Finally after 28 long years India managed to lift the most coveted trophy in the game of cricket. Finally after six world cups and probably his last, Sachin Tendulkar has a world champion title on his resume (the placements hangover). So how is this triumph (2011) different from the earlier one i.e. the 1983 edition? Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to compare how this one is better than the last one or vice-versa as that would be a cardinal sin. But some interesting differences do emerge in the way the two feats were accomplished. For analyzing the 1983 victory I have relied mainly on stats as well as opinions of ex-cricketers. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
The Representation: The 1983 team was dominated by a few selected cricketing centres namely Mumbai and Delhi with the notable exception of Kapil Dev who hailed from Haryana. On the other hand the Team India of 2011 has seen cricketing talent from little known centres making the cut with the examples of Dhoni, Raina, Yusuf etc.
The Superheroes: Though every player of the winning side is a hero in his own regard and a team effort was instrumental in achieving success on both the occasions but the stats do show that some players came up with stand-out performances. The 2011 victory was scripted by the usual suspects i.e. the players who were expected to lead the team as they had done so in the past. The three major contributors Sachin, Yuvraj and Zaheer had outstanding records even before they came up with their timely contributions. 1983 on the other hand had exceptional performances from lion-hearted cricketers rather than the outstanding ones i.e. players who are considered legends (with the probable exception of Kapil Dev). Players like Yashpal Sharma, Amarnath and Sandip Patil outscored Sunil Gavaskar (who averaged less than 10). Even in terms of wickets taken, Binny and Madan Lal topped the charts with ease.
The Captain: The 1983 triumph was certainly a Kapil’s show (300+ runs, 12 wickets @ 2.97 rpo and 7 catches). It included the epic 175 against the Zimbabweans, the running catch to dismiss the dangerous Viv Richards in the finals as well as a five-wicket haul. It won’t be wrong to say that he led by example. Dhoni in the 2011 edition though led through his astute captaincy. He was rightly acknowledged as the best captain of the tournament because of his calm demeanors and sound decision making. In fact he was not his usual self as a batsman though he did come up with a superlative performance in the very end.
The Road to the Finals: Indians had a real bumpy ride in the 1983 edition. They defeated the Caribbeans to kick start their journey and crushed the Aussies by more than 100 runs. But they also faced heavy defeats with the notable one being at the hands of Aussies where the margin was a whopping 162 runs. Even the Zimbabweans gave us a run for our money. The Indian encounters of 2011 could easily find adjectives like clinical, comfortable or at best close. We neither crushed the opposition (even the minnows) nor were we ever humiliated. In fact against all the top Test teams (including the West Indians who were once 154/2 in pursuit of 268) Indians had to fight till the closing stages of the match.
The Tag: This certainly was the biggest differentiator. Given India’s performance in the past two editions (1975 and 1979), it wasn’t a surprise that nobody gave them a chance in the 1983 edition. The 2011 edition though clearly had India as front runners given its strong batting line-up, recent form and familiarity with the playing conditions.
While Kapli’s Devils inspired Dhoni’s Men to glory even if after 28 years, we do hope that the next triumph won’t take that long. It was really fascinating to see how champion teams scaled the peak in a similar yet different manner. I hope you enjoyed it as well.