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The day we became World Champions

On April 2, 2011, exactly two years back the Indian cricket team became the World Champions
By Vivek Prabhakar Singh
Tue, Apr 02, 2013 11:21:24 GMT

The day we became World Champions
Three dates will live forever in the memories of the Indian cricket fans: June 25 - 1983, September 24 - 2007 and April 2 - 2011.

In 1983, Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup for India at the historic Lord’s balcony as Indians halted West Indies’ World cup hattrick and were crowned as World Champions.

A win that made India a cricket fanatic nation as no one expected them to win. Sachin Tendulkar was just eight then and as a young kid he dreamt of playing for India and winning the World Cup.

In 2007, Team India had a disastrous first round exit in the 50-over World Cup, losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the Caribbean. The manner of defeat made the fans angry and they burnt effigies of cricketers, pelted stones at their houses.

The cricket viewership and fan-following took a beating. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was appointed as the captain of India’s T20 side as senior cricketers like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar took rest in order to give youngsters an opportunity to play for India in the slambang version of the game and what better opportunity than a T20 World Cup.

Youngsters like Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Rudra Pratap Singh, S.Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan were led by MS Dhoni with senior players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh supporting them.

No one expected this team to win and that took the pressure off them. They played in the personality of their skipper, which was fearless cricket. Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in an over to Stuart Broad, his blistering knock against Australia despite playing with a pain-killer injection paved the way for India’s road to the finals of the inaugural T20 World Cup.

Rudra Pratap Singh, S.Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh starred with the ball to make India the first T20 champions of cricket. The fans that had lost interest were seen dancing on the streets and the world saw India’s youth brigade making their mark.

Clive Lloyd was the first captain to lift the 50-over World Cup trophy in 1975 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first captain to lift the T20 World Cup in 2007.

On April 2, 2011, Team India was once again crowned as World Champions after 28 long years and it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni and company who were the architects of India’s historic win.

Yuvraj Singh excelled both with the bat and ball to earn the Man-of-the-series award. His knock in the quarterfinals helped India knock then World Champions Australia out of the tournament. Sachin Tendulkar was the second highest run-scorer of the prestigious event and Zaheer Khan’s exploits with the ball under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped India script victory and this win made Indian cricket fans go berserk.

April 2, 2011 was a day of celebration as the entire nation was on the street in a festive mood. It took Sachin Tendulkar five world cups and more than 22 years of hard work and toil to get his hands at the World Cup Trophy. The only trophy which eluded his illustrious wardrobe was finally in his hands. Gautam Gambhir’s knock of 97 after the fall of two wickets early on and skipper Dhoni’s unbeaten 91 in the finals gave glory and joy to the entire nation. This date will always be remembered and cherished by Indian cricketers as their win has left a great legacy for youngsters to follow and take heart from.
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