28 years ago.
27 years, 9 months and 7 days ago to be precise.
I wasn’t even born then. That was the day India had won the Cricket World Cup for the first time. I’ve been told that was a day when the whole nation celebrated as one. Hmmm, quite a feat for a nation that is as varied and as divided as ours. I could only imagine those scenes.
Sure enough, I’ve seen umpteen times Mohinder Amarnath taking the last Windies wicket at the Lord’s and running for his life. Felt proud and all that, yeah. But lacked the real joy. Since then have seen many Cups come and go without delivering the joy.
1992- I was too young to follow cricket.
1996- My first memories of cricket. Remember breaking everything after the Indian loss in SF.
1999- Boring WC with no real memories except for Sourav’s 100 against Sri Lanka and Sachin’s against Kenya.
2003- The closest I got to experience joy. Couldn’t believe what happened in the final.
2007- The less talked about it the better.
2011- The Indian were billed as favourites, but the question was would they live up to the billing? The biggest drawback in my opinion was a captain who rides on luck. But I didn’t care as long as we won the cup. This cup. The cup that counts. Not for me. But for Sachin Tendulkar. I can see the team attempting and failing to win for many years. But the guy had just one last shot to win the coveted trophy. The man has done a lot for the nation for 21 years. Can’t the team just play to its potential and win the Cup?
And after 42 days of intense (and here-and-there boring) cricket, the Cup was won. On the way, we saw a genius knock from Viru, sensational bowling from Zaheer, match-winning performances from Yuvraj, the Master himself helping to a couple of centuries, Ashish and Munaf and getting buried and rise, Piyush’s pathetic attempt at bowling leg-spin, the middle-order of Gambhir, Kohli and Raina holding fort etc. And not to be forgotten, finally a captain’s knock from Dhoni.
In 1996 I cried. In 2011 I cried. The ones who I shed tears for were same. The opponent was same. The difference was in the emotion.
Thank You Team India.