The odds were 66-1 when India stepped in to battle it out in the World’s biggest cricketing tournament. A young captain who was making rapid strides in the International arena was yet to prove himself as a leader.
A disastrous start to his captaincy stint against the West Indies allowed critics in India to question the Board’s decision to appoint the scarcely experienced all-rounder as the captain of the side.
Kapil Dev, the epitome of self-belief was relatively new at the International stage when he was handed captaincy but his First Class numbers were astonishingly good.
As soon as India’s World Cup campaign began, Kapil turned the news headlines in his favor by defeating the defending champions West Indies in their first league game. However, there were speculations that this victory might have been just a fluke.
Kapil’s men were not terrifying 7 feet figures who could make the opposition batsmen shiver with their bouncers and toe-crushing Yorkers, but they had the ability to pitch the ball consistently in good areas. England’s weather and Kapil’s leadership made the Indian medium pacers a force to reckon with.
India suffered a few set-backs along the way and even back home in India, the idea of India lifting the World Cup was considered rather optimistic even after a few good wins. Irrespective of what everyone believed India made their way into the finals where they were up against Clive Llyod’s men.
After being reduced to a paltry 183, Sir Vivian Richards was absolutely destroying the Indian bowling attack. He smashed 7 fours in 28 balls he faced. Kapil’s decision to stick with Madan Lal for one moreover changed the dynamics of the game.
Kapil probably took the catch of the tournament to dismiss Viv Richards and after that, Llyod’s men were surprised by some optimum quality bowling by Indian pacers.
India defeated West Indies in the final by 43 runs and when the Indian captain lifted the trophy to honor the millions supporting the team back home, cricket’s transformation from a game into a religion began in India.