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Silver jubilee celebrations kick off; BCCI felicitates 1983 champs

New Delhi, June 22: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday felicitated the 14 men who re-wrote India's cricketing history 25 years ago on 25th June 1983 by winning the World Cup.

The board also announced a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh for every member of the winning squad.

Speaking on the occasion, Kapil Dev, the captain of the winning team thanked those present on the momentous occasion.

"We never thought the victory was possible before it actually happened," a visibly emotional Kapil said.

"We were just putting in our effort, and did not realize the magnitude of what we had achieved," added Kapil.

Kapil further called upon the stage each member of the World Cup winning squad and acknowledged their contribution to the victory.

Taking special note of little master Sunil Gavaskar's impact on the team, Kapil referred to him as a thorough professional.

"The victory would not have been possible without Sunil Gavaskar. He is one of the finest cricketers born not just in India but in the world," Kapil added.

Another hero of that historic victory, Mohinder Amarnath was all praise for his skipper Kapil Dev.

"Kapil is the greatest all rounder India has ever produced. He led from the front and was a big inspiration for the entire team," said Amarnath.

Thanking the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the youngest member of the `83 squad Ravi Shastri said that the victory marked a new beginning in the history of Indian sports.

"They are called the Kapil's Devils and they definitely deserve the recognition," said Shastri.

Besides members of the winning squad, other present included all former Test captains, all Test cricketers based in Delhi, women international cricketers in Delhi, women`s former and current India captains and past office bearers of the BCCI.

The title-winning efforts of the Indian team which was popularly called Kapil`s Devils fascinated Indian sports fans, who went on to became the largest television audience for cricket. "These players inspired an entire generation of cricketers," said Sharad Pawar, president of the BCCI that put aside its differences with Dev and three other members of his World Cup winning squad Sandip Patil, Madan Lal and Balwinder Sandhu who last year accepted contracts as managers and coaches with the breakaway Indian Cricket League.

The 1983 Indian squad will Monday leave for London, where former opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar, a member of that team, is organizing a ceremony at Lord`s on June 25 the day when India won the final against the West Indies by 43 runs in 1983.

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