India Inspired?
anybody’s crown
Sunil Gavaskar
here is good news for the teams participating in the World Cup. Australia will not go into the tournament as numero uno in the ICC rankings. The bad news is that they will be so charged up to regain that ranking that the teams in their path are likely to feel the heat in more ways than one. So does that mean they will be champions again? Aha, that’s the million-dollar question. What the recent defeats have done is to show the world that the Australians are beatable and do panic and fumble and drop catches as all do. The losses have taken way the aura of invincibility that the Aussies had, and most crucially, it has taken away the awe factor, where teams playing them have lost the match even before a ball has been bowled.

Lessons from the past: Stick to your runs
Singles do matter
John Wright
fter going to four World Cups as a player, I always knew they always special occasions but travelling to the 2003 World Cup as the coach of the Indian team was an honour and a responsibility to a billion fans at home and a few million more Indians around the world.

What they need: Right basics
Green heights
Inzy’s men can do it
Javed Miandad
an Inzamam-ul-Haq and his men win the World Cup? Yes, they can. The batsmen struggled in South Africa, but they should take heart from the fact that the wickets in the West Indies are nowhere as bouncy as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, they are as flat as those in the subcontinent.

Cricket Country
Tony Cozier
o the cricketing mini-states of the Caribbean, the hosting of the World Cup for the first time over the coming weeks is about far more than the game itself. Their cricket credentials have long since been established. They have nothing more to prove in this regard. In the hundred years or so in which this complex legacy of British colonialism has taken root, the West Indies have produced a host of genuinely great players, among them arguably the greatest, fashioned their own identity for style and panache and proven to be as collectively strong as any opponent.

match winners
THE awesome 7
Call it ‘sixth sense’, gut-feel, intuition, or whatever you like.  One can’t help but feel that some cricketers are going to have a rollicking time in the World Cup. They all have their reasons and motives for doing so, writes Devendra Prabhudesai

Chris Gayle West Indies
The unthinkable happened in a league encounter of the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy; Chris Gayle, apparently instigated by Australian Michael Clarke, lost his composure and displayed his emotions. It was not something the opener is known to do, not even when he brutalizes bowling attacks with the ease of a master woodcutter scything through a forest.

Rise of oz
We have not looked back since our 1987 win
Allan Border

t wasn’t surprising that India and Pakistan were considered the front-runners for the 1987 World Cup. After all, they were playing at home, and had hugely experienced teams to boot. No one expected us to make much of an impact, and justifiably so. We hadn’t had the best of times in the mid-1980s after the retirement of the Chappell-Lillee-Marsh triumvirate, and the loss of several senior players to a “rebel” tour of South Africa. Our 1987 World Cup squad was a young but fiercely enthusiastic unit. It helped that we had toured India the year before, and so knew what to expect. That we were to play two league games at Chennai, where we had starred in only the second tied Test 12 months previously, also helped.

The agony and The ecstasy
So near Yet so far
South Africa fell just one run short against Australia in the 1999 World Cup semifinal
Jonty Rhodes

he 1999 World Cup was an exciting prospect for the entire South African squad, as we were hoping to say farewell to Bob Woolmer, our coach of five years, with the perfect departure gift — the trophy. Woolmer had been an inspired choice as coach when he was appointed, and all players benefited immensely from his knowledge and his drive to stay one step ahead of the opposition in all areas of the game!

 Sitting (from left): Dilip Vengsarkar, Syed Kirmani, Kapil Dev (captain), Mohinder Amarnath (vice-captain), Sunil Gavaskar and Madan Lal. Standing (from left): Man Singh (manager), Yashpal Sharma, K. Srikkanth, Balwinder Sandhu, Ravi Shastri, Sandeep Patil, Roger Binny, Kirti Azad and Sunil Valson. Lords of The World
Sandeep Patil goes down memory lane to recall India's great triumph at Lords
he start of the 1983 World Cup was as “shocking” as the end as far as I am concerned. I had missed the previous tour of the West Indies due to a shoulder injury and was keen to get some match practice, as there was a gap of only a few weeks between that series and the World Cup. The BCCI permitted me to go ahead of the team and play a few one-dayers in the Middlesex league.

Class of 1983:
Sitting (from left): Dilip Vengsarkar, Syed Kirmani, Kapil Dev (captain), Mohinder Amarnath (vice-captain), Sunil Gavaskar and Madan Lal. Standing (from left): Man Singh (manager), Yashpal Sharma, K. Srikkanth, Balwinder Sandhu, Ravi Shastri, Sandeep Patil, Roger Binny, Kirti Azad and Sunil Valson.

Premature Plan It Was
SMILE with Devendra Prabhudesai
andeep Patil was fielding at short third man and Sunil Gavaskar at deep point when Viv Richards set about the Indian bowling in the 1983 World Cup final. The way he was batting, it appeared as if he wanted to finish the game in less than an hour. When Patil made his way to the boundary to pick up the ball, Gavaskar’s wife, who was watching the match from the stands behind third man, “requested” him to tell her husband to meet her at the St John’s Wood station, just outside the Lord’s Cricket Ground, in an hour.