Winning the cricket World Cup is an achievement not every country can boast of. The thrill, exhilaration and excitement fans feel when their country is fighting it out in the final is unparalleled and that is especially true when the country doesn’t go into the event as favourites.
Such was the case with India in the 1983 World Cup, where they faced the mighty West Indies in the final. Many were glued to their television screens, but a young Venkatesh Prasad was out in the gully, playing hard for his own team.
“My earliest memory of cricket is not something I saw or did, it was something which I heard,” says Venky. “It was in the year 1983 when India won the World Cup. We were playing gully cricket and we were told that India won.”
Prasad still remembers the feeling of celebration and joy all around as people were out on the streets celebrating the country’s triumph. It was enough to make Prasad fall completely in love with the game and try and accomplish something similar for the country on the field, in order to bring more joy and pride to the country.
“The celebration was outstanding. It was just that feeling of winning the World Cup for the first ever time that inspired me to become a cricketer,” says Prasad.
While he may not have been able to achieve the feat of winning the World Cup as a player, Venky was the junior national selections chief during the time India won the U-19 World Cup.
And for the little boy who first heard about the World Cup while playing in the gully, this must certainly have led to quite a sense of accomplishment.