“I was not supposed to bowl the over in which I dismissed Viv Richards,” reveals Madan Lal to Suhrid Barua of the epic dismissal in the 1983 World Cup final.
The 1983 World Cup triumph was a red-letter day for Indian cricket. Kapil Dev’s men rose from being absolute no-hopers to play some inspirational brand of cricket and beat mighty the West Indies in a sensational final.
One man who played a significant part in that magnificent win over was Madan Lal, best remembered in that final game for stopping the rampaging Viv Richards from running away with the final. Richards’s brilliance was truncated by a brilliant running catch by Kapil running a long, long way back at mid-wicket to come up with a blinder.
“Richards was in a destructive mood. He hit me for three boundaries in my first over from the Nursery End. But in the 14th over, Richards miscued in trying to pull me and Kapil did the rest,” Madan recalled.
“Richards’ wicket was crucial for us because he would have finished the game early if he was around for some more time… We celebrated his dismissal, but we also knew that we had a job to do as the West Indies had other batsmen who could have turned things around,” Madan added.
Interestingly, Madan was not supposed to bowl the over he got Richards out in the first place itself. “Kapil wanted to give me some rest. But I told him that I wanted to carry on.”
The wicket of Richards saw an extra spring in the strides of Madan who caused more damage. “I bowled around seven to eight overs on a trot. I got the wicket of Larry Gomes off an away-going delivery,” said, Madan, who started his wicket-taking spree, dislodging Desmond Haynes. He finished with analysis of 3 for 31 from his 12 overs.
Twenty-eight years down the line, India is looking to emulate the Indian team at the 1983 World Cup. Madan felt that collective responsibility is the key if India has to win the 2011 World Cup. “You can’t have all players firing together in a long event like the World Cup. There would be days when a player has to chip in when one of his team-mates fails to perform,” he opined.
He has no doubts that India would go in with seven batsmen and four regular bowlers but is tad concerned about the fifth bowler option. “We need to have a Plan B in place should the fifth bowler gets whacked around. If one of the four regular bowlers gets smashed and we don’t have a back-up plan, we will be opening up 20 overs for the opposition.”
Despite, the perceived loopholes, Madan feels that India has the wherewithal to win the World Cup. “Dhoni has the team to do it,” he asserted.
Madan has high hopes from pacer Shantakumaran Sreesanth for the big-ticket event. “I believe Praveen Kumar’s injury should not be a big miss because Sreesanth is an equally good bowler and should be more than an adequate replacement for him.”
(Suhrid Barua is a cricket buff who invariably gets pumped up before every India match)