The final was a tribute to our self belief. I remember the celebrations that followed. It was crazy. I received many messages but one stands out. It came from New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth. After the final, he came up to me and said, “This is the best time to go mate; on a high!” He was hinting I retire after the Cup final. Of course, I did not retire! After the final, you would not believe, we went out in search of dinner. All restaurants were shut and we had to drive out of London to grab some pizzas. It was worth it indeed.
It remains one of the highlights of my career. To be judged the man of the match in the semifinal and final was special indeed. But I don't have any souvenir from that triumph. After the last wicket fell in the final, I lunged for the stumps as a souvenir but it was entrenched firmly. I missed it and just sprinted to the dressing room because the crowd was already invading the field. I think Roger (Binny) and Yashpal (Sharma) managed to pull out a stump each and Sunil (Gavaskar) grabbed the ball because he was at slip. Memories of that World Cup are my best souvenirs.
It was an unforgettable experience. Going to the World Cup with none backing us and then beating the mighty West Indies twice during the tournament was something even we did not expect. The final is vivid in my memory. Viv Richards was on rampage and in a hurry to finish us. I pleaded with Kapil to allow me one over. I knew I had a chance with Viv because he as trying to belt every ball. The one that got him was a shade quicker and he miscued it into the country where Kapil made a very difficult catch look ridiculously easy. The rest is history.
Balwinder Singh Sandhu
From the time Kapil Dev walked in at nine for four and revived us from a precarious 17 for five with an epic innings against Zimbabwe we became a different team. We won it because we were the best. Let me share my memories of that magic ball (that got Gordon Greenidge). Actually, I had got Greenidge twice with the in-swinger before that final. He was not able to pick my in-swinger at all. He was the non-striker when I deliberately bowled a few out-swingers. So, when he came on strike, I bowled an intended in-swinger. It was downhill at his end. He misjudged it. I was not surprised at all!
One of the interesting things I remember comes from the semifinal against England. The English had written us off on the eve of that match with two of their former captains, Ray Illingworth and Ted Dexter, discussing the England-West Indies final on BBC. The entire discussion revolved around how England would tackle the West Indies. The two stalwarts had taken for granted that India would lose the semifinal. After the match, I saw them making a quick exit from the field. It was very satisfying. The final, of course, was a glorious statement by our team.