did you feel that day...when you made 175 out of 138 balls...magnificent...
I wasn't tired...
Were you...were you tired?
I wasn't tired... I think the happiness takes over the tiredness, whatever you get. You are so happy that you performed so well.. you got 100 and odd runs when the team is down. Not that you also got 100 runs when the team is also at 500 runs.
Not when the team is down but when the team is almost out because it was this performance that took you on three days later into a stunning victory against Australia where you thrashed them by about 120 runs...when you had been thrashed by 150 runs in the previous game because that was the impetuous...that impetuous...you played a T20 performance...do you realize?.
I think that moment what happened is once you win a match like this against Zimbabwe...then what happens is you go for everything with over-confidence or you can start believing, yes we can do. That victory gave the team that much extra strength. We can beat anybody now. And in the next match again Roger Binny was a champion bowler, one of the best bowling performances he did during the World Cup.
And Yashpal Sharma scored 40
Ya, everybody...the great thing about 83 World Cup was there is not even one person who can say I played well through out the tournament... every match a different player came out and won the match.
Well, it's strange that history repeats itself and it repeats itself in cricket because the whole T20 impetuous, the T20 World Cup... If one was to look back and turn back the clock 25 years back you played the T20 performance 18th of June against Zimbabwe and victory against Australia was so reminiscent of the kind of victories we saw in 2008 Jan in Australia...we thrashed them because we believed that we could thrash them and that's what you are talking about. It's more the self believe that you could thrash Australia in the World Cup.
Ya I think... After Zimbabwe it's just that the belief in the dressing room was far, far ahead of our time in that moment. And we didn't have computer, we dint have coaches, we had nobody it's just the team themselves.
Paji, tell me what happened in the team... I want to just know... tell me the little inside story... what happened in the dressing room? How did a 23-and-a-half-year-old captain, angry, aggressive player how did he motivate his team...tell me what happened in the dressing room...
I don't know... other guys can say... I wasn't shy ever in my life to give my point of view to anybody they like it or not...
What did you say?
I don't remember, but I think at that time we were so happy to save our face against Zimbabwe and going in on the only thing was to come to the semi-finals; that was the aim, the actual aim of the team was half way through the tournament. We said we could reach to the semi-final if we start now. Somewhere along the time you don't need a manager, you don't need anybody. The spirit of players gels so well. And somebody in the team always come out as a champion. Maybe, Kirmani, maybe Sunil, maybe Kirti Azad, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, Yashwanth Sharma, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri... I mean any cricketer you take like Srikkanth came about...he was the most interesting player...
Tell me a story...
I think Srikkanth was one who lightened up the dressing room the most...I mean he does so many funny things...we always used to find he was one who was the one most...unreliable in the dressing room, in a sense if all the cup, plates, tea-coffee happen if anybody is going to break it will be him to break something in the dressing room.
He was like that... his moment of hand, the way he used to bat and he was I thought a very nice character; every team have to have a character that release the tension. Everybody is not like Sunil Gavaskar; he never liked to talk to anybody when he's batting, so it was funny story Srikkanth and Sunil Gavaskar going in to bat, because Srikkanth used to go west and Sunil used to go South... because Sunny was totally indifferent.
Is that why Srikkanth started talking to himself?
Maybe, maybe... he was...so many times he lightened up in every sense is he come out and do such funny things... I would say he was young boy... he was our age and laugh at seniors and make a Mickey out of seniors cricketers and I thought this kind of cricketers is required in all teams, everybody become very serious; becomes very difficult in the dressing room...so I thought I would love to have a man... this type of character in the team because you do require to lighten up things in the team.
That picture that we see again and again... Kapil Dev when somebody looks back at the 10 most historic moments in a century for India... they are going to take the moment of June 25th your holing of Prudential Cup. You are the person in the frame... you are the personality in the frame for one of the 10 most historic moments for India.
God was kind... God was kind
God was kind... I just want to know... want to know what went through your moment when you held the Cup... what went through your heart?
I was too immature... I don't think so its easy to say now but I think a boy of... a man of 23 years old can't really with this cricket ability can you talk... but I don't think so if I put it correctly I was mature enough no.
Such a big day...
It was a fantastic day...one of the best...we were like...like a one-year old whom you have given a ball and a bat and he's playing
What did you tell your mates? Before you were going to go and take the Prudential Cup in your hands and after that...
I always believe it was team work and when they gave me the Cup I handed it to everybody. And I think those types of feeling is very difficult to describe in words... you can't describe. Every cricketer plays for that... every cricketer... and I felt something like we have got a toy which has given us new life. Even though we were trying to be very arrogant and very smart... no this is what we did... but heart and heart everybody was like a small kid.
The best thing happened... everybody carried the champagne and I carry the champagne in my hand bag despite of we win or loose doesn't matter. I said I am going to open the bottle. Because coming in the final; but when we won and when we went to... you know those days you go to the opponent's team dressing room and shake hand and try to cheer them. Rather than these days what we see both the teams coming out on the ground shaking hands... This is what such a lovely thing... we went to their dressing room and we were trying to see and they were totally down... they couldn't imagine ever this could happen, they couldn't imagine ever in there life this could have hit them. And they had a bottle of champagne in unbelievable numbers and I think we got lot of them from there dressing room. And that's how it happened that we were smiling and we were saying and everybody picked up and they said boys don't worry it happens.
I remember I went to Clive and Marshall -- two people -- and I said... Viv, I always treated as is like my hero, and that's the time I said doesn't matter it happens to best of best people and players also. I went to Clive and Clive got up and start shaking hands with every people and that picture remain in my head so clear.
Well, Kapil Dev I am going to wrap this up by saying on behalf of everybody watching the show today thank you for giving us that moment and I hope you had a great time reliving the 83 World Cup.
I would only say that it was the greatest team effort and nobody can win a team game individually. It's a group of people who believe in themselves
You have given India its greatest Cricketing moment, absolutely delighted that you shared the moment with us. Greatest sporting hero. Thank you so much for talking to me.
Catch the interview on Times Now, at 1830 IST on June 21, and 1430 IST and 2030 IST June 22.