Jun 25, 2008

Bottle of Champagne in my Kitbag - Kapil Dev

If 1983 is ever mentioned in passing, whether in connection with a birthday, anniversary or graduation, my mind goes back to only one event — the World Cup! It seems that only a few years have passed since that amazing day, but unbelievably, twenty-five years have gone by. As individuals, we are so much more mature now and have opened up a lot. But back in 1983, we could not share as much with each other as we can today.
Those three weeks in June were the golden period of my life and will always remain so. The mere fact that Sunil Gavaskar has organized a celebration goes to show how much it means to each of us even today. We want to be together to celebrate.
When we began the tournament, all we had was enthusiasm and optimism and decided to take a step at a time, with the initial target being to reach the semifinals. What turned out to be a blessing was the fact that we were coming off a tour of the West Indies, and what’s more, had beaten them in the series. It was the first time they had lost to a visiting team on home soil. In the opening match of the World Cup, we again beat the West Indies, which was a tremendous confidence booster. From there on, we went match by match and the rest is history.
On the morning of the final I told myself, whatever the result, we must celebrate. We were the underdogs and no one had expected us to reach the final, but we proved everyone wrong. Though the desire to win was overwhelming, the fact that we were pitted against the two-time world champions was larger-than-life. Irrespective of the outcome, we were already winners and I had put a bottle of champagne in my kitbag.
There are few memories that are firmly entrenched in my mind — Balwinder Singh Sandhu getting Gordon Greenidge, Sandeep Patil’s four fours against Bob Willis at Old Trafford, Srikkanth square driving Garner at Lord’s, and the most memorable of them all, umpire Dickie Bird raising his finger to declare Michael Holding leg before.
I am glad to see that our team of 1983 is in good health and each member has done well for himself in the last 25 years. God willing, we should be together for the golden jubilee celebration as well.

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