The song thar spurred us: Ranjib Biswal, India's World Cup-winning manager, recalls Vande Mataram moment
India's team manager for the 2011 World Cup, Ranjib Biswal counts himself privileged to have witnessed the historic win over Sri Lanka at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium exactly a year ago.
Party of a lifetime: Sachin Tendulkar is lifted by Yusuf Pathan
as Harbhajan Singh (left) and Ranjib Biswal (to Yusuf's left)
look on. Pics/Getty Images
The most defining moment for him was the packed Wankhede crowd singing Vande Mataram when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and man of the tournament Yuvraj Singh were at the crease.
"I don't know how the crowd started singing Vande Mataram, but that really pumped up the players. It really lifted them," Biswal told MiD DAY on the eve of the first anniversary.
Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera had just clean-bowled a well-set Gautam Gambhir three short of his century as India were still 52 runs away, chasing a 275-run target with six wickets in hand. It was a big blow considering Dhoni and Gambhir had forged 109-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
The going seemed to get tougher as Dhoni escaped a run out and an Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) appeal was turned down against Yuvraj.
Little later, the frenzied crowd started singing Vande Mataram with India needing 30 in the last five overs. "It was the best moment... the crowd support made a lot of difference. I will never forget the atmosphere that night. Chasing a big total under lights wasn't easy," said Biswal.
Tense dressing room
The former India selector admitted the team felt jittery when India were reduced to 31 for two inside 10 overs. "The dressing room atmosphere was tense. But we never lost hope because our batting was at its peak. We were confident of chasing any total," said the 41-year-old.
The former Orissa cricketer said the team started believing in themselves after beating Australia in the quarter-final at Motera, Ahmedabad. "That win really gave us the belief that we can win the World Cup. Beating the three-time champions gave us the mental boost," said Biswal, who played first-class cricket from 1987 to 1997.
Biswal is however, disappointed at Team India's performance since the World Cup high. "I did not expect this team to perform so badly after winning the World Cup. The focus was 10 times more during the World Cup than it is now," Biswal signed off.
Just like 1983, India slump a year after euphoria...
>> MS Dhoni's champions have played 31 ODIs a year since their World Cup triumph.
>>: 17, L: 11, Tied: 2, NR: 1
>> Lowest points in ODIs: Failed to qualify for the finals of two tournaments � the CB Series and Asia Cup.
>> India have played 14 Test matches in the last one year.
Won: 3, Lost: 8, Drawn: 3
>> Lowest points in Tests: Back-to-back overseas whitewashes against England (0-4) and Australia (0-4).
>> The casualties: Five players from the WC squad -- Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra -- find themselves out of favour. And India's WC hero, Yuvraj Singh is battling cancer and thus out of Team India.
>> Kapil Dev's Devils were thrashed 0-3 in a six-Test series at home against West Indies. Prior to that, they drew all Tests of the three-match series vs Pakistan.
>> However, they fared better in ODIs, besides the 0-5 whitewash to West Indies. They beat Pakistan 2-0.
Played: 9, Won: 4, Lost: 5