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Getting high on Bacchus

india Updated: Jun 25, 2008 00:25 IST
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I had toured England a couple of times before the 1983 World Cup and that had given me an insight into the conditions. I did not make any special preparations before the tournament, except for working on getting up as late as possible.

Once the ball pitches, the wicketkeeper gets an idea on how the ball will behave. But in England, it is difficult to judge how much the ball will swing after pitching. The key was to move as late as possible.

One can call it luck or the outcome of the hard work I had put in during my formative years that the World Cup performance was one of my best. The wicketkeeper's task is also to be the eyes and ears of the captain as he is in the best position to read the game. I am happy I played the role to perfection.

Though every scalp I earned is close to my heart, the two I vividly remember are the catches of David Gower in the semifinal and Faoud Bacchus in the final.

(Sunil) Gavaskar always stood between first and second slip, so when Gower nicked the ball I knew I had to go for it and timed my dive perfectly.

The second dismissal was even more important as we had managed only 183 and any missed chance could have spelt doom to our chances to winning the title. Balwinder Sandhu's out-swinger foxed Bacchus and by the time I reacted it was going away from me. I leapt to my right and the ball stuck between the fingers.

The other match very close to my heart is the first league game against Zimbabwe. I created the then world record of claiming five scalps and I am proud to be the first wicketkeeper to achieve the milestone.