From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.32 :: NO.30 :: Jul. 25, 2009
Stars of the show… (from left) Clive Lloyd, Aravinda de Silva, Michael Bevan, Dilip Vengsarkar and Balwinder Sandhu unveil the International Cricket Council World Cup 2011 in Mumbai.
What’s common between Clive Lloyd, Aravinda de Silva, Michael Bevan, Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Dilip Vengsarkar, all invitees to the International Cricket Council World Cup 2011 logo launch? They were all part of the World Cup-winning teams. The whereabouts of their winner’s medals made for an interesting listening during the event arranged by the ICC.
Lloyd, who led West Indies to victory in the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979, has his medals under lock and key. The diligence of Aravinda’s father ensured that his son’s cricket treasure was safe, while Bevan found some space in his garage for his medal. Sandhu’s prized possession is stashed away in a safe and. Vengsarkar has kept his medal in his farmhouse. They all agreed that the victory in the World Cup changed their nation’s cricket forever.
“West Indies were not one of the favourites when the event was staged for the first time,” noted Lloyd, who stood out for his cool captaincy and brutal batting. “For a nation of five million people, winning a World Cup was remarkable,” said the former skipper of West Indies. He added that the victory infused rhythm and dynamism into the one-day game.
“My World Cup medals are secure under lock and key, don’t think those will be on eBay anytime,” he quipped.
A cricket legend in every way, India turned Lloyd’s world upside down in 1983. Sandhu struck the first blow for India as West Indies began its run chase (it was chasing 184 for victory). The medium-pacer deceived Gordon Greenidge with his swing and silenced the Caribbean supporters.
“People remember when you take turns; the straight road is rarely remembered. 1983 was the turning point in Indian cricket, the victory gave us self-belief that we can do it against the world’s best,” said Sandhu.
According to Sandhu, a knock on the head from a Malcolm Marshall bouncer during India’s batting firmed his resolve to counter-attack with the ball. Turning towards Lloyd, Sandhu said: “The biggest blunder West Indies made, I feel, was hitting a sardar on the head with a bouncer. It brought the Indian team together.”
Sandhu, the last man, survived 30 balls, contributing 11 runs. Then the Indian medium-pacers and slow bowlers pulled the rug from under the mighty West Indies batsmen to script an epic 43-run win. “My medal is in the safe. I don’t have cash to keep, hence the medal which is the most precious for me.”
Vengsarkar, a member of the Indian team who celebrated in the Lord’s gallery when skipper Kapil Dev received the trophy, did not play in the final. “I got a view from the sidelines. I was fully fit for the final but the team decided to retain the winning combination after the semifinal. It was disappointing when the manager told me about the team decision. I agree that winning combinations need not be changed,” said Vengsarkar.
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar and commentator Harsha Bhogle quizzed the World Cup performers.
Aravinda de Silva played a vital role in Sri Lanka’s success in 1996. He took three wickets and lashed the Australian bowlers, scoring 107 not out (124 balls) as the islanders made World Cup history. “The 100 gave me a lot of pleasure, after the difficult times the Sri Lankan cricket had gone through. The World Cup win was a great team effort,” said the Lankan hero.
Aravinda revealed that the Lankan plan of teaming up the aggressive Sanath Jayasuriya with Romesh Kaluwitharana came after a series against Australia. He said: “Kalu ran out of overs and seeing the way he was stroking the ball, we took the decision at a team meeting to promote him as opener with Jayasuriya. These two deserve credit for their attacking approach in the first 15 overs. Sanath and Kalu changed the way limited-overs cricket looked at batting.”
Aravinda also revealed that his father has kept his medal in a safe place. “Otherwise, I would have given it away, like I did with the numerous ‘Man of the Match’ awards that I could not bring home due to regulations.”
Bevan pointed out that his speciality at chasing down targets happened due to circumstances. “There was no conscious effort. Batting at number six meant that I got called in after we had lost a few wickets. The situation in that tournament was such that each match was a final for us,” said the Australian, who was famous for his remarkable self-belief and astonishing strokeplay. He chose his garage to store the 1999 World Cup medal for no special reason. “I don’t have a separate room to store cricket memorabilia,” he said.
Cricket fans will always have room for these performers in their hearts. They had all enthralled the spectators with bat or ball in limited overs cricket. Twenty20 happened well after their time.
Lloyd’s aggressive style of batting, Aravinda’s versatility, Bevan’s masterly placements and running between wickets and Sandhu’s ability to make the ball ‘talk’ would have made T20 richer.
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