ICC T-20 World Cup: Former Indian Wicketkeeper Sadanand Viswanath And Former Pakistan Cricketer Mudassar Nazar Reflect Strength And Weakness Of India And Pakistan: “I told Shiva before the tournament that we are the champions.” The former Indian wicketkeeper Sadanand Viswanath was saying the words in one breath. Viswanath and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan were of members of Sunil Gavaskar’s World Championship-winning team in 1985. 37 years ago, India created a fairytale by blowing away Pakistan in Melbourne. In the ICC T-20 World Cup, the two neighboring countries are facing each other today in Melbourne.
2022 after 1985. A lot of water has flowed through the Ganga in these long 37 years. The diplomatic relations between the two countries have reached the bottom. The bilateral cricket war has come to a complete standstill. In the meantime, the two neighboring countries met at the other end of the world twenty-two yards, but India-Pak did not play the match ball at the historic ground in Melbourne. This stadium is in the eyes of the whole world on Sunday afternoon.
Viswanath’s eyes will be on this match. What is the guarantee that you will not be nostalgic? Biswanath was very emotional when talking to this reporter of Sangam Pratid Digital the day before the match. “There was an incident before the start of the Sebar tournament,” he said as if weaving a garland with fragments of memories of the Benson & Hedges World Championship final. I was crossing the road in Melbourne. Just then a blind man was also crossing the road. I extend a helping hand to him. After that, we sit in a coffee shop and chat. That blind man also said we will be the champions.”
India really became the champion by defeating Pakistan in the final in Melbourne. The scene that followed took place in Chardin’s frame. Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, and Ravi Shastri are circling the entire field in an Audi car. Shastri became the owner of that car as he was the best player in the tournament. During the final, Pakistan captains Javed Miandad and Shastri had vigorous sledding with cars. Referring to Virat Kohli’s former coach, Miandad said, “Tu bar udhar kya dekh raha hai? Kahi ko kiyu dekh raha hai? O nehi mille wali hai tere ko.” Shastri responded to Miandad, “Javed, Meri taraf hi a rahi hai.” At the end of the match, the whole ‘India’ got into Shastri’s car. Vishwanath was saying, “I, Azhar and Mahinder Amarnath sat at the very front of the car.”
The finale of the service was eventful. The events leading up to the Indian team playing in the tournament were no less dramatic. The selectors sat in Chandigarh to decide who will be the captain of the Indian team in the World Championship. The selectors handed over the captain’s arm band to Gavaskar. The Benson & Hedges Cup team was formed sitting in the car of the then Secretary of the Board, Ranveer Singh Mahendra. India’s greatest ever opener gave opportunities to youngsters like Lakshan Sivaramakrishnan, Sadananda Vishwanath.
Reminiscing, Vishwanath said, “Air India gave us a great party in Singapore after winning the service tournament. One of the milestones of Indian cricket was the Benson & Hedges Cup.” Pakistan scored 176 runs for 9 wickets in the final. India lost 2 wickets to chase the run and won the match. India did not allow Pakistan to stand in that final. But after all this, is March 10, 1985 sitting in the same seat with June 25, 1983 or April 2, 2011? The former are the days of world conquest. And the next one is the World Championship. On the day of the final in Melbourne, a poster appeared in the gallery looking at the two Asian nations – “World Cup Final: Tram Conductors vs. Bus Drivers”.
This is a thing of the past. Today is a new fight. What will happen? Whose turn is heavy? Vishwanath says, “Who can talk about T20 cricket? No one can predict in advance. Rohit Sharma will play with a change in mentality. All I can say is that Rohit will not play horizontal bat shots as Shaheen Afridi says. Afridi is Pakistan’s trump card. It will be interesting to see how Rohit plays him. The first six overs are very important. India will definitely want to get off to a good start. If you have a wicket in hand, you will try to increase the run. It will be a great match. Hope our boys will have the last laugh. At the end of the day, cricket will win.” But Suryadev will really smile today in the sky of Melbourne? For the past few days, the weather department has been predicting that Varundev will rain on Sunday.
