In 2020, India is perhaps the biggest name in world cricket. The cricketing giants dominate all forms of cricket and everything else that revolves around it. Cricketers like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni feature in international lists where no other cricketer from any other nation is even spotted. The Indian cricket team has had followers who literally worship the team and that trend began in 1983 when they secured its maiden World Cup victory in England.
India was not a cricketing superpower by any means when it played cricket before 1983. However, in the 1983 World Cup, India ended up winning the biggest trophy in the sport and created a fan following that could only be paralleled by a few other sports, much to the surprise of many. During the 90s, superstars like Sachin Tendulkar appeared on television and enhanced the mass-appeal of the gentlemen's game. In a recent event in Delhi, former India batsman and a legend of the game himself, Sunil Gavaskar spoke about the turnaround in Indian cricket and its journey since then.
Gavaskar credited his captain Kapil Dev's infectious positivity and energy as the reason behind the Indian team's seemingly overnight rise to success. Gavaskar acknowledged how Kapil Dev's energy was 'unending' and his skills with the ball and the bat set a good example for budding cricketers. Gavaskar likened Dev to a "pied piper" who is being followed by many youngsters till date. Kapil Dev lead India to a very unlikely victory over West Indies in the 1983 World Cup Final. Gavaskar then moved on to expressing gratitude for batting maestros Lala Amarnath and Col. CK Nayudu. Amarnath was India's first-ever Test centurion and Nayudu was India's first-ever international captain.
Gundappa Viswanath was the next player to earn Gavaskar's praise as the right-hander claimed that not a single person would have something ill to say about "Vishy". Gavaskar credited Viswanath's shot-making ability and lauded his efforts for the Indian team. Viswanath scored 6080 runs for India in 91 Tests. He even holds the record of not having lost a single match whenever he made a century for India, alongside Sourav Ganguly and Kapil Dev.
Gavaskar then looked at the 1990s, which acted as a turning point in Indian cricket. The Mohammad Azharuddin match-fixing scandal which unfolded publicly in the late 90s led to widespread doubt being cast on the Indian team. Gavaskar called out men like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly for being trustworthy enough for turning Indian cricket around in the early 2000s.
Sunil Gavaskar then lauded Mahendra Singh Dhoni's "enviable" calmness that led India to its second World Cup victory. Gavaskar then moved on to Virat Kohli and how his aggressive attitude forged a new era in Indian cricket. He ended his lecture by mentioning how the Indian Premier League (IPL) changed the landscape of Indian cricket and turned India into one of cricket's biggest-ever superpowers.