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'83 team catalyst of change

The memories of June 25, 1983 are so fresh in my mind that it seems we won the World Cup only the other day, writes Ravi Shastri.

cricket Updated: Jun 25, 2008 00:12 IST

The memories of June 25, 1983 are so fresh in my mind that it seems we won the World Cup only the other day. But it has been 25 years to that day and as we celebrate the silver jubilee of our achievement, it gives me a sense of pride to have been a part of the historic journey.

Everyone talks about the celebrations and euphoria that engulfed the nation after we lifted the World Cup, but for me it was a defining moment that changed the face of Indian cricket. Cricket is today considered a religion in the country and the contribution of the 1983 team towards this transformation is invaluable.

Not many were willing to put money on us when we started the campaign but I was one of those who believed we had the potential to spring a few surprises given the form we had shown in the series against the West Indies in the run-up to the tournament.

The first game of any event is crucial and I am happy I could play an important role in the win over the defending champions. I took three of the last four wickets and since then I had a feeling we could go all the way. The seamers took on from there and one can’t forget Roger and Madan’s contribution in taking India that far. Both bowled their hearts out and were the leading wicket-takers of the event. They were well supported by Sandhu. In any campaign, there are certain incidents that go on to boost your confidence every time there is a low. Kapil Dev's 175 against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells proved to be that catalyst and since then we never went into any match thinking we were underdogs. The semifinal and final undoubtedly belonged to the fighting Jimmy. He played a pivotal role in both the games and the entire team rallied around him.

The World Cup campaign was an excellent example of what team spirit and determination could do.