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India can do it again, says Kapil

He was the man in charge of the 'Devils' in 1983. Twenty years later, he is at hand to watch the crowning of perhaps, the next set of world champions from India.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2003 16:13 IST

He was the man in charge of the 'Devils' in 1983, the only time India were world champions. Twenty years later, he is at hand to watch the crowning of perhaps, the next set of world champions from India.

Nobody in India can probably describe what goes on in a player's mind 24 hours World Cup final better. We caught up with Kapil Dev for an informal chat and here is what he had to say.

Will the Indians be able to do it again?

Why not? I think they will are definitely in with a chance.

The Aussies are playing well but the Indians too have played exceptional cricket. I have been very happy watching their performance on the field.

But the Aussies are the team to beat in this World Cup and we lost quite comprehensively to them in the league stage.

Yes, but after that match, we were just unbeatable, winning eight matches on the trot. This Indian team has been superb in all departments of the game. In 1983, who believed we could beat the mighty West Indians and prevent them from a hat-trick of World Cup wins? Most believed the Cup was theirs for the taking. So, what I'm trying to say, is that even big teams have that odd bad day on the field. How can you guarantee that March 23 will not be a bad day for Ponting and co? Potentially, this Indian team has the fire to win the Cup.

Tell us something about June 25, 1983.

My request is, look at the future. June 25 is history. This World Cup is such an eventful tournament. Let's talk only about now.

One thing. Was there any particular contribution from a specific player --- say Mohinder Amarnath, the Man of the Match in the semi-final and final - that you can recall?

We played as a team then. I'll be doing an injustice to the others if I mention only one cricketer's contributions. Roger Binny, Madan Lal, Sandeep Patil, Kirti Azad, Yashpal Sharma, Syed Kirmani --- all of them were equally important and won us matches on their own. For becoming champion, every win counts.

What are the pluses for India as they look to this final?

Firstly, the Aussies are not batting well at all. You can't expect that they will suddenly bat better in the final. Secondly, I can assure you that our bowlers are doing a fantastic job. We did so in 1983 too and won the match by 40 runs even after being all out for 183.

Yes, the all-rounders bowled superbly.

This time, too, the all-rounders are making the difference. Rahul is keeping steadily and his batting is always a big plus. Sachin, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Mongia --- all of them are bowling. Even the skipper had three wickets in the Zimbabwe match. So, it's the dual role of so many cricketers that have helped them get to the finals.

Sourav's team beat Kenya in the semis while you'd beaten a strong England side, the hosts.

If I can correctly recall, we too won that match by six wickets. I know how it feels to be in a World Cup final and I am sure that Sourav's boys will be feeling quite the same way. It's at this time that the tension begins creeping in. We were very tense too. They have to believe that they can do it. Self-belief is the single most important factor. This team can play well under pressure. That makes me believe they will repeat 1983 here on Sunday.

Frankly, did you expect this team to get this far?

When the team came back from New Zealand, I was the one who told Indian fans to be with them. To me, the failure of New Zealand was a blessing in disguise. It's been an amazing turnaround.

The West Indies were the world champions then, the Aussies are defending champions now. Are there any other similarities?

The Caribbeans were not just world champions, they were unstoppable. Just look at the names that made up Lloyd's team.

It's almost the same scenario. But the West Indies lost one match in the '83 tournament, we'd beaten them in the very first group league match. These Aussies are yet to lose a match.

Have you spoken to Sourav?

No, actually, I tried but didn't get him in his room. But I've spoken to Dravid and Kaif.

First Published: Mar 23, 2003 00:16 IST