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We remember with pride how India won the Prudential World Cup by beating the mighty West Indies on June 25, 1983 – 25 years ago. Kapil Dev‘ s team were amongst the least fancied to win the tournament. Our performances in the previous World Cups in 1975 and 1979 had been nothing to write home about. The odds offered for India winning the championship were 66:1.

From the leadership perspective, for me, the greatest display of leading from the front came in an earlier match- the one against Zimbabwe on June 18, 1983 at Tunbridge Wells.  We remember this match for Kapil’s incredible innings of 175 not out . I rate this as by far the best one day innings by an India player ever. The innings has to be seen in the context of the game. Our record against the teams in our group:Zimbabwe, West Indies and Australia till then was not very encouraging – 2 victories and 6 defeats.

Zimbabwe, who had beaten the Australians in a previous match got off to a brilliant start and soon India was tottering at 9/4. Gavaskar, Srikkanth, Amarnath and Patil back in the hutch. Kapil walked in to join Yashpal who was out 8 runs later to leave us gasping at 17/5.

Kapil then played the best innings of his life with only the lower order to keep him company. He added 60 with Binny and 58 with Madan Lal. Then followed an amazing 126 with Kirmani to which he contributed 102 !

Finally India finished 50 overs with 266. Kapil’s 175 * -at that time the highest individual score- came off only 138 balls with 16 fours and 6 sixes. India then got Zimbabwe all out for 235 to win by 31 runs.

Most astonishing was not just the win but the manner in which Kapil led from the front with his unforgettable innings.

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This is Post No: 202 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success