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Soldiers, let’s fight: Kirti Azad recalls Kapil Dev’s fighting spirit during 1983 World Cup

Recalling India’s monumental 1983 World Cup win, the then winning team-member Kirti Azad said that it was Kapil Dev who instilled the belief in the Indian players that they could beat the two-time World Champion West Indies to script a new chapter in Indian cricket history.

Talking to India Today on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of India’s historic World Cup triumph from 1983, Azad said the Indian players had to pinch themselves after the victory to realise that they were not dreaming.

“When we came up we pinched ourselves that yes we have won it. We went to the West Poland Hotel where there was a huge crowd of Indians. There was dhol nagada (drums) everything..as if we have come to India. The party went on till 2 am,” Azad said.

The former India all-rounder said his favorite memory from India’s winning World Cup campaign was Kapil Dev lifted the coveted trophy.

“We became a superpower that day,” Azad said.

India was just 40 ODIs old when they entered the 1983 World Cup. India’s tally of 40 ODIs was the 2nd least when it came to countries that had Test status at that point in time. In comparison, Australia had played 89, England 81, and West Indies 52 (of which they won 38). And thus they were considered the underdogs in that tournament.

“Obviously, we were underdogswe were second from the bottom. We had one of the best World Cup teams ever the West Indies against us which had won previous World Cups,” Azad said.

The former right-hand batsman added that Kapil Dev’s fighting spirit that inspired the team to give their best and defend the below-par total of 183 to lift the World Cup.

“We were out for a low score, but then Kapil came and said..fair enough they have to score 183. Let’s go and enjoy the game.”

“That’s the spirit that the great man had and he still has. He told us “Jawano lado” (soldiers fight) Jawano lado humne 183 banaye hain, lekin inko banane hain. (We have already scored 183, but they (opponents) have to score that). Hum ladegene ja kar (We will fight).”

“He was a man who from the beginning had the belief that if we played to our potential, we would win the World Cup. He would fit into any team as a batsman, as a fielder, as a bowler. I have seen many brilliant innings by Sehwag, Dhoni and othersbut Kapil’s 175 not out against Zimbabwe when we were 9 for 4 was just brilliant, that’s the best one-day innings for me.”

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