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India’s journey from Lord’s to Wankhede

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June 25, 1983 and April 2, 2011 are two dates which define Indian cricket in totality. It was June 25, 1983 when the quintessential cricket fans took birth in this country. And after 28 years, the number of fans grew, some more came in to this fanatic world and the few millions became a Blue billion by April 2, 2011.

Like its cricket fan base, even the country moved from strength to strength in that period. The young India moved to becoming a voice of the world. The Indian economy was globalised, Bombay became Mumbai, the nation conducted its first nuclear test, Indian space shuttle Chandrayan discovered water on moon, Indian population crossed the billion mark even as the GDP crossed trillion mark.

In sports, Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to earn a gold medal at Olympics, India hosted its first ever Commonwealth Games, Vijender Singh became the first Indian boxer to get a medal at Olympics. But cricket which became the No. 1 sport in the country since Kapil’s Devils’ feat remained unchallenged in that period, thanks to some heroes and some great results.

Yes, after the 1983 win, cricket grew by leaps and bounds in the country and it touched its peak with the second World Cup win on this very day a year ago. The 1985 Champion of Champions Trophy, the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup win, No. 1 rankings in Test cricket and the 50-over World Cup in 2011 ensured that there wasn’t a phase in the sport when the fans decided that enough is enough.

Though the dark clouds of match-fixing threatened the sport and challenged the faith of its fans, a certain Prince of Kolkata (Sourav Ganguly) was responsible for a turnaround and then a small-town Rambo ensured that the legacy left behind by a certain Fab Four was absolutely worth it. On April 2, 2011, the man who had one last peak to conquer did so, and in some style.

MS Dhoni’s memorable six in Wankhede Stadium to seal the cup was equivalent of Kapil’s memorable catch of Vivian Richards on the hallowed ground of Lord’s. The 1983 win woke up a nation of 7.5 crores then to stand up and take notice while the 2011 triumph was the one that was coming for some time. The country in 1983 wasn’t waiting with bated breath for their men to come back with the Prudential Cup, while the Blue billion was praying in unison to end the wait at 28 years.

April 2, 2011 was just not another day in the life of India. After beating their arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-finals, the country was in no mood to let the title go to their neighbouring island nation Sri Lanka. And God too just could not disappoint the prayers of billions and in the ‘Hum Prasann Huye’ mode, he granted the wish of the most passionate and deserving cricket fans of the world. And the rest as they say is history...


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