Whenever I talk or write about the 1983 World Cup, the numerous emotions we went through come rushing in. Such an experience comes once in a blue moon in a sportsperson’s life and I am grateful to have been part of such an incredible journey.
Kapil Dev lifting the Cup at Lord’s was the pinnacle of the journey that we started against the West Indies a fortnight back and capped off with an incredible win over the same opponents in the final.
Despite our confidence at an all-time high going into the final, we were not the favourites to win the title against a team that had won the last two World Cups and was considered the best in the world at that time.
I remember the start of the match when we were put in to bat on a damp wicket. We all knew batting was going to be difficult with the West Indies pace battery ready to blast us off.
I walked up to Jimmy (Mohinder Amarnath) and asked him how to go about the task as I knew it would be difficult to hang on for a long time.
Jimmy told me to just swing my bat to any ball outside the line of the stumps and the ploy worked.
One of the square drives I hit of Andy Roberts early on in the innings went to the point boundary with such speed and force that a smile comes to my lips even now when I think about the stroke.
That shot remains one of my best and it gave me the confidence to score some invaluable runs. The 38 I scored was the highest individual score and proved how difficult the pitch was to bat on.
We did well to reach 183 and when Balwinder Singh Sandhu sent Gordon Greenidge back, there was a ray of hope.
One big partnership could take the game away from us and when Viv Richards began his onslaught it looked like we were fighting a losing battle.
Kapil once again came to the rescue.
The catch he took running back changed the complexion of the match.
To me it was the defining moment and gave our drooping shoulders the much-needed support and there was a new spring in our steps. Jimmy then packed off the West Indies lower order to trigger off celebrations.
It was champagne time and when I returned to Chennai, the response was overwhelming.
I was the only player from the city in the squad and the reception I got still make my eyes wet.