‘Nobody had faith in us when we left for England,’ says former cricketer Roger Binny

Former cricketer Roger Binny speaks about the ’83 World Cup, the struggles the team went through and why he was teary-eyed upon watching the film which relives the country’s epic triumph

author_img Sanath Prasad Published :  29th December 2021 06:53 PM   |   Published :   |  29th December 2021 06:53 PM
A still from '83

A still from '83

After watching the premiere show of 83 in Mumbai recently, former cricketer and all-rounder Roger Binny walked out with wet eyes. Not just because the film --- directed by Kabir Khan, starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone among others – presented itself as an emotional piece, but it drew Binny back to 1983, a year filled with struggles, team spirit, fun, and incidents that created history. 

Binny, the current president of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), believes that 83 is a story of the ‘underdogs’. Not that it was deprived of talent, but they qualified for the World Cup, after defeating a country called ‘East Africa’. “Nobody had any faith in us when we left for England. At that point in time, nobody was bothered about India and its performance. However, after the first game against the West Indies, the tone of the people started changing. That is where the spirit took off and fans in England cheered us,” says Binny, who was the highest wicket-taker in the World Cup, with 18 wickets in 8 matches. 

The 66-year-old explains that dressing room conversations before a match were just ‘sweet and short’. “We did not have long and laborious conversations. Because everyone knew their purpose.

Moreover, we did not have any material or footage back then to assess the weakness of the batsman. It all depended on our past experiences. For example, you don’t bowl a short ball to the Windies,” says Binny, who also adds that he hardly coached Nishant Dahiya, who essays the role of Binny in the movie 83. 

“I think Sandhu (Balwinder Sandhu) handled the actor very well. They borrowed references from the past footage and replicated it as is. All of us shared our stories with the makers, and I think the young kids can learn the importance of not giving up and maintaining a strong team spirit,” says Binny. 

The 1983 World Cup was not just about victory. Binny says that a couple of losses in between made the team stronger. “We lost two games during the tournament and it was a good sign because it prevented us from being overconfident. The same spirit then helped us bounce back to the game,” says Binny, who also adds the remuneration was quite low back then. “I remember we were paid just Rs 25 or Rs 50 for a game.

We did not have laundry facilities and used to wash our own clothes and clean our shoes all by ourselves. The film emulates the struggles and sentiments  all of us went through,” says Binny adding, “Dismissing Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd in Manchester is something I will always remember.”