India are World Cup winners again! I consider myself privileged to have been at the Wankhede to witness both the brilliant manner in which victory was achieved, and the outpouring of emotion in the dressing room, where I spent some ten minutes with the boys.
I felt a sense of belonging with the team as I stepped into the dressing room. It was as if I too was part of the side. The fans’ emotional response showed just what this means to every Indian. It has brought people closer.
I am particularly delighted for Sachin, because I know how much it means to him to be a part of a World Cup-winning side. This was always going to be our best opportunity simply because of the quality of individuals we have in this team.
They have not depended on one or two individuals. They know that even if some key men do not deliver, there are others that can get the job done.
Watching from the ground, at no stage did I get the feeling that India might lose, even though there was confusion at the toss and no team had won a World Cup at home. To battle these odds and win in the manner India did was a massive statement. Mahela made a brilliant hundred, and wasn't troubled by any of the bowlers. India's victory was fashioned by several players, everyone contributing at different stages.
Victory in the 1983 World Cup inspired a lot of Indians, and I believe this win will, too. It will inspire youngsters to take up the game and see what it takes to be number one. In 1983, and in the World T20 in 2007, no one had given us a ghost of a chance. This time, the team began the tournament as favourites, and ended it in style. The team was most watched, most analysed by all and sundry, except the 15 members who formed the squad. That alone should make it the most cherished triumph! HAWKEYE