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Why Garry Sobers had a hunch about India ahead of 1983 World Cup

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Garry Sobers, the legendary West Indies all-rounder, had a hunch about India ahead of the 1983 World Cup, which India went on to win in a major upset.

Yashpal Sharma, part of that victorious squad, revealed that nugget during a reunion of the squad in 2017, ahead of the launch of the film ’83, which charts India’s journey to glory, starring actor Ranveer Singh who plays India’s captain Kapil Dev.

Sobers was impressed by India’s performance against Sri Lanka in a warm-up match before the tournament, and he had a hunch about them. That was spot on, as India went on to surprise everyone and win the tournament, beating Sobers’ old team, the mighty West Indies, in the final by 43 runs.

“Very few people know about this … you know how the legends of the game have a knack to read it better than most?” Sharma had said. “There was a warm-up match against Sri Lanka in Leicestershire and Sir Garfield Sobers was there.

“We had made 285, thanks to a partnership between Kapil and myself. Seeing us score that much on a green top, he said, ‘These guys might be underdogs, but watch out for them in the World Cup.’ He knew.”

The win, 37 years to the day, cemented cricket’s position as India’s favourite sport, which set in motion a series of events that led to them being a giant in the sport today.

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