A four-year cycle is now being repeated as cricket fans get all misty-eyed and hark back to 1983. This was when Kapil Dev held aloft the World Cup at the Lords balcony in London and changed India's sporting culture forever.

The look-back-with-awe is understandable as this is the World Cup year with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh all set to host the event from February 19.

However, it is a fact that India's epochal triumph in the Benson and Hedges World Championship at Melbourne in 1985, somehow gets relegated to the fringes in the after-glow of 1983. In Indiranagar though, resides a man, a legend, who nurtures fond memories of those champagne moments in Melbourne.

E.A.S. Prasanna, one of India's greatest spinners, does have an interesting nugget in his resume. He was the manager of the Sunil Gavaskar-led team that covered itself with glory in Australia. “Oh, I was a one-man army then. There was no support staff like we have now,” Prasanna says.

The wily off-spinner rates the team that won in 1985 as one of the best that ever turned up for India in limited overs cricket. “You had Sunil, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Mohammad Azharuddin, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Madan Lal, Roger Binny, Chetan Sharma, Sadanand Viswanath, K. Srikkanth...I mean you can't get a better team than that,” Prasanna says.

During that Australian tour, Prasanna strengthened his ties with Gavaskar and Kapil Dev besides shepherding youngsters like Sivaramakrishnan. “I was Kapil's first roommate in an international tour and that was way back in 1978 in Pakistan. I had a good rapport with him. As for Siva, I virtually moulded him. I helped him and Shastri and they were very receptive,” Prasanna recalls.

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Soap BoxJanuary 13, 2011

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