India’s manager in the inaugural World T20 in 2007, Lalchand Rajput recalls the memories he had when the Indian team arrived back to Mumbai. Rajput is still yet to overcome the warm reception he got from the Indian fans after the team won the World Cup.
Rajput further compared the T20 World Cup win with the 2011 World Cup win, and insisted that the 2007 one was more memorable.
For sure, the victorious T20 World Cup campaign gave India a lot, including India’s best captain ever, MS Dhoni. Most of the stars of the tournament went on to become regular names in the future, with some of them still playing in the Indian side.
The World T20 win also led to the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which further produced a lot of talent for India. Tons of memories are still fresh over the 2007 World Cup win, which was capped off with a win in the final over arch-rivals Pakistan.
Rajput remembered his days with the Indian team, and felt that his coaching stint was a challenge to train a young Indian squad. “I think after the Greg Chappell fiasco, I was looking forward (to getting a chance to handle the Indian team) and fortunately for me, I got an opportunity to coach the team in the Twenty20 World Cup.
It was a challenge by itself, because there were no senior players, it was a young-look team, the new players were there, new coach, new captain, plus some players who were looking to make a comeback into the team.
“So, it was a challenge for us, we had just exited the 2007 WC in the West Indies, so it was a challenge to get the team together, to get the performance together, and do something worthwhile so that people always remember,” Rajput was quoted by Cricbuzz.
The 55-year-old also resisted that Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in an over made the Indian team believe that they had the ability to win the tournament.
“I think, it was the England game, when Yuvraj (Singh) hit six sixes that was the game when we started believing that we are in this tournament to win it. That belief really went on and then we went on to beat Australia, the only game we lost was against New Zealand.
The England game in more ways than one brought us the momentum and we were also able to carry it forward,” the former Mumbai cricketer added.
Rajput further claimed that the reception that the victorious team got after reaching Mumbai was the best. He also added that those memories are still fresh in his mind.
“The biggest memory of my life, and I think it will never happen again for me, was the reception in Mumbai when we came back from South Africa. From the Mumbai airport to the Wankhede stadium, that was one memorable thing for all of us.
I had not seen such a celebration for the team. See we won the 2011 World Cup as well, but the reception wasn’t like this. Mumbai was at a standstill when we came back, everyone was there on their balconies, on the streets, to welcome us and cheer for us.
That will always be fresh in my mind. The T20 WC came at the right time for me, for all of us,” he signed off while reliving one of the best days of Indian cricket.