One of the most memorable wins for Team India in ODIs came in 2002 when the side defeated a strong England side in the final of the NatWest series.
Chasing 326 to win, India found themselves reeling at 146/5 at one stage, having just lost the crucial wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. Along with Indian fans, even the team management had started to lose hope for a comeback; however, two youngsters – Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif – not only steered India’s recovery in the game but also took them closer to an unlikely win, before Kaif eventually partnered the tailenders efficiently to take India to a stunning victory.
Almost 20 years after the historic triumph at Lord’s, Kaif opened up on the winning moments from the match in a free-flowing conversation on The Cricket Monthly, where he recalled Sachin Tendulkar’s suprising reaction towards him as the latter sprinted across the field after the win.
“It was a massive feeling to see Sachin come to receive us. He was running towards me. The maximum reaction that you would get from him [usually] would be a pat on the back, even if you took a brilliant catch. Or at the most, he would shake hands, saying “Well played.” So I was expecting him to do that, but rather, he opened his arms up to hug me. Wow! I wish people would have captured that. It remains etched in my mind,” Kaif recalled.
John Wright, who was the Indian coach back then, also had a rather funny remark on Sourav Ganguly’s legendary celebration after the win. The Indian skipper at the time, Ganguly famously took off his shirt and waved it inside the Lord’s balcony – it was in reply to Andrew Flintoff doing the same a year ago after England’s win over India in Mumbai.
“It was payback time! I don’t think everyone would have done it. Sourav returned the gesture with interest (laughs). It’s a great photograph. We wanted to avenge the drawn series in India, so there was revenge [on our minds],” Wright said.