This maybe the most inappropriate blog to be writing at a time when cricket lovers across the country are celebrating 25 years of India’s victory in the Prudential World Cup. But ask any die-hard Indian Cricket fan of the 80’s, which was the most heartbreaking moment in Indian Cricket? Pat the reply will come, Javeed Miandad last ball six in Sharjah.
I don’t want to get into the scores of the match but woefully recall that India had won 80% of the match. The only redemptions for Pakistan on that day were the death over spell of one young upcoming Pakistani fast bowler by name Wasim Akram but the man who changed it all was the “Street Fighter”, “Wily Old Fox” Javeed Miandad. Many will acknowledge that Javeed Miandad was the pioneer of soft hands in one day cricket. Just dab awkwardly and take a quick single was Miandad’s invention.
For the T20 cricket fans, running for a bye with the ball in the wicket keeper’s glows may seem an innovation. But Javeed Miandad did it on that dreadful day off the penultimate ball. If the keeper had hit the stumps, India would have won the match but history had other ideas.
Last ball, four runs to get, Chetan Sharma with the ball in his hand. Chetan possibly attempted a Yorker but it turned out to be a juicy full toss and Javeed who was waiting in his hunches, deposited the ball into the midwicket fence. Kapil Dev had erred in calculation. He should have been bowling the last over.
Until that match, India had won most of its one day matches against Pakistan in Sharjah. Javeed Miandad rewrote history; after that day, India hardly won any match against Pakistan in Sharjah. To me from that day till date, the name Javeed Miandad only evokes the image of him hitting that last ball six. Even in the famous quarter final match in Bangalore during the 1996 WC, until he was out, I was dreading that Pakistan would get the runs.
Chetan Sharma is one of the greatest enigmas of Indian Cricket. He had a lot of potential as an all rounder but never played consistently well. He won a crucial one day match against England with his bat. To his credit, he took the first hat trick in a World cup match against New Zealand. Unfortunately, most cricket fans of 80’s recall him as Javeed Miandad’s bunny. This match was more than what the score board reflects. For months, cricket fans could not stop cribbing about that one ball. For me, it will always remain Indian Cricket’s most heart-breaking moment.