1983 World Cup-winning team (L), Protesting wrestlers clash with the police (R), Pic: AFP
Urging the aggrieved wrestlers to not take any hasty decision, members of the 1983 World Cup winning cricket team on Friday came out in support of Vinesh Phogat and Co., while hoping that players' issues will be 'heard and resolved'. In a joint statement, the 1983 triumphant team said it was distressed and disturbed after seeing the visuals of wrestlers being manhandled but also hoped that law of the land will prevail.
Phogat, along with Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, have been demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Birj Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual exploitation of women wrestlers. They took their protest to Haridwar on May 30 but did not carry out the threat of immersing their medals into holy river Ganga.
On May 28, the Delhi Police had detained the wrestlers for violation of law and order when they marched towards the new Parliament building without permission. The police also cleared the protest site and made it clear that the wrestlers will not be allowed back at Jantar Mantar.
The police action against the wrestlers had invited criticism from different quarters.
"We are distressed and disturbed at the unseemly visuals of our champion wrestlers being manhandled. We are also most concerned that they are thinking of dumping their hard earned medals into river Ganga. Those medals have involved years of effort, sacrifice, determination, and grit and are not only their own but the nation's pride and joy. We urge them not to take any hasty decision in this matter and also fervently hope that their grievances are heard and resolved quickly. Let the law of the land prevail," the statement read further," a statement released to PTI by the 1983 World Cup wining team read.
Under legendary skipper Kapil Dev, the Indian cricket team had humbled the mighty Clive Lloyd led-West Indies to win the country's first World Cup trophy.
"I am not going to say anything individually, the whole of 1983 team stands by the statement we have issued," Kapil said.
The other members of the 83 batch include current Roger Binny, who is now BCCI President, iconic Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, K Srikanth, Syed Kirmani, Yashpal Sharma, Madan Lal, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Sandeep Patil and Kirti Azad.
The World Cup final was played at the Lord's on June 25, 1983.
Among other former Indian cricketers, Anil Kumble, Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan have shown solidarity with the elite wrestlers. The active cricketers are yet to comment on the controversy.
Reigning Olympic champion in javelin throw, Neeraj Chopra and India's first individual Olympic gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra have also expressed anguish that wrestlers were forced on to the streets while demanding justice.
(With PTI inputs)