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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014
'83 was special, but this goes beyond that
Javagal Srinath
April 04, 2011
First Published: 23:39 IST(4/4/2011)
Last Updated: 23:43 IST(4/4/2011)
Year 1983: India creates its most-talked about historic moment in cricket. The Indian team under the spirited leadership of Kapil Dev drub West Indies to win the coveted World Cup.

A country like us needs such events and results. By not only conducting the World Cup in a perfect manner, but also winning it, India have put themselves on the world map. Right from security to travel arrangements to logistics, the tournament was a huge success for the ICC. The Cup caught the imagination even more because of India's fantastic performance.

Jinx broken
India broke the jinx of a host nation not winning the title in commanding fashion. To chase under lights is always tough, especially in a final, but I was delighted to see the calm manner in which India pulled off the highest successful chase in a World Cup final.

When a team is confident of victory, it shouldn't be bothered whether it is batting first or second, or whether it has won the toss or not. India didn't allow themselves to be flustered by extraneous factors, which was an emphatic statement of intent.

It will be unfair to compare the deeds of this team to the team of 1983, but comparisons will inevitably be drawn. To be an underdog and spring a surprise is one thing, but to come in to a tournament as hot favourites and justify the tag is something else. That's why this win is more special than the one 28 years back.

Incomparable MSD
Without a shadow of doubt, Dhoni has established himself as the number one captain India have produced. This is not because he has produced the results. He is the only captain to have led his team to World Cup wins in the 50-over and T20 formats, and he has also marshalled India's climb to the number one spot in Test cricket.

Equally significant is the way he has handled and managed the players. There are a lot of former captains playing under him, but he has carried them splendidly. Several players made their debut long before Dhoni arrived on the scene in 2004. To have earned the confidence and respect of the seniors means his man-management skills are excellent.
Indian cricket history is replete with instances of captaincy tearing the team apart.

Players have pulled in different directions and pulled the team down, but this team has evolved into a more mature unit. This is not just because of Dhoni, but also because of the others helping him make the team into a formidable one.

This one's for Sachin
In the last couple of days, every player has dedicated the victory to Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin's early dismissal in the final allowed the others the opportunity to achieve a World Cup victory for him, and that's what they did. Irrespective of the numbers he will achieve in Test and one-day cricket, he would have been half the cricketer had he retired without a World Cup winner's medal.

Quiet performer
Gary Kirsten has been a wonderful influence. He has traits similar to John Wright, and Kirsten took over when the team was desperate for someone like John - a quiet performer who worked behind the scenes, without fuss. I can't remember reading a single interview given by Kirsten, and that's how it should be.

Given the talent at his disposal, Kirsten didn't need to be a coach as such, more a facilitator helping the seniors give off their best and teaching the youngsters how and what to learn from the established stars. Having gone out on a high, he can expect many more professional doors to open in the future. Finally, the moment is upon us. We are the World Cup champions, and my thanks to the India team for realising our dreams!

Hawkeye


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