The Unique Journey of the Indian Cricketer Who Became a World Champion Without Playing a Single World Cup Game



Sunil Valson was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian squad but did not play in any games.

The Indian cricket team has won the ODI World Cup twice – in 1983 and 2011. Both times, the BCCI sent 15 players. In 2011, under MS Dhoni’s leadership, all 15 players were used. However, in 1983, when Kapil’s Devils secured India’s first world title, only 14 of the 15 players were used. One individual became a world champion without playing a single match for India.

The man who was a world champion without ever playing for India

Sunil Valson, a fast medium bowler from Delhi, made his Ranji Trophy debut in the late-70s. After performing well in the 1982-83 domestic cricket season, he was selected for the World Cup squad in England as a backup seamer. But the strong performances of Kapil Dev, Roger Binny, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, and Madan Lal, along with the all-round performances of Mohinder Amarnath, meant Valson watched the entire campaign from the sidelines.

Sunil Valson’s career after the 1983 World Cup

After the World Cup, Valson was not selected for the next series as India did not need extra seam bowlers at home. Despite continuing to play in Ranji Trophy and Deodhar Trophy for Delhi, he never came close to national selection. In 1987, he joined Railways and was part of the team that reached the Ranji Trophy final. This marked the end of his professional cricket career at the age of 29.

What does Sunil Valson do today?

After retiring from cricket, Sunil Valson worked with Railways and was appointed the manager of Delhi Capitals in the IPL in 2016. He also served as an advisor for the 2021 film “83,” directed by Kabir Khan, which portrayed India’s triumph at the 1983 World Cup. In the film, actor R Badree portrayed Valson.