Balwinder Sandhu is a former Indian cricketer who helped India to lift the 1983 World Cup trophy. He was primarily a medium-fast bowler who can bat lower down the order. Originally, he was an inswing bowler but later added out-swing to his arsenal while playing in Kanga Cricket League.
Balwinder Sandhu was born on Friday, 3 August 1956 (age 65 years; as of 2021) in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra. His zodiac sign is Leo. He is a Masters of Arts and Economics. LinkedIn Corporation He completed his schooling at Guru Nanak Technical High School. He then attended Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Mumbai, Khalsa College & Jhunjhunwala College, and RN Jhunjhunwal College, Ghatkoper. Balwinder started playing cricket near his house during childhood. Near his house, there were no big grounds. But when he shifted to Nehru Nagar in Kurla, he saw the bigger ground and decided to play there. However, the ground was dirty so he decided to clean it up with his friends. After cleaning, they made a pitch in the center and started playing there. This started the rise of Balwinder’s interest in cricket. When he was 16 years old, he went to a summer vacation camp organized by the Bombay Cricket Association. Revealing further, he told,
“The only reason I went there was because all my friends were going, and I didn’t know what to do. I was good at tennis ball cricket and used to bowl off-spinners as well as bat very well. But I wasn’t interested in leather ball cricket and was a bit scared while batting. Baba Sidhaye was the coach at that time, and he was quite impressed by my bowling. Although I got selected, I wasn’t very serious for two-three years.”
It’s only after joining Jhunjhunwala College, he became serious in cricket and his performance improved drastically that instilled more passion in him. During that phase, he took 25 wickets in three matches. He learned the art of swing bowling during his time in Kanga Cricket League. It so happened that their team’s fast bowler hasn’t come so Balwinder decided to bowl pace. Though, he was getting wickets but was struggling on dry pitches. He started his cricket career late in 1980 when the former first-class cricketer Yeshwant ‘Baba’ Sidhaye spotted him during a summer training camp. Soon, he came under the watchful eye of famous cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar and spent a few years with him at ‘Shivaji Park’ maidan, Mumbai.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Harnam Singh Naz, and he was a renowned poet.
His mother’s name is Gurcharan Kaur.
Wife & Children
He is married to Ravinder Kaur.
The couple is blessed with two daughters whose names are Timrar Kaur ( Nazo) and Jankeesh Kaur.
Balwinder Sandhu resides in Neelkanth Gardens in Govandi near Chembur, Mumbai.
On 14 January 1983 against Pakistan at Niaz Cricket Stadium at Hyderabad in Pakistan
On 3 December 1982 against Pakistan at Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala in Pakistan
Highest score by a debutant at number 9 position in Test cricket
Not Outs- 4
Highest Score- 71
One Day Internationals
Not Outs- 3
Highest Score- 16
Ball Faced- 97
Strike Rate- 52.57
Runs Conceded- 557
Strike Rate- 102.0
One Day Internationals
Runs Conceded- 763
Strike Rate- 69.3
He made his first-class debut in 1980-81 for the Bombay team when their regular fast bowler Karsan Ghavri was out of the game as he was playing for the Indian national team. Balwinder was dropped out from the first two games but soon he made his debut against Gujarat where he took nine wickets. After that, he was kept out of the side to play the final against Delhi. At that time, Ravi Kulkarni left himself out at the last moment, and this made his way to the side where he took nine wickets. He was the opening bowler who helped Bombay to reduce Delhi to 18 for 5 at one stage. He ended with nine wickets in that match and 25 wickets at an average of 18.72 in the entire tournament. Before that tournament, he played Sind Sports Club at Kanga Cricket League in 1979 for Rajasthan. In the first match, he dismissed their four batters for 36 runs and helped his side to bowl out the United Cricketers team for 90 runs. In the next game, he took 7 for 35 against Shivaji Park Gymkhana. He made his entry to the Indian team after taking five wickets in the Irani Trophy and eight wickets in a Duleep Trophy for West Zone in the 1982-83 season. In that season, he also scored 56 runs batting at number 11 for West Zone.
