'When India won, I felt like I had lifted the World Cup'

Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Vijay Shankar, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Abhimanyu Easwaran and Shivam Mavi on their memories of watching the 2011 World Cup as young cricket fans

Right up our street: fans in Ahmedabad celebrate India's World Cup win  •  Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

Right up our street: fans in Ahmedabad celebrate India's World Cup win  •  Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

Prithvi Shaw

21, India and Mumbai batsman
I was 11 or 12 and I was at the Wankhede for the final, sitting right next to the players and watching and cheering with Arjun and Sara and Anjali aunty [Sachin Tendulkar's children and wife].
Yuvraj Singh's performances through the World Cup stood out for me. And also, Sachin sir and [Virender] Sehwag sir's batting - everyone loves to watch them. One thing that I have never experienced before or after is seeing the crowd after the victory in the final. It gave me goosebumps. Everything was India, India, India. I was also going crazy. I had to go home by train, but it took me one to two hours to be able to catch the train because the crowds outside the stadium were crazy and weren't moving at all. I really enjoyed that moment.
The team I'd like to face in a World Cup final would be Australia or Pakistan.

Vijay Shankar

30, Tamil Nadu and India allrounder
I was 20 and was watching the 2011 World Cup final at home. My family is so crazy about cricket that they don't miss any match, but I watched it in my room by myself. At the time I was making a mark in first-class cricket, so I followed that World Cup closely. I have this habit of watching matches alone when I am home because then I can learn things and grasp more.
MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir's 90-odd scores in the final were very, very special innings. Before that, too, there were a lot of good knocks for India, from Tendulkar, Sehwag, and of course, Yuvraj Singh - he was at his best. Overall, it was an amazing World Cup for India. I celebrated the win by jumping and cheering. That moment is very special for everyone in India. Every one of us will remember forever.
I'd like to face Pakistan in a World Cup final. When I played against them in the 2019 World Cup [in Manchester], the atmosphere was totally, totally different compared to the other games. The pressure, the crowd, the build-up just before that game, the people outside the team hotel - all that was very different compared to other matches. You get goosebumps when you stand for the national anthem at a World Cup.

Shivam Mavi

22, Uttar Pradesh fast bowler
I was around 12 then and I watched every match of the tournament. It was such a big deal for the Indian team. In fact, while watching I felt like I was playing myself! It was really fun to watch it with my family. And when India won, I really felt like I had lifted the World Cup. My family was like, "Wow, we won the World Cup!" I had goosebumps. If I had to pick one player from that India team who inspired my career, it would be Zaheer Khan. He picked up wickets in tough situations and helped in the victories. I always remember that.
I would like to face England in a World Cup final. They are one of the tougher teams, so to perform against them would be challenging and to do well against them would make me happy.

Ajinkya Rahane

32, India batsman
I was 22 and I remember watching the World Cup final in Jaipur while getting ready for that year's IPL. That was a memorable day for all Indians. Apart from Dhoni and Gambhir's match-winning knocks in the final, Tendulkar's hundred against England is one of the many performances that stood out for me. I was practising when India won the World Cup, so that's how I celebrated. It was the biggest victory in the 50-over format after 1983 and I think many youngsters in India were inspired because of that.

Abhimanyu Easwaran

25, India A batsman and Bengal captain
April 2 is always memorable because it also happens to be my mother's birthday. I was 15 years old and I remember sitting next to her, following the final at our home in Dehradun. Like everyone else, we did not move and remained sitting in our places, especially during the partnership between Gambhir and Dhoni, which was really important for us to win the game. My mother didn't know much about cricket at first and was a little wary of me going out and playing, but now she loves cricket and is a fan of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
My favourite performance of the World Cup was Dhoni in the final. He had not got many runs earlier in the tournament, so to come in early and take responsibility - he came before Yuvraj, because he knew two offspinners were bowling; Sri Lanka didn't have a left-arm spinner - and then get the team through the World Cup final really showed character. And that's something I really like watching.
Another favourite memory is of Yuvraj playing the tournament despite his sickness and staying there till the end. It was great to watch. After the victory, we cut the cake. My sister took pictures of the celebrations outside. We also had relatives at home, so we had a good get-together.
I would like to face Pakistan in a World Cup final. They are a great opposition to play, especially in the World Cup, which is always the most-watched moment in sport.

Shivam Dube

27, Mumbai and India allrounder
I was 17 and was watching the final at a friend's place. MS Dhoni's winning shot will always stay with me. I cannot forget it. [After the final] we roamed the streets of Mumbai. Our car was meant for only five passengers, but nearly a dozen of us squeezed in and celebrated India's win.
The best teams play at a World Cup, so I'd be really happy to face any team and win a final for my country.

Rahul Tewatia

27, Haryana allrounder
I was 17. I watched the final with my family at home. What I remember most is the innings from Gautam bhaiya [Gambhir] and obviously the last-ball six from Mahi bhai [Dhoni]. After that six, the whole family erupted in joy and started dancing. My dad ordered jalebis and then we went out onto the streets to continue with the celebrations.
Playing Pakistan in a World Cup final probably would be the best feeling for me.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor and Rajan Raj is an Associate sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo