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From the Colonel: Tales Between Two Titles

Source: PTI
October 24, 2023 17:05 IST
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IMAGE: Dilip Vengsarkar with Sachin Tendulkar and Krishnamachari Srikkanth during the first Test match between India and New Zealand in Kanpur on September 22, 2016. Photograph: BCCI

Former India batter Dilip Vengsarkar reminisced that living up to the tag of champions was as much or, perhaps, an even tougher task for the 1983 World Cup winning squad.


Vengsarkar had played just two matches in that Prudential Cup in England, but remains proud of the triumph, which he termed the result of ultimate team work.

"It was extremely difficult, and we went into the tournament without having any real chances (to win). But then we emerged champions, and immediately after that we hosted West Indies at home.

"They came prepared and dominated us, winning the Test and ODI series. The domination started with the first Test at Kanpur (West Indies won by an innings and 83 runs).

"In the ODI at Jamshedpur, (Gordon) Greenidge and (Viv) Richards were competing against each other to hit the ball longer as we just watched," said Vengsarkar during the launch of the book The Lords of the Wankhede -- Tales Between Two Titles, co-authored by former India batter W V Raman and veteran cricket writer R Kaushik.

Greenidge (115 off 134 balls) and Richards (149 off 99 balls) made hundreds as Windies posted 333/8 in 45 overs, and won the 4th ODI by 104 runs.

Vengsarkar said it was a new experience for the whole team to go into the 1987 World Cup at home as favourites.

"It was a surreal experience for all of us to go into a tournament with that kind of expectations. Everyone was thinking of India vs Pakistan final but as it happened England faced Australia for the title," he added.

But the scenario began to change towards the late 90s and through the 2000s as India dished out improved performances abroad, complementing their dominance at home.

Former India batter V V S Laxman said it was made possible by careful planning and determined approach.

"It was something we were determined to achieve once Sourav (Ganguly) took over as captain and John (Wright) as coach. We wanted to approach our game with consistency, and not focus on individual milestones like 100s or fifers.
"It eventually bore fruits when India became the No.1 ranked Test side in 2009, which was a first for us. The seeds of the achievement were sown in early 2000s," said Laxman.

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