Sunil Valson, a fast-medium bowler from Delhi, holds a unique distinction in the history of Indian cricket. Despite not playing a single game in the 1983 ODI World Cup, where India secured its first world title, he earned the right to be called a world champion.
Valson’s cricket journey began in the late ’70s when he made his debut in the Ranji Trophy. His selection in the 1983 World Cup squad was based on his performances in the 1982-83 domestic season. The selectors deemed it necessary to have a backup seamer alongside Kapil Dev, Roger Binny, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, and Madan Lal, considering the English conditions. However, the strong performances of the initial four and the all-round brilliance of Mohinder Amarnath left no room for Valson to make an appearance in the tournament.
Post the 1983 World Cup, India’s series were held at home where extra seam bowlers weren’t needed, and Valson wasn’t selected. Despite continuing to play in the Ranji Trophy and Deodhar Trophy for Delhi, he never came close to national selection. At the age of 24, Valson shifted to Railways in 1987 and was part of the team that reached the Ranji Trophy final in his final season of professional cricket at 29.
After retiring from cricket, Valson worked with Railways. In 2016, he took on the role of manager for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL. Additionally, he played a significant advisory role in the 2021 Hindi film “83,” directed by Kabir Khan. The film portrayed India’s victory in the 1983 World Cup, with actor R Badree portraying Sunil Valson. Today, Valson continues to contribute to the world of cricket, both through his managerial role and his involvement in projects that celebrate India’s cricketing history.