Bengaluru, April 25: The Indian squad chosen for the upcoming ICC World Cup has been called a balanced one and especially, its bowling firepower has been praised by the pundits as potent.
In the conditions in England where this year’s WC will be played, the bowlers will certainly have a key role to play.
In 1983, when India had won their maiden WC title in England, it was their bowlers who had played a decisive role. Kapil Dev’s team had booked a place in the semi-finals by finishing second in the group after the West Indies and their thumping victory by 118 runs over Australia at Chelmsford made it look easy.
However, that win was made possible by the Indian team’s seamers whose stature bettered as India approached the tournament’s business end. Both Madan Lal and Roger Binny took four wickets each and the Aussies clearly had no reply to the Indian seamers’ skills.
In the semi-final played in Manchester, too, it was the bowlers who had scripted a memorable win. Bob Willis won the toss and elected to bat and England were cruising well at 141 for three (Binny had removed both the openers) when Yashpal Sharma affected the run-out of Allan Lamb and it was a collapse for the hosts from there on. Kapil chipped in with two wickets while Kirti Azad and Mohinder Amarnath (total two scalps) took one each to see England losing their last seven wickets for only 72 runs.
In the final also, it was the bowlers who made the party possible. After having managed 183, not many had given India a chance but the devils certainly had believed in themselves.
The Windies had raced to 50 for 1 in 11 overs, making it look like a cakewalk but the Indian seamers struck then. Madan Lal scripted the downfall of Desmond Haynes (13), Viv Richards (33) who was caught brilliantly by captain Kapil and Larry Gomes (5) and the Caribbeans were reduced to 66 for 4.
Skipper Clive Lloyd (5) was gone soon as did Faoud Bacchus (8) and at 76 for 6, the Windies looked drifting away fast from the hat-trick of crowns. Wicket-keeper-batsman Jeff Dujon (25) and Malcolm Marshall (8) tried their best to resurrect the chase but Amarnath came to the party to pick three of the final four wickets to polish off the tail.
The West Indies were all out for 140, losing by 43 runs. All the Indian bowlers contributed (Madan Lal and Amarnath took three wickets each; Balwinder Singh Sandhu two and Kapil Dev and Binny one each). Amarnath was picked as the man of the match but Madan Lal’s performance was perhaps a tad better given the quality of batsmen he picked.
Are Virat Kohli’s bowlers taking a leaf out of the books of Kapil’s bowlers?