My first international trip was to Las Vegas in November 2014.
Never in my wildest of dreams did I imagine that I would be going to Vegas so early
in my career, at the age of 27. I was one of the 30 Area Sales Managers from
across the country who had qualified for this trip organized by Mahindra for
exceeding sales targets. It was a week long trip to the U.S with 2 days in LA
and 4 nights in Vegas. Till date, the memories of this trip are fresh in my
Our stay in Vegas was organized at The Venetian. It was a
resort cum casino. In Vegas, every place is a casino first. The ambience of all
the casinos has been cleverly planned in such a way that you will never come to
know the time of the day , once you get involved. The lighting stays the same
all through. The noise outside is cut off, food and drinks are served at the
table continuously. Everything is done to ensure that you don’t move out from
the table once you are in. It is truly a different experience. When we first
sat at one of the tables, we did not realize that five hours had passed by.
Such is the lure and aura of the casinos in Vegas.
The Venetian , eponymously, has been modelled on Venice.
There are a few artificial boatways connecting two parts of the resort. The experience
at the resort was truly world-class , with easy access to all the major attractions.
The Venetian is part of the Vegas Strip. The Vegas Strip is a strip of land
where most of the must-see casinos and tourist attractions in Vegas are
located. The Americans are gurus at marketing and it is amazing to see how a
small area of land, situated amidst a desert, can generate so much income and
money. It is one of the most expensive places in the world.
Time is money in Vegas and we realized it the hard way. We
want to visit one of the clubs and had asked the club for a pickup from our hotel
at 9 pm. Typical Indian time of 9 pm means at least a delay of 15 to 20
minutes. When all of us had come down by 9:20 pm, the driver promptly gave us a
mouthful saying time is money and refused to take us. He said he waited just to
ensure he could convey this and also lodged a complaint with the club saying time
was not honoured by us. From then onwards, we became careful and would only
call taxis once we were all ready.
While Vegas is rightly called “ Sin City” because of its
nightlife dominated by casinos and strip clubs along with related indulgences ,
there is another side to Vegas, which is not spoken of in the same breath.
Vegas is also a great destination for families and kids (yes you are reading
this correct) and there are enough activities to keep families and kids
engaged. Every evening , there is an artificial volcanic eruption around 7 pm at
The Strip and it is a sight to watch. There is a musical fountain which plays every
hour in the night and crowds gather to watch this beautiful sight. The Strip
also boasts of replicas of the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower. We
had gone up 470 floors in a lift and watched the beautiful fountains from the
top of the Eiffel Tower replica. Vegas also is a hotbed for arts and culture, hosting
several popular plays, shows and concerts all round the year. The best in the
business come and perform at the various theatres here. We had watched a show
by an acrobatic troupe at the MGM Grand and it was a marvellous performance. The
Strip also hosts a Harley Davidson café and a Madame Tussauds. For the adventure
freaks, there is a casino called Stratosphere, which hosts a few thrilling
rides on the topmost floor. For a few extra bucks, there is also a helicopter
ride which will give an aerial view of the city. The Grand Canyon and the
Hoover Dam are a few hours drive from Vegas. We also rented a limousine ride
and it was quite an experience.
The highlight attraction is undoubtedly Fremont Street. This
is a tiny street frequented by people of all ages all through the night. It is
lively and always buzzing and has everything for everyone. There is a ride
called SlotZilla where you can zip-line through from end of the street to the other.
There are street performances daily and it is a unique experience and you can keep
walking in and out of every shop. Clothing, accessories, souvenirs, food – you
get everything you need to shop at every price point here. I was pleasantly
surprised to see families enjoying themselves in hordes here.
We spent 4 days in Vegas but this was not enough. This is true with most international locations but all the more with Vegas. A one-of-its kind destination, which everyone should experience at some point in their life. I must consider myself lucky that I got to experience this early and hopefully, will visit this place, once again at some point in time. I will not comment on the Sin City related experiences, because………
Six years ago, in October 2013, I was working as an Area
Sales Manager with the automotive division of Mahindra. The auto industry had
witnessed a muted first two quarters and the festive season of October November
followed by a discount heavy December was the last hope left to salvage things.
