It was the day of the underdogs and cricket embarked on its Oriental exploration on June 22, 1983; the historic culmination happened three days later at Lord’s, but the journey started here at Old Trafford… There can be a debate about the turning point in Indian cricket history – the semi-final or the final of the 1983 Prudential World Cup – but at least one Old Trafford veteran thinks the rewriting of history started here when India beat favourites England in the semi-finals. “Overwhelming favourites,” Graeme Fowler reminds one on the eve of India’s second World Cup semi-final at the same venue. “Historically, that was the turning point. I don’t think we wanted it that way, but it happened,” Fowler (62), a former England opener, confesses to Mirror. “We contributed to the emergence of a great cricketing nation.” Fowler takes the blame Fowler was 26 at that time and he takes upon himself all the blame for England’s shock defeat against Kapil’s Devils. “It was a very poor wicket and that was my home ground. I knew I had to play well on it. If I scored runs, it would have been OK. Unfortunately, I did not,” the left-handed batsman starts his journey down memory lane. “I knew I had to put in a good score. I knew I was responsible for it because I understood the wicket. Because I got runs previously. If I had got 70-80, we would have had a winning score. I knew if I got out, which I did, the rest of the batsmen would struggle.” Incidentally, Fowler was the highest scorer for England with 33. He and his opening partner Chris Tavare put on 69 for the first wicket. It was not a bad start. “If we had made a bigger score, it would have made it far more awkward for India. The start was not enough, I needed to go and get a big score,” he continues cursing himself. “We were shell-shocked. We expected to win, we could not believe we made such a mess of it.” England won the toss, chose to bat and managed only 213. “It was not enough. Because it was a 60-over game. Once you know what you are chasing, it makes it a lot easier. They (India) batted sensibly. If we had beaten India, I reckon we would have won the tournament,” he says, talking of the “historic” miss. India won the game comfortably, by six wickets with 32 balls to spare. Fowler says the pitch of 2019 is a lot different. “The Old Trafford in 1983 was slow and low, horrible to bat on. You had to be used to it. It was the most disappointing thing in my career. I knew at that time I had to do it and I did not. Shortly after that they dug all the wickets and re-laid the pitches, which are quick and bouncy. “The wicket today is a lot better. It is a good one-day pitch, both India and New Zealand are incredibly good sides. I think it really comes down to who does the best on the day. I hope both teams play well so that we can have a good match.” There has been a debate over the wicket of today as well and recent records have shown that batting first is a huge advantage. But Fowler, who played for Lancashire for 15 years, sees nothing wrong. “That seems to be the way, and I think it is because some of the first-innings totals have been massive. They are putting a lot of stress on the side batting second. I don’t think it is anything to do with the wicket. It’s the mentality of the day.” Fowler hopes for an India-England final and thinks England are a formidable side. “If you look at the England squad, every single player is a match-winner. You don’t see that in the Indian side. There are three or four key players. (Jasprit) Bumrah is unbelievable, Virat Kohli, we know, is an incredible player and Rohit (Sharma) at the top. I think if two or three of your players fail, the others won’t be able to step up. To me, the best final should be England vs India, but that is out of my control.” How that match panned out Winning the toss and batting first, England started well before Roger Binny put brakes on the hosts’ surge. The run-out of in-form Allan Lamb contributed to England’s woes and they were all out for 213 in exactly 60 overs. India responded with a 46-run stand up front between Sunil Gavaskar (25) and Kris Srikkanth (19). Mohinder Amarnath (46), Yashpal Sharma (61) and Sandeep Patil (51not out) completed the victory and India went on to create history by winning the final against West Indies three days later.