Such were the possibilities. The Champagne bottle is still in my cabinet. :-(

Preview: India vs Australia 2003 Cricket World Cup Final
March 22, 2003

I never saw the 1983 World Cup Final live; I have always regretted that. 20 years later I get my chance.

I saw India lose the 1987 semifinal to England, and I felt the pain. I saw the 1996 semifinal being awarded to Sri Lanka due to crowd trouble at the Eden Gardens. I remember Kambli’s tears and I still feel the pain of that loss. 1992 in Australia was a disaster and England 1999 was huge disappointment. Now, it is the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup and we are playing Australia in the Final. It is like a dream.

I have seen India’s famous wins - WSC 1985, Hero Cup 1993, Titan Cup 1996, Coca-Cola Sharjah Cup 1998, NatWest Trophy 2002 but nothing will compare to what I’ll feel tomorrow when the final begins. My heart will be racing, the adrenalin will be running high as I watch Tendulkar walk to the crease, mark his guard and prepare to take strike for the first ball of the Indian innings.

Will Sachin hook or duck under the first bouncer from Lee? Will Ganguly survive the bouncer? Has everybody forgotten McGrath? Will Nehra produce another magical spell? How will we get rid of Hayden and Gilchrist? Tomorrow will decide Saurav Ganguly legacy, it will either confirm that he is India’s best captain, or merely a good one.

You are all wondering what we should do tomorrow for the final. Let me tell you what we should do, we should buy a bottle of champagne, pop the cork after we win and down the bubbly while listening to Queen’s “We are the Champions.” After the dust settles and everybody goes home, I am going to open a bottle of wine, replay the final moments on my Tivo and savor each drop as I sit back and listen to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

Yes, I am crazy, but the World Cup happens only once in 4 years, and I don’t know when/if I’ll ever see India play in a World Cup final again.

Life is good. Are you ready?