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Miracle Men: The Greatest Underdog Story in Cricket

Nikhil Naz

Published : Saturday, 6 July, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 788
Reviewed by Ashwin Achal


Miracle Men: The Greatest Underdog Story in Cricket

Miracle Men: The Greatest Underdog Story in Cricket

In this retelling, some more memories from India's 1983 World Cup triumph…
India's fairytale run in the 1983 Cricket World Cup is the stuff of legend. Tales of the historic triumph have been well documented over the years, through video highlights, player interviews, nostalgia articles and other means. Given the extensive coverage, is there anything new to learn about Kapil's Devils? Indeed there is, as television journalist and author Nikhil Naz has shown in this well-researched retelling of a famous story.
This book is filled with interesting anecdotes, from both on and off the field. The varied personalities in the squad, including less-heralded names like manager P.R. Man Singh and fast bowler Sunil Valson, shine through. Sunil Gavaskar cuts a serious figure, worried about his place in the playing eleven after a few low scores.
Kirti Azad, son of a distinguished politician, is the playful prankster. Mohinder Amarnath is the sage and elder statesman, while Syed Kirmani is the eccentric pipe-smoking maverick. Sandeep Patil is the handsome, dapper chocolate boy. Krishnamachari Srikkanth tackles the roughest of situations with humour, and his teammates love him for it.
Star of the show
And then there is Kapil Dev, the star of the show. The brave leader is unafraid to speak the blunt truth, even if it means rubbing seniors the wrong way. The skipper has a singular vision - to lift the World Cup trophy - and drags his mates along for the ride. In the days leading up to the tournament, Kapil did not take kindly to his teammates joking about heading to England as no-hopers on vacation. And with each positive result on the field, Kapil fuels the once disbelieving players with mighty hopes and dreams.
There are central characters from outside the squad list as well. Indian expat and restaurant owner Mintu Bhatia makes frequent appearances as the team's unofficial caterer. There is the emotional story of Jiten Bhai Parekh, another Indian expat, whose shop is ransacked by racist thugs. A bold Parekh wagers the £600 he receives as insurance money on his home nation clinching the title, and ends up winning a handsome £39,600 for his efforts. We follow the adventures of Ayaz Memon, then a greenhorn reporter with Mid-Day. It is a throwback to a bygone era, when rudimentary telex machines and compositors were essential items in the life of a journalist.
News anchor Rajdeep Sardesai, who was playing club cricket in England at the time, is one of several fans who tried every trick in the book to gain match tickets.
This stellar cast, whose stories are wonderfully intertwined, made memories to last a lifetime.

Courtesy : THE HINDU

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