Moved by the performance of Saqib Saleem in ’83’, the man he plays in the film, 1983 World Cup final Man of the Match, Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath, gifted the young actor the red handkerchief that he always carried with him as his good luck charm.
This happened immediately after the special screening of the film late on Wednesday night in Mumbai.
Mohinder Amarnath, interestingly, plays his father, Lala Amarnath Bharadwaj, the first Indian to score a century in Test cricket. Amarnath Sr, whom many remember for his expert comments during the early days of cricket telecasts, also never failed to carry a red handkerchief whenever he would step onto the field or make a public appearance. Yes, the same hanky that he gifted to Saqib Saleem after witnessing his stellar performance in 83.
After making his debut as a quick-bowling all-rounder against Australia in Chennai in December 1969, Mohinder Amarnath got promoted as a top-order batsman, playing mainly at No. 3, and soon won the admiration of the pace bowlers faced, mainly Pakistan’s Imran Khan and Malcolm Marshall of West Indies.
In the 1983 World Cup final, Amarnath’s batting against the fierce pace attack of West Indies brought some respite for the Indian side as he gave some much-needed stability. He stood at the crease facing 80 balls and scored 26 runs.
After a dismal batting performance, India’s chances to win the Cup were written off. The team, however, turned around the game with its bowling attack. They leveraged the weather and pitch conditions, limiting West Indies to just 140 runs.
Both Amarnath and Madan Lal were the joint highest wicket-takers, having picked up three wickets each, Amarnath giving away just 12 runs in seven overs. Quite naturally, he was declared Man of the Match. And as vice-captain of the team, he got to lift the World Cup in the historic photograph along with Kapil Dev.
Currently, the veteran cricketer often goes behind the mic for the Hindi commentary. He also has two brothers, Surinder Amarnath, who is a former Test player having played for India, and Rajinder Amarnath, who is a former first-class cricketer.
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