Madan Lal bowled the first delivery in the inaugural World Cup 1975 : The Cricket World Cup 1975, officially called the Prudential Cup, was the first edition of the World Cup, organised by the International Cricket Conference (ICC). It was held from 7th to 21st June 1975 in England.
The tournament had eight teams participating out of which six (India, England, West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand) were Test playing nations while Sri Lanka and East Africa were the associate teams.
India was in Group A in the accompaniment of England, New Zealand and East Africa.
Madan Lal Sharma, backed by a wonderful domestic career, made his Test debut against England in the first of the three-Test series played at Old Trafford, Manchester, between 6th and 11th June 1974.
It was not a dream debut with him bagging just 2 wickets in the first innings, giving away 56 runs in 31 overs. In the 12 overs that he bowled in the second innings, he went wicket-less, giving away 39 runs.
In his 12-year Test career, Madan had picked up 71 wickets at an average of 40.08 and an economy rate of 2.84 with 4 instances of ‘5-wicket’ hauls. His best bowling performance has been 5/23 and 6/47 in an innings and in a match respectively.
Wielding the bat, he had scored 1,042 runs at an average of 22.65 with 74 as his highest score that came in the first innings of the drawn First Test against Pakistan, played at Karnataka State Cricket Association Stadium, Bangalore, between 14th and 19th September, 1983.
This cameo knock, coming from lower down the order, helped India notch up 275 runs with Madan Lal and Roger Binny (83) adding 155 crucial runs for the seventh wicket.
Even the ODI debut that Madan made against England in the first of the two-match series played at Headingley, Leeds, on 13th July, 1974, was not anything great ‘to write home about’.
Bowling a spell of 9.1 overs, giving away 43 runs he picked up the solitary wicket of the England skipper, Mike Denness (8).
In a career outing of 67 games, Madan Lal had accounted for 73 dismissals at an average of 29.27 and an economy rate of 4.05 with 4/20 being his best performance.
Batting lower down the order, he has also aggregated 401 runs at an average of 19.09 with 53* as his individual best.
Madan Lal was a member of the Indian squad for the inaugural World Cup in 1975.
The first match of the prestigious ICC tournament was played between the host country, England, and India at the iconic venue, Lord’s, on 7th June, 1975.
England, led by Mike Denness, won the toss and chose to bat first.
They opened the innings with John Jameson and Dennis Amiss.
With the whole world watching the spectacle, Madan Lal Sharma, ran into bowl the very first delivery to Amiss.
In the 60-over match, in which five bowlers could bowl 12 overs each, Madan Lal bowled a spell of 12-1-64-1. The only wicket that he took was of Dennis Amiss, to whom he bowled the very first ball of the tournament. He did not get to bat.
However, India lost the encounter by a huge margin of 202 runs.
It was a disastrous tournament for India, losing to both England and New Zealand. They found a little solace beating East Africa. It was in this encounter that Biahen Singh Bedi had a record bowling analysis of 12-8-6-1, which has never been equalled or surpassed.
Madan Lal ended the tournament, picking up 5 wickets from 3 games.
Not being a member of the Indian squad for the 1979 edition of the tournament, Madan Lal, found himself travelling to England for the 1983 edition.
He had a successful outing picking up 17 wickets from 8 games that included a ‘4-wicket haul. He ranked second to Roger Binny who had 18 scalps from 8 games in the ‘Top Wicket-Takers’ list.
The all-famous Final encounter between India and West Indies found Madan Lal playing a very important role in India’s maiden tournament title victory.
Defending a meagre total of 183 runs, Madan quickly accounted for all the dangerous batsmen like Desmond Haynes (13), Vivian Richards (33), Larry Gomes (5) and reduced the Windies to a paltry 66 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
It was in this match that Kapil Dev took the famous catch of Vivian Richards, running backwards, that almost ensured victory for India.
Thereafter the West Indies could never recover and succumbed soon.
Madan Lal ended with a great analysis of 12-2-31-3.
Incidentally Lal celebrated his 65th birthday on 20th March.