Sunil Valson was the one squad member to not play a recreation in India’s historic World Cup triumph in 1983 however a powerful sense of belonging is unquestionably there.
He’s a uncommon former cricketer, who shouldn’t be caught in a time-warp and is at all times able to crack a joke or two at his personal expense.
No surprise when he obtained a name simply 12 days earlier than the World Cup opener in England, he knew the explanation.
“I know every four years, I get these calls,” there was no sarcasm or malice however pure humour as Valson was able to take one more journey Down Reminiscence lane on his best hour of glory, 1983 Prudential World Cup.
So does it damage that you simply had been the one participant amongst 14, who was not performed in that World Cup?
“Absolutely not. It didn’t hurt then when I was a youngster and it doesn’t hurt now that I am almost a senior citizen. There are 14 guys who won that World Cup and I was among the 14. No one can take that away from me,” mentioned the previous left-arm pacer, who maybe was one of many quickest Indian bowlers of his time.
Valson was enjoying in England when he received the decision of his World Cup choice.
“I was playing in Durham West Coast League when a club official informed me of my selection. In that pre-internet era, it was difficult to confirm. I called up Kirti (Azad) who was also playing club cricket and he confirmed it. But I knew getting a chance into the first XI would be difficult,” mentioned Valson.
Nevertheless he did play the 2 warm-up video games at the beginning towards Australia and minor counties.
“We lost both games and one against minor county. Can you beat that? Even with little press coverage, we were taken to task but then we beat West Indies in the first game and it all changed,” recollected Valson.
Didn’t even get one trace from skipper Kapil Dev that he might play no less than one recreation.
“Yes there was one game. The second round robin game against West Indies which we lost (by 66 runs). I don’t remember the ground (Oval).”
“If I remember correctly Roger was having some niggle –hamstring or calf, I can’t recollect now. Kapil had said if Roger failed fitness Test, I would play. Who isn’t excited at the whiff of an opportunity,” mentioned Valson.
However as luck would have it, Binny reported match.
“Back then, fitness test meant a round of jogging, a few sprints and a few deliveries. Jaise hi Roger ne bhaagna suru Kiya, mujhe pata thaa main naahi kheloonga (The way he ran, I knew I won’t play). Roger was in great form and it was only fair that Kapil, Roger and Madan played all games.”
“But I got a chance to get into the field as Dilip Vengsarkar was hit by Malcolm Marshall and I helped him get back to dressing room. Malcolm was unbelievable in 1983. We have never seen such quick bowling,” he reminisced.
Valson can always remember Lata Mangeshkar’s live performance in Delhi which ensured that BCCI was in a position to reward every member with Rs 1 lakh.
“It was Raj bhai (Raj Singh Dungarpur) who had requested Lata ji and what a concert it was.”
It’s not World Cup that hurts Valson however the truth that throughout his peak 3-Four years between 1979 to 83, he by no means received an opportunity to put on nationwide cap regardless of getting wickets towards touring facet.
“A fast bowler’s peak remains for 3 years and if you make the highest grade, you will generally improve. You play for India, you learn more. My chance didn’t come and obviously I lost a bit of motivation.”
So how do the Class of 1983 be in contact?
“We have a WhatsApp group. Every year on June 25, people do send each other messages. Now a film (starring Ranveer Singh) is being made. It remains the finest month of my life.”