Kolkata:When India celebrated the first anniversary of their historic ICC World Twenty20 triumph on Wednesday, one man was quietly savouring the moment in Australia.
Joginder Sharma, the man who was entrusted by skipper MS Dhoni to bowl the final over in that high-voltage clash against Pakistan, is spending days in isolation, away from cricket. Only wife Shikha and four-and-half-month old son Manan is there to accompany him.
The all-rounder is recovering from ankle and shoulder injuries after he was operated on at the Avenue Hospital in Melbourne nearly three months ago.
But he is itching to get back to international cricket.
"I know it's tough to get into the side again... It's even tougher than making a debut. So I've to fight really hard. And it's just the performance only which can get me back into the team again," Sharma said from Melbourne on Thursday.
Asked whether he is targetting the India-England series to make a comeback, the Rohtak player said, "It depends on how I have recovered. After I go back (to India) on September 30, I'll be assessed by my phyiso then I'll set a specific goal."
For India's final over hero, who had dismissed Misbah-ul-Haq in the summit clash to hand the country the inaugural Twenty20 Cup, that was his last international appearance.
Sharma picked up the injury during his stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL), forcing him out of international cricket.
"It's really disappointing to sit out due to injury, having performed on a big stage... Really, frustrating at times. But you can't help but to have patience. My family has been a real support in these months and I am confident to be back again," Sharma said.
He felt it was Dhoni who had really helped him realise his potential.
Twelve runs were needed from the last over and Dhoni had picked the rookie all-rounder ahead of experienced offie Harbhajan Singh.
"I was told not to do anything extra ordinary but stick to the basics, hitting the right areas. Our idea is to bring (Mohammad) Asif to strike. I gained in confidence after bowling the dot ball first.
"The six in the next ball did not affect my morale. Twenty20 is highly unpredictable, two or three balls can decide the course of a match... and it happened in the next ball. It was a moment I, my family, friends and everybody will cherish forever. It changed my life," he recalled.
Sharma, who bowled a tidy 3.3 overs giving just 13 runs and with the wicket of Misbah in the last over, became the unlikely hero of the Twenty20 triumph.
Asked how did he celebrate on Wednesday, Sharma said, "I still become nostalgic, have goosebumps, when I think about that moment. Yesterday, I got a few phone calls from my family as most of the friends don't have my number in Melbourne. I had a quiet chat with my wife and few friends here, remembering the triumph.
"The win is more special, since everybody had written India off following the poor show in the World Cup. But with the performance, and our bowl-out win over Pakistan, slowly fans started supporting us," Sharma said.
Remembering the BCCI-organised victory parade, Sharma said, "It was a really surprise welcome for us. We expected a grand welcome but did not have any idea that it would be so huge. It was really a memorable moment, something that is difficult to express in words."
Sharma also felt that the win in the Twenty20 World Cup was no less important than the 1983 World Cup triumph against the West Indies.
"I don't want to comment on the win in 1983... I was only born that year. But I feel both the wins have equal importance. If we beat world champions Australia, South Africa and Pakistan en route to the T20 cup, in 1983 the Kapil Dev-led team had beaten then world champions the West Indies. It's not fair to compare. Both are highly important achievements for Indian sport."
Even as discussion rages about the greatest sporting achievement -- whether it's the Twenty20 or ODI World Cup triumph or the gold medal in Olympics by Abhinav Bindra --Sharma said it's about personal perceptions.
"Yeh sochne ka nazariya hai... Woh bhi desh ke liye samarpit tha, aur humne bhi desh ke liye hi kiya hai (It's all about the mindset... They too did it for the country while we too gave off everything for the nation)," signed off the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 Cup hero.