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Bonding formed essence of triumph

I am very proud to have been a part of this Indian team where each member was a vital cog, writes PR Mansingh.

cricket Updated: Jun 25, 2008 00:03 IST

Before our departure on June 1, 1983, a sports correspondent of All India Radio asked me what our chances were. I said if this team did not figure in the World Cup semifinals, then no Indian team ever would.

After the squad reached England and the players playing there joined us, we had our first team meeting in which Kapil Dev impressed on the team that he expected every player to give his best on the field.

I said while the captain, vice-captain and other senior members would look after the cricketing aspect, I would make sure everything was taken care of off the field and that the players should treat me as a big brother rather than a boss appointed by the BCCI. There was a sense of bonding and this was the essence of our World Cup win.

Winning the final was something that has not happened again in the last 25 years. As soon as the team came into the dressing room after the last West Indian wicket had fallen, Kirti Azad and I hugged each other and cried. Our joy knew no bounds.

While we were celebrating our win, I approached Clive Lloyd and invited him and his players to join us for a drink. It was sporting on their part to come. Then came a knock on the door and I found Ted Dexter, the former England captain, standing with two huge champagne bottles. It was meant to be a prize for the highest wicket partnership between Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath.

Godfrey Evans, the legendary English wicketkeeper, followed with a silver trophy in the shape of a wicket-keeping glove and a bottle of Gordons Gin for Syed Kirmani for being the best wicketkeeper on view.

At the team hotel, situated opposite Lord's, there was bhangra and people drank to their heart's content. Within an hour the hotel's bar went dry but our supporters went out and got more liquor.

Soon after the Prudential Cup had been presented to us, it was taken away. When I asked for it, the authorities refused. After a lot of persuasion they agreed to part with it if we executed a bond for 65,000 pounds. The bond was to be destroyed on the trophy's return from India.

I remember every moment of the tour as if it had occurred only yesterday.

I am very proud to have been a part of this Indian team where each member was a vital cog.