The festive season ( Oct- Nov) in Indian retail sales is
boom time for every consumer facing industry. Discounts, new launches clubbed
with the typical Indian consumer sentiment of buying new products in an
auspicious period make it a season to look forward to. In 2013, all of us were hoping for the
Festival of Lights to bring back something to cheer about in an otherwise
Mumbai Area Office, where I was working, was part of the
West Zone. The previous festive season ( 2012),
West Zone had sold an all-time high of 16,000 vehicles in these two
months. That year, the auto industry had recorded month-on-month double digit
growth. We were expecting a target at
best of 21,000 vehicles for the Zone ( a 30% growth over last year – which
itself was very steep considering the way the first two quarters had panned
In October,2013 a contest was launched for the Mahindra
sales team and the dealer principals – Gaadi Becho Duniya Dekho. Based on
targets achieved, winners could fly to Las Vegas , Rome and Singapore ( 100% +
achievement was Vegas, 95 to 99 % – Rome, 91 to 94% – Singapore). While we were
all looking forward to the contest and the thought of going to Vegas was
mouth-watering, we also knew that this would not be easy as the targets would
be extremely stretched.
When our West zone target was communicated – 25,000 vehicles
for two months ( against 16,000 the previous year), we were all taken
aback. Unrealistic, unattainable, far
fetched from ground reality. The motivation levels were low because of the
dismal first two quaryers. One man though, was in a completely different state
of mind. It was Jacob Varghese, then Zonal Head for West Zone. Jacob was highly
regarded for his market knowledge, ability to get into the details and ruthless
execution. Jacob also was extremely aware of the pulse of his team. He called
all of his sales team for a 2 day program in Garudmaachi, a picturesque outbound
venue on the outskirts of Pune. The
entire agenda of the two day program was to make us believe that the targets
were achievable. Jacob had his unique
way of alignment. While all of us had individual Area Office targets, Jacob
throughout was only harping on one number – Mission 25k for West Zone. He got
in a speaker, Dinesh Nathani, who was an expert in conducting workshops which
focused on mental beliefs, positive psychology and training the mind. Nathani
had a half-day session which was focused on visualizing positive outcomes,
letting go of negative thoughts and feeding positive energy off each other.
Jacob also coined a name for the team – Western Warriors. All the departments –
including HR and Finance , were made to participate in the program. A famous
motivational video –“Inch by Inch’ by Al
Pacino was played multiple times during the day. By the end of the two days,
all of us were charged and focused to deliver Mission 25k.
For Jacob, it was not only about doing a two day program.
Post that, he created a mail chain where people would continuously write about
success stories, statistics and tracking of how we were inching closer each
day. Jacob would also have his weekly con-calls and keep the motivation going.
Jacob’s energy rubbed off on all of us including the dealer fraternity. We were
out in the market for 5 days in a 6 day week trying to do everything possible
to make the magical number.
For the first few weeks, the number looked a distant dream.
But with each passing week, what looked improbable started coming to life. In
those days, I used to handle the territories of Nashik and Jalgaon. The Jalgaon
dealer, whose monthly average was 70, was chasing a steep monthly number of
200. There was a chart on which 1 to 200 was written in the backward order and
with each vehicle sold, a number was crossed. I had accompanied a few sales
executives to close some bookings .
Travelling to the interiors of the hinterland made me get a feel of
rural India. These folks had no clue
about terms like recession, GDP , growth rate etc. For them, all that mattered
was a good monsoon, which would get a good crop, leading to substantial income
and the excess income would result in retail purchases. While the folks in the
corporate would think of strategies to improve sales in rural area, at the
ground, the factors involved were pretty simple. One of our prospects was a
legislator, who wanted to replace his vehicle with a Scorpio. Sales thrives on
relationship, especially in rural areas and because the Sales executive
had a great relationship and was
continuously following up, he finally ended up booking the vehicle. The biggest
learning for me was that Sales is not complex, yet difficult. The folks with
strong follow-up and great relationship skills would invariably end up
achieving their targets. Motivation was the key and there were various angles
to this – the desire to be recognized, the need to earn the extra rewards and
the feeling of being a winner. If the basics were taken care of, then results
would follow. The Jalgaon dealer had announced a Goa trip to the entire team,if
the overall target was achieved. The feeling of group-win gave that extra push
and as a result, the entire team went over-drive to win in difficult
conditions. The Jalgaon momentum rubbed off on neighbouring Nashik as well. We
were not sure where we would end , but all of us knew that there would be no
one who would question the efforts.