As Madan Lal was opted out of the match due to a Heel Bone injury, Balwinder got the chance to play the fourth Test at Hyderabad where he took the wicket of Mohsin Khan and Haroon Rashid off the successive deliveries. However, Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar went for a record partnership of 451 runs. While batting, Balwinder then scored quick 71 runs while batting at number nine and had a vital partnership with Mohinder Amarnath. These 71 runs came at a time when India was 72 for 7. In the next test series against West Indies at Bridgetown, he made 68 runs in the first inning. Following that test, he took the wickets of three West Indian batters for just one run. In the 1983 World Cup, he had a 22 runs partnership for the tenth wicket along with Syed Kirmani and helped India to score 183 in the finals of the tournament against West Indies. In that inning, he was hit on his ears by a bouncer of Malcolm Marshall’s bowling. Remembering that moment, he told, Indian Express Limited
“It was like somebody had given me a hard slap. All I could feel was that my ears had become hot and that there was this whistling sound in my left ear. But I also knew one more thing – I had to show them I was feeling no pain. The moral victory had to be mine. I did not even rub the area that was hurting, I turned and faced Marshall as if nothing had happened.”
Further, he adds,
“West Indies knew I could be a stubborn No. 11. I was holding one end up and frustrating them. They wanted to get rid of me. Not only Marshall, but all of them were also digging it in at me. But that blow to the helmet made me even more stubborn. ‘Now I’ll show you!’ I thought.”
During West Indies’ batting, Balwinder Sandhu bowled the second over along with Kapil Dev and took the major wicket of Gordon Greenidge which set the tone for India’s victory. This delivery is also famously known as ‘banana skin delivery’. Rediff.com Revealing about this dismissal, he told
“Kapil Dev and I have a running argument on this. I keep telling him that the Richards wicket was the game-changing moment because of the crucial stage it came at. My ball to get Greenidge out gave us a foot in the door, but it was Kapil’s catch that opened the door for us. But the Greenidge wicket gave us hope, and the world lives on hope.”
He played his last Test against the West Indies on 12 November 1983 in Ahmedabad. He took a single wicket in their second inning with Kapil Dev taking all nine wickets for 83 runs. In 1984-85, he made 98 runs against Tamil Nadu and helped Bombay to take the first-innings lead in the Ranji semifinal. Post-retiring, he became the coach of Mumbai and Punjab. Besides this, he also worked with National Cricket Academy. In 1990, he played in the Kenyan club. After becoming a coach of Baroda, he made minor changes in Indian pacer Zaheer Khan’s run-up and helped his team to come at the top four in Ranji Trophy season. In 2008, he also became part of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) for some time.
- Cricketer: Kapil Dev
- Sports: Hockey, Badminton, Football
- Recalling his experience with Ramakant Achrekar, he told,
“When I was playing in Achrekar Sir’s team, he used to say, Tumhare paas inswing achha hai, usko develop karo,” [you have good inswing, you should develop it]. In matches organized by Sir, I used to bowl 20-25 overs in a game. That helped in my accuracy. Later on, I came to know that Achrekar Sir had given instruction to all the captains, “Ye Sardar ki bowling band nahin karne ki. Jab tak isko maar nahin padti ya ye thak nahin jaata,” [Don’t stop this Sardar’s bowling till he is hit for runs or he tires out]”
- He authored a book named ‘The Devil’s Pack’ which was published on 1 February 2011. This book is about India’s journey in winning the 1983 Cricket World Cup.
- There is a Bollywood movie released on 24 December 2021 that embarks India’s journey towards winning the 1983 World Cup. The name of this movie is ’83’ and Ammy Virk is playing the role of Balwinder Sandhu.
- His uncle Harcharan Singh was part of the Indian squad in the 1975 Hockey World Cup.
- Revealing some memorable moments in the 1983 World Cup, he told,
“This is one incident that is still fresh in my mind. I was fielding on the boundary line during the final and there was this West Indies fan who was telling me that India can’t win the World Cup, West Indies will win the World Cup. When I got the first wicket, he again started taunting me saying, ‘India can’t win the World Cup; West Indies will win the World Cup. Wanna bet man?’ He kept on repeating those lines throughout the game even though the West Indies were losing wickets regularly. Even after they were nine down, he kept supporting his team. I think that is the kind of support each team would like to have and that is something I cannot forget. That is the West Indies spirit; they enjoy good cricket, they cheer good cricket and they love their team and cricketing heroes even if they fail at times.”