The cricket war between the two countries is no longer the same as before. There is no cloud of violence. Those who do a lot of research on cricket say that the India-Pakistan match is actually a cycle of history. That is why a final match three centuries ago has become so relevant to cricket fans. Mudassar Nazar was in the Pakistan camp in the final on March 10, 1985. Regarding today’s match, the former Pakistan star said, “Pakistan’s record against India in the World Cup is not good. Pakistan has just started turning the wheel. Pakistan will be strong in confidence. Both the openers are in good form. I don’t know how fit Shaheen Shah is. I hope he is in tune. Rauf can create problems. India will be under pressure if Rohit returns quickly. But this India is not only dependent on one or two people. The team consists of five-six batsmen who can change the color of the match at any time. I like Suryakumar Yadav’s game. There is Pandya. But in the last overs he is terrible. All in all, the match seems to be quite enjoyable. But no one knows how the weather will be. I want the whole game.”
Just before the World Cup, Jashpreet Bumrah was knocked out of the mega tournament due to an injury. In the Asia Cup, experienced bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar could not stop the opposition batsmen. Dedar gives the run. The match is out of India’s hands. Mudassar Nazar is also surprised to see Bhubi’s poor performance. He says, “Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a very good bowler. I was disappointed with his bowling recently. But Sunday is a new day. Bhuvneshwar Kumar might shine.”
India were knocked out of the tournament after losing to Pakistan in the Asia Cup. India returned to glory in home series against Australia and South Africa. Reaching Australia, Shami took the title with three wickets in one over. Former Pakistan all-rounder Mudassar feels that his inclusion will boost India’s bowling strength.
Former India pacer Madanlal is not giving importance to the loss to Pakistan in the Asia Cup. Screaming, “What happened to it?” There are wins and losses in the game. Some will win, some will lose.” Madanlal also said from experience, “India-Pakistan match means emotion, tension, pressure. It was in our time too. I won’t win because there is tension-pressure, it doesn’t happen. Learn to handle stress. When we came to play with Pakistan, we thought only one thing, let’s beat them. Never mind the ’85 final in Melbourne. We didn’t let them run. Later we came out to bat and easily scored runs. But it was a fifty over match. T20 cricket is short. But with the wicket, the pressure on the opposition must be increased by picking up runs. The team that can do these things well on a given day will win.”
37 years is not a short time. The happy memories of the golden past can be erased due to various events. But every moment of that match is still fresh in Vishwanath’s heart. He was saying, “Kapil bowled terribly. He was keeping the ball in the right place. In the beginning, India pushed hard by picking up wickets. Also our fielding was great. Srikanth caught Ramiz Raja. Mohsin Khan is out with a catch by Azhar. We won the match on the strength of team performance.”
Within 15 days of winning the World Championship, India-Pakistan met once again in Sharjah. India’s winning streak continued in Marushahar too. Chasing India’s 125 runs, Pakistan stopped at 87 runs. India won the quadrennial Rothmans Cup. Mudassar Nazar said, “The Melbourne loss gave us a big shock. After that we lost to India in Sharjah. It was a low scoring match. India scored very few runs. We couldn’t pick that up either. Later, however, we dominated for a long time.”
According to the rules of history, that wheel also turns. In the name of playing India in the World Cup, cold currents flowed through the pillars of Pakistan. Bishwanath was saying with a smile, “Remember the 2007 T20 World Cup final? Misbah scooped Yoginder Sharma’s last over, the ball fell to Sreesanth. Since then Pakistan’s batsmen have not bowled the scoop.” Mudassar says again, “The Indian team is very good. But they haven’t won any major trophy for a long time.” The former players of the two countries put on the heat of the match.
Time moves on. The rule of time changes in cricket. The faces of the heroes change. The taste, smell, color of India-Pak match remains the same. This match brings back any lost time. Combines past and present.