Likewise, in other parts of Mumbai AO and West Zone, success
stories started emerging. After two months of hustle-bustle, the festive season
came to a close. Jacob Varghese’s Western Warriors had achieved what seemed
improbable two months ago. We had crossed 25,000 vehicles. While a strong
monsoon had helped from a macro-economic
perspective, the biggest differentiator for me was a motivated unit and the
power of the collective. Accolades
followed. West Zone had the highest %age of ASMs going to Las Vegas. Me and 5
other people from our Area Office went to Las Vegas. Gaadi Becho Duniya Dekho
had brought about a fresh lease of life in a gloomy environment. For me
personally, it was a defining moment in my career transition from HR to Sales
and the thrill of achieving the near impossible. I had doubts about moving from HR to Sales
but Western Warriors and Gaadi Becho Duniya Dekho changed everything.
6 years have passed and Gaadi Becho Duniya Dekho continues
to be one of my favorite memories in my sales career.
Cheers to hope, motivation, positivity, team work and focus. Hopefully, the current auto slowdown will end soon and there will be similar tales told by the current crop of auto sales folks.
On this day 45 years ago (the 24th of
April, 1973), if someone had told you that a middle class Indian, a student of
Sharadashram Vidyamandir School, would go on to become one of India’s greatest ever
cricket inspirations, what would be your thoughts? Impossible, isn’t it? International
cricket for a period of 23 years, from the age of 16, 50 plus scores in a one-day
game every 3rd match, the only one to score 100 centuries in
international cricket.. the list of records is endless. But Sachin Ramesh
Tendulkar is much more than records. For those born in the 80s and 90s , Sachin
was fulfilling every middle class Indian’s dreams. Post liberalization in 91, a
young and aspirational India wanted a middle-class hero, who could conquer the
world and more importantly, our hearts. I don’t think a single cricketer in the
90s has generated as much discussion and debate as much as SRT. Because of him,
Jonty Rhodes was a villain for many Indians for a controversial catch in Durban
in a tri-series. Because of him, Steve Bucknor was a villain for bad umpiring
decisions. Because of him, tonnes of electricity were consumed as well as saved
depending on him getting out or otherwise. For a generation, he was the only
hope. With each passing day, the hopes and expectations only increased, the
debates only increased – did he choke in finals, was he not a finisher, could he
not carry the team through in tense matches…
For a hardcore Sachin fan, it did not matter. Every
time he was criticized, he let his bat do the talking. Some critics started
saying that he plays only for his records and most centuries are in a losing
cause. The job of a critic is to criticize, make a mountain out of a mole-hill.
15 Man of the Series awards, 62 Man of the match awards with 90% + Indian victories,
Man of the Match award against every one of the ICC Full Members, a lunch with
Sir Don Bradman. Unlike certain cricketers who had weaknesses in certain
countries, Sachin conquered every country. The tougher the pitch, the more
graceful the innings. Perth , Lords, Newlands, MCG, Manchester, Hamilton – name
the ground, name the team – you would have SRT associated with it. While it’s
easy to find faults, what people forget is the consistency amidst the weight of
expectations. I can’t recollect a batsman who was so consistent in his era – an
era dominated by Wasim, Waqar, Walsh, Ambrose, Warne, McGrath, Murali and
Donald. The 90s had some of the most ferocious cricketers playing for their
countries. And at the big stage, the World Cup, Sachin upped his game even
more. Again, critics complained of his ability to come poor in semi-finals and
finals. But what gets forgotten is the fact that he was majorly responsible for
taking the country till that stage. For a decade, the country could not muster
a batsman who was 50% close to his abilities. Despite that, India had a near
invincible record at home and a miserable one away. Sourav and Rahul finally
came on-board and then things started to change. Because of this man, a
seemingly unknown injury known as “tennis elbow” got national importance. There
was a time when he could do no wrong, on and off the field. He started being
called as “God”.
God was quite a nickname for a cricketer. Initially, I
didn’t understand what this God business was all about. My first Sachin memory
was the 1996 world Cup. The stumping off Jayasuriya in the semi-final against
Sri Lanka cost us the game. He had scored 60 odd in a total score of 130. Like
the critics, I thought Sachin would never play in a big match. Then Desert Storm
happened in Sharjah. Then came a Henry Olonga massacre. Then a 136 with a stiff
back in Chepauk. That was the first time I cried after seeing India lose to Pakistan.
