The Greatest Player of the Prudential World Cup 1983
Mohinder Amarnath Bhardwaj, the son of the legendary Nanik Amarnath Bhardwaj (Lala Amarnath), was born on 24th September 1950 at Patiala, Punjab. In his earlier days, he played for Baroda in the Ranji Trophy. He was a right hand bat and a right arm medium pace bowler. He was a good slip and close-in fielder. He is known in the cricketing world as `Jimmy’.
Mohinder Amarnath made his test debut against Australia at Madras on 24th December 1969. He played his last test match against the West Indies also at Madras on 15th January 1988. He made his one day debut against England at Lord’s on 7th June 1975 and played his last one day match against the West Indies on 30th October 1989.
After his debut series in 1969, he was made to wait for six years to make it back into the team. He was taken as a bowling all rounder though he was a top order one down batsman. Mohinder Amarnath has been described as the personification of gumption, guts and grit. His career had a big span of two decades. He was also known as the master of comeback. When he started his career, his technique was suspect against short pitched fast bowling but when he retired, he was one of the bravest and finest players of pace. He was very effective with the old ball, cutting and swinging it with good control and skill.
Mohinder Amarnath played 69 tests scoring 4,378 runs with eleven centuries and twenty four half centuries and picked up thirty two wickets. He played 85 one day matches scoring 1,924 runs with a highest of 102 not out and claimed forty six wickets. He was the first batsman in the history of one day cricket to be declared out handling the ball.
His best season was 1982-1983 when he came back into the side after a gap of three years and compiled 1,182 runs that season with five centuries on the overseas tours to West Indies and Pakistan. He had a grand culmination of the season by picking up the man of the match awards back to back in both the semi final and the final of the 1983 Prudential World Cup held in England.
Mohinder Amarnath is currently a cricket analyst. His brother, Surinder Amarnath, was also a stylish left hand test batsman who impressed everyone in his short and sweet career. He did not have such an extensive stint as his illustrious brother `Jimmy’. Another brother, Rajinder Amarnath, is also a former first class cricket player and a current cricket coach. The entire Bhardwaj family served Indian cricket selflessly for over six decades. No praise is less as a tribute to this glorious family.
Mohinder Amarnath will be remembered as a batsman who did not flinch or shy away from the fire. Both Malcolm Marshall and Imran Khan have lauded his batting prowess, ability and courage to bear express pace and sustain injuries. Sunil Gavaskar, in his book `Idols’, has praised him as one of the finest batsmen in the world. He made his debut century at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground at Perth in Australia on a track that was notorious as the bounciest and the fastest wicket in the world. He got that century against Jeff Thomson, `Thommo’, who was bowling at his fastest, close to a hundred miles an hour.
It was not only the motivational inspiration and the force of Kapil Dev Nikhanj as a player but the superb all round display by the greatest player of the Prudential World Cup, Mohinder Amarnath, that made India create history at the Lord’s Cricket Ground on that fateful day in June 1983. His twenty six runs and a bowling analysis of 7-0-12-3 was enough to bring every Indian out of his house in jubilant celebration of one of India’s greatest triumphs in the field of cricket. Sir Vivian Richards has hailed `Jimmy’ as “one of the nicest men to have ever played the game”.