Class of 1983 Could Have Also Tasted IPL Success: Sandeep Patil
The captain of the 1983 World Cup winning squad Kapil Dev would have been a hot property in an IPL auction.
The 1970s and 80s saw many great players and somewhere in the middle, India also won their first-ever World Cup trophy. It was in the later half of 1970 that Kerry Packer introduced Packer’s Circus on Channel 9 which went on to become a real game changer. The World Series Cricket, which it later came to be known as, had a great run from 1977 to 1979 with matches played between three teams – WSC Australia XI, WSC World XI and WSC West Indies XI.
But, before Packer’s experiment with limited over matches, the first limited over tournament was started in Mumbai in the 50s by the name of Talim Shield. All the Indian greats of that era played in it.
English cricket introduced Gillete Gup much much before Kerry Packer. But the way Channel 9 presented Packer’s Circus signing all top players using gimmick before the match, during the match and after the match, drew attention of the cricketing world.
He served the older generation with the modern touch and introduction of colour clothing was the key factor. We all remember the first World Cup of 1975. But the Packer Circus of 1977 on Channel 9 changed the entire thinking of the game.
Earlier, the 10 and 20-over cricket was restricted to gully cricket but now suddenly it appears on the bigger platform. Mind you IPL was not the first time players played the Twenty20 cricket. English league cricket had introduced 20-20 in 1980s and I, too, had played in a similar tournament in Scottish league in 1984. But in today’s context, IPL has gained so much popularity since it entertains both players and spectators and it has become profitable venture for BCCI.
This is the twelfth edition of the IPL and every year I am asked the same question whether the class of 1983 would have enjoyed playing T20 cricket. Whether the great Gavaskar, Vengsarkar would have made the cut?
My answer in very simple. Those who mastered Test cricket can develop and mould themselves in any format of cricket. Records of1983 players in limited over tournament may speak a different story.
Players like Gavaskar who faced battery of fast bowlers and scored 100s without wearing a helmet would have certainly changed his technique to suit the modern day game. A player like him who loved batting for entire day would have been more than effective in T20 as well.
Look at Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis, who were not explosive players but managed their T20 cricket effectively.
I have no doubt about the other twelve members of the 1983 team as all of them were utility players. Undoubtedly our captain Kapil Dev would have been a hot property in an IPL auction.
It is not right to make a statement whether great players like Gavaskar or Vengsarkar who have played 100 plus Test matches would have survived the demand of T20 cricket. If a player is not exposed to different conditions and formats how can one judge him. Sunil Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Amarnath, Yashpal, Ravi Shastri, Roger Binny, Kirmani they were slow starters in their batting approach but yet Mohinder Amarnath was Man of the series in the 1983 World Cup.
My point is you need an utility player to win a game for your team. The formats may be different but the skill set remains the same. You only need sound technique to score runs and take wickets. As far as fielding is concerned, we were never exposed to modern facility that aides fielding standards these days so that is an area where we would have lacked expertise. But again until one is exposed to proper training one doesn’t learn.
Nobody thought the 1983 team will win the World cup, was it a miracle? I would like to say no. It was an exhibition of 14 talented players each one contributing at the right time which is the most important aspect of this great game called cricket.
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