With a stiff back and 270 to chase in the fourth innings, India was tottering
at 82/5. I was waiting to switch off the TV but it was Sachin who prevented me.
Nayan Mongia decided to give support and Sachin took India to 254/6. With 16
runs left, Sachin got out to Saqlain Mushtaq. Most Indians knew the match was over.
The next three wickets fell in the space of 4 runs and India snatched defeat
from the jaws of victory and lost by 12 runs. Sachin had lost the match but won
a billion hearts.
But Sachin would hurt the Pakistanis 5 years later. He
reserved his best for the 2003 World Cup battle with Pakistan at Centurion. Wasim,
Waqar, Shoaib and co were punished duly. 98 off 75 balls but there was a game changing
moment in the match. While on 32, Abdur Razzaq dropped Sachin off Wasim Akram.
An exasperated Akram shouted “ Tujhe pata hai tu ney kiska catch choda hai?”
That summed up the status of SRT in his heyday. By that time, Sehwag, Yuvraj
and Kaif had arrived but Sachin was the big fish. It was my Maths exam the next
day and most of my college mates, like me,decided to chuck the preparation and
see the match. That was the power of Sachin and an Indo-Pak match.
When MS Dhoni arrived, he very rightly chose to do
away with senior cricketers who were liabilities on the field. Sourav went
first, followed by Anil and Rahul. But Sachin was in a different league. Till
his last date, his fielding or batting was never a question. His commitment was
250%. That was the power of the man. Barring Glenn McGrath, I don’t think any
bowler has “troubled” him per se. Warne was taken to the cleaners. Murali was out-batted.
The others didn’t matter. Most people think Dhoni has invented the helicopter
shot. But true Sachin fans have seen this shot in the Natwest Trophy 2003
against England where Sachin helicopters Darren Gough over midwicket. All these
made me think Sachin was God.
But God has a way of showing mortals why God is God.
The Ferrari car controversy where Sachin refused to pay some gift tax
initially, the Rajya Sabha disaster, his failure as a captain twice were all
God’s way of showing us that every human is fallible. Despite this, every Sachin
fan hoped that he would be part of at least one World Cup winning team. That
moment arrived in 2011 and Sachin should thank Gambhir and Dhoni for pulling India
out of trouble. I guess God had smiled on him finally. It was only fitting that
a young Virat Kohli carried Sachin on his shoulders that night at the Wankhede
with the ever-familiar shouts of “Sachiiin… Sachiiin” That shout from the audience
is much more than a shout. It means various things to various people –
adulation, hope, inspiration, magic, glory, beauty, finesse, perfection,
consistency, humility and idol worship. To say that his last international speech
was emotional is an understatement. He couldn’t script his farewell with a
century but he had done enough for a nation starved of sporting heroes in the 90s.
I can go on and on about this man but I have to stop. Stop because I am lucky to share my birthday with him and I must spend time with family on this special day. As I turn 32 and Sachin 45, I only hope that one day our paths will cross and I take a selfie with him. That is definitely high on my bucket-list. Even better if we both cut a cake jointly. I hope God fulfills my dream. Until then, I will keep staring daily at his portrait on my wall ( my wife gifted me a sketch by The Hindu where his 100 centuries are written as his face outline) and keep saying….
If God had given me a wish to become someone for a few minutes, I think it would have been Venkatesh Prasad in the 15th over on March 9th, 1996 .
Last Saturday, the 9th of March , marked the 23rd anniversary one of the most inspirational cricket comebacks by a bowler – Venkatesh Prasad vs Aamir Sohail. Only those Cricket fans who have watched this moment live either in stadium or TV will be able to appreciate the magnitude of this moment.
The 1996 cricket world Cup was the first one for me. My dad used to subscribe to The Sportstar magazine. I loved their colourful sports visuals. I remember the 96 Cricket World Cup exclusive edition where it had profiled all 12 teams playing the World Cup. The Sportstar was rooting for an India Pakistan final. It used the words “mouth-watering contest”. I could not fathom why an India-Pakistan cricket match was being hyped so much. But I was sucked into all the hype as I started following the World Cup and hoped to see an Indo-Pak final.
