'India planned final for a year'

As tears of joy rolled over the cheeks of the Indian heroes after the ecstatic World Cup win on Saturday night, Paddy Upton, the mental conditioning coach of the Indian cricket team said that the team was planning the World Cup final for the last one year.

updated: April 03, 2011 11:42 IST
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Mumbai: Harbhajan Singh wept into the India flag, Yuvraj Singh couldn't hold back tears either. Sachin Tendulkar, not used to having his feet off the ground, for a change felt comfortable on the shoulders of his teammates as they took a lap of the Wankhede. He was being taken around a ground that had once booed him. All that didn't matter on Saturday. A life-long dream had been achieved in a sixth attempt; in front of his home crowd, at a ground where he played most of his domestic cricket. MS Dhoni, Yuvraj, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir followed with their arms around each other's shoulders. Virat Kohli, playing in his first World Cup and inconsolable when he had got out earlier, sang Chak de India to the crowd.

There was delight, there were tears of joy, there was contentment. There was relief after a campaign in which their every move was noticed, dissected and criticised or praised. It was a moment nobody could take away from the Indian team. They took their time as they celebrated. Slowly, savouring each moment. Months of tension, build-up, sleepless nights, inability to eat regularly, cramps, vomit, sweat, toil; all of it was over, and in their hands was the World Cup.

Gary Kirsten's contribution was not forgotten. After Tendulkar had been around the ground on the strong and reliable shoulders of Yusuf Pathan, the team chaired Kirsten too, who was coaching India for one last time. An equally loud applause followed. Quietly, Paddy Upton, the mental conditioning coach, and Eric Simons, the bowling coach, watched. They watched men become kids, they watched and heard, 33,000 people's gratitude.

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