Kapil's Devils relive historic occasion at the Lord's

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{image-kapils devils_26062008.jpg news.oneindia.in}London, Jun 26: It was deja vu as India's 1983 World Cup heroes walked down the pitch and the then victorious captain Kapil Dev opened a champagne bottle from the hallowed balcony of the Lord's pavilion, as he did exactly 25 years ago.

''It (the 1983 victory) was one of the greatest moments in history,'' both Kapil and BCCI President Sharad Pawar said. Later at a dinner hosted in the famous Long Room on Wednesday, June 25, in honour of the 15 men who had created history, Pawar, along with Vijay Mallya, presented a replica of the Prudential Cup to each one of them. ''The 1983 win was a special moment for India and this is our tribute to these cricket icons and millions of cricket fans in India,'' said liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Mallya, whose UB Group sponsored the event, unveiled a cricket bat adorned with 25-carat diamonds and a specially designed ball, encrusted with diamonds, which would be auctioned by Sotheby's with the proceeds to be presented to the 15 heroes equally. Talking about the historic day, cricketer Sunil Gavaskar spoke about the historic ball. ''Even as I was running towards the ball, there was such a big roar that I knew that the batsman had been given LBW and I took that ball, put it in my pocket and ran. ''I think it was the fastest sprint that I have ever had in my life,'' Gavaskar said. Pawar said though an Indian team first visited England in 1932, ''history was created by Kapil and his teammates by winning the World Cup in 1983.'' Kapil, who has fallen out with the BCCI after joining the 'rebel' ICL, thanked Pawar for honouring the cricketers.

''We are honoured and we would like to honour you with the same respect for looking after cricketers,'' he said, while also thanking Sunil Gavaskar for conceptualising the silver jubilee celebration of India's victory.

Pawar, praised Kapil for leading from the front to win the World Cup. ''Kapil really changed everything,'' said Pawar.

Noting that cricket is a religion in India, Pawar said, ''Today the major news in my country is the silver jubilee celebration of India's World Cup victory, though there is a political crisis in the country.'' When asked if the victory was a fluke, Kapil Dev retorted, ''If that was fluke then couldn't have won the 1985 Bensen and Hedges World championships. So, people should believe that a team wins a tournament trophy or World Cup, you can't win on fluke.'' ''You can win a match or two by fluke, but not the world championship or World Cup,'' he added.

Gavaskar, who booked the venue of the celebrations at the Lord's after learning a year back that no cricket match was being played on June 25, praised Kapil Dev's leadership.

''He showed how to play a captain's innings and rescue the team,'' Gavaskar said.

Like 25 years ago, the star of the evening Kapil reminisced, ''When we beat West Indies, the twice Champions, in Manchester in the league stage. It was then that we started believing in ourselves,'' he said.

Asked about the prospects of India winning the next World Cup in 2011, the legendary all-rounder said, ''Why not. Now we start believing that we have that capacity.

''India's victory also inspired Sri Lanka and Pakistan,'' he said, adding, ''Today, we are much more closer to winning the Cup again,'' he said.

''Yes, We have plenty of options now. In 2011 India will be able to break the jinx of host countries not lifting the trophy,'' Gavaskar agreed.

Kapil revealed that he was reluctant to take up the captaincy at that time as there were other senior and worthy players.


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