World Cup Timeline

'Everyone wanted us to win and nothing else'

In 1987, Kiran More understood what it felt like to be favourites for the World Cup

Kiran More fields the ball, India v Pakistan, Wills Trophy, 2nd ODI, Sharjah, October 22, 1991

Kiran More: "The pressure was on India, as we were entering the tournament as favourites for the first time"  •  Getty Images

After India won the World Cup in 1983, the whole country was talking about its next edition well before it had started. The hype was immense. It was the first time such a big cricketing event was happening in the country, so everybody was excited.
Naturally the pressure was on India as a team, more so because we were entering the tournament as favourites for the first time. It was the first time we experienced so much pressure to win at home. Everywhere we went and whoever we met wanted us to win and nothing else. The expectations were very high.
The build-up was huge. There were around 30 to 35 probables shortlisted and we had a one-month camp, in Udaipur. We had a few hiccups in the camp. In fact, it turned out to be a disaster. The hospitality was great but the practice facilities were not good enough. The first two days were chaotic. Then a top BCCI official intervened. Senior players like Kapil [Dev] and Sunil [Gavaskar] also played a part in shifting the camp to Delhi overnight, where we began intense preparations.
There was a scare one day when we were travelling to the ground for training and Sunil was hit on the head in the bus by a metal rod used by physio Dr Ali Irani for some training. We thought we had lost a key opening batsman. But luckily he managed to recover in time.
I had a finger injury and missed the game in which Chetan Sharma became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in a World Cup match. Chandrakant Pandit played in my place.
I remember my partnership with Kapil against New Zealand. We were down in the game and we needed to score some big runs at the tail end. I started off with a couple of singles to give Kapil the strike. He was going great guns. But he told me to "enjoy my batting" and not hesitate to express myself. I kept going and I timed the ball well and hit four fours in an over - all cover drives - off Willie Watson. We kept going and turned the match in our favour.
We had lost the opening game against Australia by a solitary run, and then won the next five games in succession. And at the end of the league stage, everyone anticipated an India-Pakistan final. But it wasn't to be. Australia had played outstanding cricket and they went all the way by beating England in the final.
This article was first published in 2014