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Lata Mangeshkar raised money for India’s 1983 World Cup winners: Dilip Vengsarkar recalls her cricket craze

"Lata didi had a house near the Lord's cricket ground. After I scored my third century at Lord's (in 1986), she invited four or five of us to her home for a sumptuous lunch," Vengsarkar said.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
February 6, 2022 2:04:17 pm
Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital houses Lata’s personal collection of awards and gifts. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)

When ‘Kapil’s Devils’ won the 1983 cricket World Cup beating the mighty West Indies at Lord’s, among the scores of jubilant Indian supporters at the venue was a special fan whose presence took even the team by surprise.

“Lata didi (Lata Mangeshkar) also came to congratulate us… And we were all surprised to find her among the crazy fans,” former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar told The Indian Express, underlining her love for cricket, soon after the legendary singer passed away on Sunday morning, aged 92.

However, more surprises awaited the team on its return to India. “After our World Cup victory, the cricket board announced Rs 25,000 prize money for each player. Lata didi was apparently taken aback by this (low sum). After our return to the country, she organised a fundraising musical concert for us (in Delhi) and awarded Rs 1 lakh to each player in the team. It was a big sum during that time and bigger than what the board had offered us,” said Vengsarkar.

Vengsarkar recalled another incident that spoke of her passion for cricket. “Lata didi had a house near the Lord’s cricket ground. After I scored my third century at Lord’s (in 1986), she invited four or five of us to her home for a sumptuous lunch,” Vengsarkar said.

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Mangeshkar was a brilliant cook too, attests Vengsarkar. “She prepared Kolhapuri style mutton and gajar ka halwa. It was then we got to know that she was an excellent cook as well as a host,” said Vengsarkar.

In 1979, after India beat Pakistan in Mumbai, Mangeshkar personally came to congratulate the team, said Vengsarkar.

“Lata didi was crazy about cricket, especially Test cricket. She used to come to watch matches in Mumbai regularly. Of late, because of age, she could not make it to the venues, which she often regretted. Her photo gallery at her home has pictures of several cricketers of the past,” said Vengsarkar.

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