Madan Lal is a former international cricketer who has played for India as an allrounder from 1974 to 1987. He was involved in many famous wins for India. The highlight of his career was the three wickets which, he took against Windies in the 1983 World Cup finals.
Madan Lal was born on Tuesday, 20 March 1951 (age 70 years; as of 2021) in Amritsar, Punjab. His zodiac sign is Pisces. His interest in cricket rose when he was a child. The first bat which he owned was a washing cloth paddle. He completed his schooling at P.B.N. School, Amritsar. Then he took admission to Hindu College, Amritsar from where he completed his further studies. He played his first major tournament for Punjab in 1968-69 in a Ranji match against Jammu & Kashmir where he took eight wickets. After shifting from Punjab to Delhi, he got selected in the North Zone team in Duleep Trophy. In 1974, he made his international debut against England. He then represented India in the 1975 World Cup where his performance was below average. Due to the emergence of Kapil Dev in 1978, he became an unstable member of the side.
However, he didn’t give up and focussed on domestic cricket and performed well, and got his place on the Indian side as a permanent member. In the 1983 World Cup, he played a crucial role by taking 17 wickets and taking India to their maiden World Cup title.
In the 1985 World Series, he took seven wickets with an economy of 3.34. He retired from international cricket in 1987 after a home series against Pakistan. Post-retirement, he played several roles for the team as a coach, selector, and politician.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Natural Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Udho Ram and he was a confectioner.
His mother’s name is unknown.
Wife & Children
He is married to Anu Mohan.
The couple is blessed with one son and one daughter. His son’s name is Kunal Lal and his daughter’s name is Kanika.
His son is married to Sonali.
On 13 July 1974 against England at Yorkshire Cricket Ground in Leeds, England
On 6 July 1974 against England at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester, England
Not Outs- 16
Not Outs- 14
Highest Score- 53*
Balls Faced- 645
Strike Rate- 62.17
Runs Conceded- 2846
Strike Rate- 84.4
Runs Conceded- 2137
Strike Rate- 43.3
He made his Ranji Debut in his teenage in 1968-69 where he took eight wickets in his third match against Jammu & Kashmir while playing for Punjab. In 1971-72 against Delhi, he finished with a match figure of 5 for 73. He then played an unofficial test match against Sri Lanka where he took 10 for 102 runs. This spell was enough for him to bag a place in the Indian side. In 1974, he played his first international match against England. Before that test match, he played a practice game against Worcestershire and took 7 wickets for 95 runs. The first bowler whom he faced in international cricket was Mike Hendrick. Mike Hendrick dismissal Madan in an unusual fashion. His ball was bowled outside off-stump that spun back towards off-stump and then after brushing the middle stump, it went back to knock the leg-stump. He got out on golden duck and India got whitewashed 3-0. Considering that performance, he was omitted from the team in the first two test matches against West Indies at home. India having been defeated from Windies in the first two test matches, the captain was having no option but to pick Madan in the playing eleven. This match was held at Calcutta (now Kolkata).
He scored 48 runs in that test which include ten boundaries. India was all out for 233 runs. While India came out to bowl, captain Tiger Pataudi handed over the ball to Madan Lal. He dismissed their star batter Gordon Greenidge and Alvin Kallicharran and ended his spell with 4 for 22. In the second inning, he dismissed Vivian Richards and helped India to win this match. In the next test, he couldn’t take any wicket and was omitted from the fifth test which West Indies won. He was then picked in the 1975 World Cup due to his all-round performances in the past. In that World Cup, he bowled the first ball ever in any Cricket World Cup. He couldn’t perform as per expectations and managed to take only three wickets; that too against a weak East African side. In the next season, he dismissed five batters of New Zealand at Christchurch. Till that time, he was recognized more with the bat than with the ball. In the 1977-78 tour of Australia, he took 5 for 72 in Australia’s second inning. Due to the emergence of Kapil Dev in international cricket in 1978, it was getting difficult for Madan to stabilize his position in the Indian team. As Kapil Dev has filled the slot of one fast bowler in the team, for the second place, the selectors have to decide between Karsan Ghavri and Madan Lal. They then went for Karsan Ghavri and Madan Lal was left out from the squad for four years-a span where he missed 35 test matches. Then he went to domestic cricket to hone his skills and to play league cricket for Enfield. In 1977-78, he scored 223 runs against Rajasthan. In 1978, Delhi went on to win the match against Karnataka after Madan Lal finished with the match-winning spell of 8 for 80. In 1980, he took 9 for 31 and 4 for 33 against Haryana. With the help of this spell, Delhi won the Ranji title. With the bat, he scored 506 runs at 46.00 and 517 runs at 47.00 and took 35 wickets at 18.40 and 52 wickets at 14.57. He then played a home series against England where he finished with 5 for 23 at Bombay and 5 for 85 at Delhi. Due to this performance, he was selected for the 1983 World Cup to open the bowling with Kapil Dev.
