As Ranveer Singh-starrer `83’ hits big screens on Friday, Team India’s former wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani has broken silence over the game that changed the course of history in the 1983 World Cup.
After back-to-back losses against West Indies and Australia, India needed to win against Zimbabwe to stay in the tournament. But the wickets were falling like a pack of cards. Kirmani and Kapil were on the crease and it was the last chance for the pair to salvage the match.
“I walked up to Kapil, who was standing there, his head down. It was a 60-over game and we still had 35 overs left in our innings. I told Kapil, ‘listen Kaps, we are in a do-or-die situation. We just cannot sit and die’. ‘Maar ke marne ka hai (we will go down hitting)’,” Kirmani said.
“I tried to inspire him by saying, ‘you are the best hitter in the Indian team. I will take singles and will give you strike. You will try to hit every delivery’. He said, ‘Kiri bhai, humko aur 35 overs khelna hai (we still have to play 35 overs). I will try my best.”
What followed became a part of folklore. Kapil’s 175 not-out remains unarguably the greatest limited-overs innings in the history of Indian cricket. The skipper, though, was still fuming at the top-order’s capitulation. He returned to the dressing-room at lunch, ready to unleash the hairdryer. But the main hall was empty. Hiding in an ante-room was a senior cricketer’s idea and it stymied the captain’s anger.
Last week, while on a promo for the film in Kolkata, Kapil admitted that it was a smart call.
Based on the life of Kapil Dev and India’s World Cup win in 1983, `83’ will be released on Christmas. Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh are playing the character of Kapil Dev and his wife Romi Devi.
83 is the story of India beating West Indies in the world Cup championship event and managing to bring the prestigious trophy home under the captainship of Kapil Dev.
“On June 25, 1983, the Lord’s Cricket Ground witnessed 14 men beat the twice over World Champions West Indies, putting India back onto the cricket world stage,” filmmakers said in the trailer.
Kirmani recalled how the skipper’s first team meeting was a clincher. “On the eve of our very first match, we had a team meeting, where Kapil said, ‘listen, gentlemen, you are all seven seniors, you don’t need my guidance. You will have to guide me’. It was a big statement that gelled the team. We improved as a team as the tournament progressed, although we didn’t have any support staff (sometimes no team bus even). Of course, we had a bit of luck. But luck only helps you when you do your job with sincerity,” he said.
“Even after we were all out for 183 in the final, we weren’t looking back. We had nothing to lose. Kapil said, ‘let’s go and give our best’. We had already overachieved. We decided to put our best foot forward.”