Powered by Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, India finished third in Group B having won against Kenya, Zimbabwe and the West Indies. Sachin’s heroics went in vain against the Aussies and the Lankans. Pakistan in Group B had defeated everyone except South Africa. So, on the 9th of March 1996, a Saturday , A2 and B3 squared off against each other. The Hindu’s sports page headline screamed “The match of the tournament today!!” I just couldn’t understand what the hype was all about.
Mohammed Azharuddin won the toss and decided to bat. The crowd at the Chinnaswamy Bangalore had already let out a huge roar when the coin fell in India’s favour. I just couldn’t get why cricket crazy fans went berserk at just the toss. Sachin and Navjot Sidhu got India off to a great start. India had gone to 90/0 in 21 overs when disaster struck. Sachin chopped one on to his stumps off Ata-ur-Rahman. At 90/1, with Sachin gone, I almost wanted to switch off the TV. But Indo-Pak matches were just not about one individual. Navjot Singh Sidhu, decided to play one of the best innings of his career and made 93 fighting runs. By the time Sidhu got out , India were 168/3 in the 36th over. Azhar was looking extremely good but he fell to a great catch by the keeper Rashid Latif off Waqar Younis. The score was 200/4 in the 42nd over. In those days , 270 plus was a decent score. In walked Ajay Jadeja at 6. Vinod Kambil got out at 234/5 in 46.3 overs. With 21 balls to go, 30 runs was a decent achievement against Waqar and co and 265 was something which could have given the bowlers a chance. Jadeja was losing partners at the other end. India had plummeted to 239/6 at the end of 47 overs.
Waqar Younis, in those days was feared world over for his toe-crushing yorkers. Anil Kumble, the local boy, lofted Waqar over mid off for a boundary. The roar was back at the Chinnaswamy. The legendary Tony Greig screamed “Anil Kumble – Get ready for a blistering Yorker on middle stump”. I guess Kumble heard those words. The length was just two inches short of a Yorker. Kumble played a glorious flick through mid-wicket for four. Waqar was clearly rattled. Kumble took a single the next ball. Waqar decided to bowl a Yorker on the off side to Jadeja. Jadeja creamed it along extra cover for four. The first 5 balls of the over read 3,4,4,1,4. 16 off 5 balls against Waqar Younis. Jadeja was not finished yet. Waqar with all his might bowled a toe-crusher on middle stump. I thought Jadeja’s middle stump would be uprooted. But Ajay Jadeja was in a different zone that day. He had read Waqar’s mind , took a step back on the crease , created the elevation and flicked the ball over mid-wicket for six. The Chinnaswamy was in raptures. 22 off Waqar’s over and India had moved to 258/6 after 48 !!! The 49th over produced 11 runs and India were 269/6. It was a good score already, but Jadeja was not done yet. Waqar steamed in. The ball was a length ball on off stump;Jadeja moved to the leg side and caressed him over point for four. The next ball was despatched over long off for 6. 10 off 2 balls. Waqar had lost the plot. Jadeja with his unconventional feet movement of moving to the leg side had got the better off Waqar. He got out the next ball but Ajay Jadeja’s 26 ball 45 with 2 sixes and 4 boundaries (all off Waqar’s bowling ) till date, remains one of the most inspirational cameos in World Cup history. India ended with 287/6. Pakistan were fined an over for slow over rate and their target was 288/6 in 49 overs. What a finale to the Indian innings !!!
The Pakistani openers Aamir Sohail ( stand-in captain for the injured Wasim Akram) and Saeed Anwar, got the team off to a flyer. 50 came in the 7th over, 84/0 at the end of 10. The bowlers were being flayed to all parts of the ground. The Chinnaswamy had gone silent. I almost wanted to switch off the TV, but always had a hope that all it takes was one wicket to get India back into the game. It had been a miserable start by the Indian bowlers. Saeed Anwar got out to Srinath at 84/1 but Aamir Sohail was still going strong. Pakistan crossed 100 in the 14th over and Sohail got to his 50. Sohail was slowly but surely taking away the match from India. 14 overs 104/1 . 185 off 35 overs required ( less than 6 runs per over). I felt sad for Jadeja, Sidhu and all the others who had helped India reach 287.
Venkatesh Prasad came running in to bowl the 15th over. Ijaz Ahmed took 5 runs off the first 2 balls Pak 110/1 at 14.2. Quite fittingly, the two commentators on the mic were Ravi Shastri and Imran Khan. The next 2 balls were dot balls.