India’s first match was against West Indies, Madan Lal scored valuable 21 runs and took one wicket. His all-round performance helped India to win the match by a narrow margin. In the next match, he took 3 for 27 against Zimbabwe. He then held a partnership for the eighth wicket with Kapil Dev of 62 runs and later 3 for 42 against the same team. India’s last league stage match was against Australia at Chelmsford.
The winner will meet England in the semis. India scored 247 runs while batting first. In reply, India required something from their bowlers. Madan Lal took 4 wickets for 20 runs and defeated Australia by 118 runs. India entered the finals after winning the semi-finals against England. In the final, they would be facing the Windies. In the finals, West Indies required 184 runs to win. They were on one stage 50 for one. Then Madan came on to bowl and took wickets of Desmond Haynes and Vivian Richards in quick succession. Madan bowled a bit short, Vivian tried a hook shot towards square leg. Kapil Dev from mid-wicket ran a long-distance backward to take one of the most famous catches in Indian cricket history.
But Madan didn’t stop here, he took one more wicket of Larry Gomes and the Windies were 66 for four. West Indies got all our for 140 runs. Madan was the second wicket-taker for India with 17 wickets after Roger Binny. Following that historic World Cup, his form dipped a bit that followed. However, in an unofficial day and night match at Delhi, India needed 198 runs to win while the team was 101 runs for 7 wickets at one stage. Madan then held an eighth-wicket partnership with Kirti Azad and took India to an emphatic win. After that match, due to his poor form, he became an irregular member of the side. For the 1985 World Series, Sunil Gavaskar was made the captain of the Indian team and he insisted on picking Madan Lal. Madan picked seven wickets with a bowling average of 16.57 with an economy of 3.34. India’s next match was at Sharjah where he took three wickets with an economy of 3.23.
As his career was on a verge of getting over, he focussed on league cricket in the Lancashire League in 1986. As Chetan Sharma got injured in the first Test at Lord’s, Madan Lal was included in the squad for the second Test at Headingley.
He made a crucial 20 adding 54 runs for the ninth wicket with Kiran More. He then opened the bowling with Kapil Dev and took three wickets for 31 runs in 11.1 overs. This test match turned out to be Madan’s last test match. He scored 22 runs in the second inning and helped India to win the series 279 runs. However, he played a few ODIs after that and ended his career with the home series against Pakistan in 1986-87. Post retiring from all forms of cricket, he became the coach of the UAE team in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. He also then remained the coach of the Indian cricket team for a brief period from September 1996 to September 1997 and the India A team. From 2000 to 2001, he became a member of the Selection Committee. Later, when the Indian Cricket League (ICL) started, he became the coach of the Delhi Giants until 2008 when ICL was replaced by IPL (Indian Premier League). Post that, he opened his own cricket academy in Siri Fort Sports Complex, Delhi, and in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand. Talking about that coaching academies, he told,
“I have a passion for coaching. I believe in character building. The stronger the character, the better you are as a player.”
“Cricketer of the Year” award by the Government of India in 1976
He came to New Delhi in 1972 with just a train ticket in his pocket. After that, he did a job in the State Bank of India (SBI) in Lajpat Nagar. Till that time, he remained in his friend’s house for several months. He always had a tough time facing the tough weather in Delhi. Recalling that time, he said
“The city did not suit me. I would fall ill frequently. So I went back to Amritsar but returned after two months. I wanted to fight and make my place.”
He further added,
“I shared a room with another cricketer [Jasbir Singh] in Mohan Nagar Sports Complex, and we’d travel to Delhi on a Yezdi, or sometimes by train. I struggled a lot.”
His first car was a Fiat which he bought in 1983 through the savings he earned through various sources like whitewashing (when playing club cricket in England), working part-time at a central heating company, washing and ironing clothes, cooking, etc.
Talking about his batting weaknesses, he said,
“As a batsman, I struggled with short-pitched deliveries. I was not scared of the rising deliveries but had technical flaws. When I went to my coach, Gyan Prakash, in Amritsar, he sorted it out quickly. By the time I made a comeback to the Indian team, I had slipped from 6 to 8 in the batting order. I realized the delay cost me a lot.”
In March 2009, he went into politics after joining Congress to become the candidate for the Hamirpur Parliamentary constituency bye-elections in Himachal Pradesh against Anurag Thakur, son of BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal.
In April 2013, he featured on a crime show named Hum Ne Li Hai- Shapath telecasted on Life OK at 9 pm.
On 24 December 2021, a Bollywood movie named ’83’ was released where Harrdy Sandhu has played the role of Madan Lal.