Shillong, Nov 12: The key to India’s victory against giants of cricket, the West Indies, at the 1983 World Cup was their self-belief and not being overawed by the opposition, Syed Kirmani (pictured sitting centre), who was part of that champion side, told a group of young Meghalaya cricketers, boys and girls, at an impromptu function here today.

Kirmani was visiting Shillong for a separate programme but wanted to call in at the Meghalaya Cricket Association at Polo Ground where he shared his wisdom, warm smile and charm with the assembly of players and MCA and Shillong Cricket Association officials. He also received a round of applause when he expressed his desire to be associated with Meghalaya cricket in future.

Kirmani, who was the Indian wicketkeeper during that historic World Cup victory at Lord’s, was welcomed by MCA Honorary Secretary Gideon Kharkongor in the presence of other senior MCA and SCA officials, such as Peter Macdonald Kharsawian, Peter Jarman Lamare, Saibal Dasgupta, Dhrubajyoti Thakuria, Dister Marbaniang, Robert Dkhar and others.

Speaking directly to the players, Kirmani, who featured in 88 Tests for India, said that playing in 1983 against West Indian greats Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards and Michael Holding, it was imperative that India not put their opponents on too high a pedestal.

“You have to believe in your own capabilities and strengths and do not be afraid because then you are halfway out,” Kirmani said, while also emphasising the importance of practice, be it in cricket or in academics. “Take it for granted that no one is perfect. You learn through mistakes and you mustn’t be afraid of your shortcomings.”

He also urged the youngsters present to always maintain the spirit of cricket and was pleased to learn that Meghalaya had recently finished second in the Plate Group of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, saying that it was good that the “BCCI has acknowledged the eastern sector” of the country by bringing all states under its umbrella.

Kirmani also took time out to answer questions put to him by the players themselves and to take selfies and sign autographs with the cricketers.

(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo)

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