14.5 Prasad bowled a back of length ball. Sohail flat-batted it between point and cover for a four. However, Sohail did something which stunned everyone. Sohail walked down to Prasad, pointed his finger in the direction of the boundary either in arrogance or in triumph. He did not know the impact of that small action on various individuals in the minutes, months and days to come. Little did I imagine that Aaamir Sohail’s seemingly innocuous act would change the game for me forever. At this point, I was feeling angry for Sohail’s act. I felt that Sohail was pointing a finger at Indians. I felt I was Venkatesh Prasad and I was being embarrassed. I never thought I would get so involved in an innocuous match. Now I started to understand why The Hindu headline screamed “The Match of the Tournament today”. I really wanted to slap Aamir Sohail if he was right in front of me at that moment. The fact that India Pakistan as neighbouring countries had a tense history only added fuel to the fire and added to the drama. I am sure every Indian cricket fan watching the match seriously would have wanted to beat up Sohail for his seemingly arrogant act. My dad was frowning. The crowd was somewhere between booing and shouting. Amidst all this Ravi Shastri screamed “What is Prasad going to do?”
Ball 14.6 India vs Pakistan – World Cup quarter-final – March 9th 1996 – Venkatesh Prasad against Aamir Sohail….
Prasad came in running, Sohail tried to move away and repeat the previous boundary shot and missed the length. Credit to Prasad, he held his nerve and bowled a “you miss, I hit “ ball and the rest as they say is history. Venkatesh Prasad sent Aamir Sohail’s stumps cartwheeling out of the ground and gave him a fitting reply – he signaled him off to the pavilion. The Chinnaswamy erupted. My dad jumped from his chair and angrily clenched his fist and said “BC .. bahut akkad mey tha Sohail.. Ab kya ukhaadega Pakistan”. Ravi Shastri screamed “And he’s bowled him!! India are right back in the game”. I was like a fool jumping up and down with joy with both my hands raised. I went to my dad and gave him a hi-fi. I had never done this before and after. This was like a Eureka moment for me and I felt like I had conquered Mount Everest. I could not imagine that a cricket match could invoke so much emotion in me. Post Sohail’s wicket, Pakistan fell like a pack of cards. When Sohail departed, their run rate was 7.16 per over and the required rate was 5.23 per over. But Sohail’s lapse in concentration ensured he not only gifted his wicket, but also gifted the momentum to India. Rashid Latif, Salim Malik and Javed Miandad tried to make a match of it but Venkatapathy Raju, Kumble and Prasad ensured India had the last laugh. Navjot Sidhu was adjudged ” man of the match ” for his valiant 93 but to me, Venkatesh Prasad for his 3/45 off 10 was the “Inspirational Indian of the Match “.
Like in every match, there’s always a turning point in one’s life. The difference between movie heroes and sporting heroes is that sports heroes are for real. When the going gets tough, those who are mentally tough keep calm and continue to do the basics right. They put their past behind and work on the next ball. Thinking about the past is of no use as it is already gone. Those who hold their nerve under pressure, when their backs are to the wall ,and do the simple things right stand out in a crowd.
Venkatesh Prasad became one of my all time favourite bowlers, because in the highest-pressure cooker situations, he would save his best for Pakistan. In the 1999 World Cup, he took 5/27. Prasad, Sachin, Kumble and Sourav would always reserve their best for Pakistan. Venkatesh Prasad is a highly under-rated but a highly inspirational medium fast bowler India has produced. He may not have the highest wickets like Kapil or Anil, but he has a special place amongst cricket fans who have followed Indo-Pak World Cup matches.
Venkatesh Prasad – you have given me one of my most inspirational cricketing moments. You made me forget who I was and what I was doing for those few minutes. If somebody can do that, it means s/he has impacted you. That’s why I love watching sports live as sport is so unpredictable and the sheer joy of watching David win over Goliath is amazing. I felt lucky that I had watched this inspirational moment live on TV. Luckier were those who were there at the Chinnaswamy. India lost in the semis to Lanka but for most Indians, the World Cup was already won in their hearts as we had beaten Pakistan. God’s 98 off 75 at Centurion, Desert Storm, a Very Very Special 281 and Dhoni’s 6 to finish off 2011 WC come close but nothing has surpassed this for me.
If God had given me a wish to become someone for a few minutes, I think it would have been Venkatesh Prasad in the 15th over on March 9th, 1996 .