Beating Pakistan was the best memory of '92 WC: Kapil Dev
"India didn't play particularly well but if you ask me I would say my best memory is we beat eventual winner Pakistan in a league match. It's not a positive memory for me, but to say we beat the team which held the trophy makes me feel better," said Kapil, who was part of the Indian side that beat Pakistan by 43 runs. India finished a lowly seventh out of nine sides in the 1992 edition which was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The World Cup returns to the Australian continent in 2015 with the two nations once again joining hands to stage the biggest cricketing event to be held in February-March.
Kapil was speaking at the ICC event where captains in that World Cup walked down memory lane and spoke candidly about their highs, lows and regrets.
"The uniforms are my other memory. In the beginning, they looked odd. In the cricket world, we were used to playing in whites. Back then, the world was changing, television was changing and you need people to see more colour. So, I think they did a great thing," he said. "Back then, people were calling it pyjama cricket but I think if you look back, you have to change yourself with the time and I think the administrators did the right thing. Now you look at Cricket World Cup as colourful and that's because of 1992. It represents national pride and everybody has their own colours to identify themselves with and be proud," he added.
Pakistan skipper Imran Khan who led his side to a famous win over England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the final said: "Despite early setbacks, we knew we needed one good win in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 and we would be back in contention. The win over Australia (in Perth by 48 runs) provided us that momentum and then there was no looking back for us." The former Pakistani great added.
"I rate the moments after the World Cup victory as the most pleasing and satisfying of my career as I had never seen the people of Pakistan so happy." The losing skipper in the final, Graham Gooch, reflecting on the 1992 world cup, said that his team was the most consistent throughout the tournament before losing to the side that England should have put out much earlier from the competition.
"It was the last World Cup I played in and I captained the side. Looking back I'm proud of our performances throughout the competition, we were probably the form side during the tournament and played good cricket until the final when we didn't have our best day. "We had an opportunity to knock them out of the World Cup earlier in the tournament when we bowled them out for 74, but the match was rained off," Gooch said.
Gooch said despite having some great memories from the world cup, losing in the final for the third occasion was the biggest regret of his career. "Overall I've got good memories of 1992 but one of the biggest regrets of my career is that we reached three finals but didn't get over the line in any of them," added Gooch.
Martin Crowe, who skippered New Zealand and won the player of the tournament award, believed it was New Zealand's best chance of winning the World Cup, but a tactical decision cost his side the tournament. "I think it was the best opportunity in our history to win the World Cup. We scored 262 on a slow pitch (against Pakistan in semi-final), which we thought was a winning score. However, it was decided that I should not take the field so that I could be fit for the final that was to be played four days later. In hindsight if I had stayed on the field, we could have defended that total. "My injury killed it for us," he added.
For South Africa skipper Kepler Wessels, the world cup was an incredible experience, as the side played its first major tournament after its return from isolation. "Captaining South Africa during the World Cup in 1992 was an incredible experience."
Recalling the event, Wessels said, "We had entered the event as complete underdogs, but surprised the cricketing world by reaching the semi-final through some gutsy and professional performances. For Wessels, it was an emotional return to Sydney after having earlier represented Australia at the same venue. And the icing on the cake was a telephone call from the President that followed South Africa's victory over Australia by nine wickets. "The most satisfying win was the very first match against Australia in front of a capacity crowd in Sydney. I was apprehensive going into the match because the Aussies were on a real high. However, our victory was comprehensive. There were many emotional scenes after the match in Sydney and a call from President himself at the time completed a very satisfying day," he said.
Allan Border, who led Australia as it defended its title, reflecting on the tournament said, "Having won the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 as outsiders, we found ourselves as one of the favoured sides in 1992, especially as it was being staged on home soil. We really struggled to find our best form in the early stages and played our best cricket far too late. "No real excuses but in hindsight we didn't prepare as well as we could have," he said. For Aravinda de Silva, who led Sri Lanka in ICC's marquee event 21 years ago, the highlights of the event were his side's victories over African nations Zimbabwe and South Africa.
"We were still minnows in 1992 but two matches that stood out for us were against Zimbabwe and South Africa. "We chased down a 313-run target to win by three wickets against Zimbabwe and then defeated South Africa by three wickets when we achieved a 196-run target on the penultimate delivery. It was not easy coming up against South Africa quick bowlers in conditions that suited their style of bowling," recalled de Silva.