Prime Minister: Friends, welcome! It brings us great joy to see how you have filled the country with enthusiasm and celebration. You have exceeded the hopes and desires of all our countrymen. My heartiest congratulations to you all! Usually, I work late into the night at the office, but this time the TV was on, and I found myself unable to concentrate on my files. You demonstrated remarkable team spirit, talent, and patience. I could see your patience; there was no rush. You were full of immense self-confidence. So, once again, my heartfelt congratulations to all of you, my friends.

Rahul Dravid: First of all, I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet you. When we lost that match in Ahmedabad in November, you came to support us even during those difficult times. We are delighted to meet you today on this joyous occasion. Rohit and all the boys have shown tremendous fighting spirit and a never-say-die attitude in many matches. Reaching the finals itself is a testament to their hard work and resilience. It is heartening to see how these boys have inspired the younger generation. They have grown up watching the victory in 2011, and I am confident that their performance has inspired many young boys and girls in our country across all sports. So, I want to thank you, and I extend my congratulations to these boys.

Prime Minister: Congratulations to you all. You have much to offer the youth of our country in the coming times. You have given them victory, but you can also inspire and guide them in many ways. You now possess a certain authority. Why is Chahal so serious? Am I right? Anyone from Haryana finds happiness in every situation and everything.

Rohit, I want to hear your thoughts on this moment. The ground could be anywhere, the soil could be of a different nation but the essence of cricket is on the pitch. And you kissed that essence of cricket, something only an Indian can do.

Rohit Sharma: I just wanted to cherish that moment of victory forever and taste it (the soil). Winning on that pitch meant everything to us because we had waited so long and worked so hard for it. Many times, the World Cup came close, but we couldn’t seize it. This time, however, we achieved it thanks to everyone’s efforts. That pitch held great significance for me because it was where we accomplished our dreams. It spontaneously happened at that moment. The whole team worked incredibly hard, and that hard work finally paid off on that day.

Prime Minister: Every citizen of the country must have noticed it, but Rohit, I observed two extremes. I could see the emotions involved and the way you danced when you went to take the trophy.

Rohit Sharma: Sir, the reason behind it was that it was such a significant moment for all of us. We had all been waiting for this for many years. The boys told me not to just walk up, but to do something different.

Prime Minister: So, was this Chahal's idea?

Rohit Sharma: Chahal and Kuldeep...

Prime Minister: Well! Your journey of recovery has been difficult. As a player, it was likely your asset (self-confidence) that helped you to keep going. But recovering at such a time must have been challenging. I remember you made many social media posts; my colleagues used to tell me about them—how much you had recovered each day.

Rishabh Pant: First of all, thank you for inviting us here. The thought behind this, Sir, is that I had an accident 1.5 years ago, and I was going through a tough time. I remember it well because you called my mother, Sir. A lot was going through my mind, but when you called, my mother told me that you had said everything would be fine. That helped me relax mentally. During my recovery, people would say they weren't sure if I would be ever allowed to play cricket again. Especially with wicketkeeping, they would say, "He's a batsman so he might still be able to bat, but will he be able to do wicket keeping?" For the last 1.5 to 2 years, I was determined to return to the field and perform better than before—not to prove it to anyone else, but to myself. I had to dedicate myself to playing international cricket again and to help bring victories to India.

Prime Minister: Rishabh, when you were recovering, I spoke to your mother and told her two things. First, I had consulted with the doctors and asked them to inform me if you were required to be treated abroad. They assured me they would consider it. But what truly surprised me was your mother's firm belief. Although I had never met her, she conveyed a sense of assurance during our conversation. It was remarkable. I felt that with such a supportive mother, you would never fail. This thought came to my mind then, and you have proved it right. The most striking thing I noticed when talking to you was your refusal to place blame on anyone else; you said it was your fault. This level of accountability is exceptional, as many would have made excuses. Your openness to life is commendable, and I learn from observing such details; I try to learn from everyone, friends. Your patience and resilience are extraordinary, reflecting a divine connection. It is truly inspiring for the nation in general and for the players in particular. I understand how tough wicket keeping training is, standing for hours holding your thumb. But you have overcome that challenge brilliantly. Congratulations to you.

Rishabh Pant: Thank you, Sir.

Prime Minister: There are ups and downs, but prolonged perseverance pays off at the right time. Your dedication to Cricket has shown its true colours when needed. Virat, this time your journey was full of ups and downs.

Virat Kohli: First of all, thank you very much for inviting us here. This day will always remain in my memory. Throughout the tournament, I couldn't contribute as much as I wanted to, and at one point, I even told Rahul bhai that I felt I had not done justice to myself or the team. He assured me that when the situation demands it, I would perform. This had been our conversation. When we went to the field, I confided in Rohit that I lacked confidence due to my performance in the tournament and I wasn't sure if I would be able to perform up to my expectations. However, after hitting three fours in the first four balls, I felt a surge of confidence. I told him, "What a game this is; One day you feel you won't be able to score a single run, and the next day, everything clicks." Especially when our wickets started falling, I realised I had to completely surrender to the situation; I had to focus solely on what was important for the team at that moment. I was completely absorbed in the situation. I felt, I was pushed into that zone. I was into that moment. And later, I understood that whatever is supposed to happen, it happens. It was bound to happen. From the situation we won the final, we lived each and every single delivery towards the end. From the point where the final turned around. What was going through us, we cannot explain. At one point, we had lost hope, but then Hardik took a wicket, and our energy built up again, ball by ball. I am happy that I could contribute on such a significant day for the team after a challenging period. The entire day and the way we won will remain unforgettable. I am just glad that I could help the team reach a position where we could strive for victory.

Prime Minister: Everyone felt it, Virat. Your total was stuck at 75, and then it suddenly moved to 76. These things happen sometimes. Everyone believes you will do it, and that belief becomes a driving force. But what was your family's immediate reaction when you were stuck at 75?

Virat Kohli: The good thing, Sir, was the time difference, so I didn’t talk to my family much. My mother tends to worry a lot. But the main issue was that despite my efforts, things weren’t working out. When you try so hard and think you will succeed, sometimes your ego gets in the way, and the game slips away from you. I needed to let go of that and focus on the team. Like I said, the situation of the game was such that there was no room for my ego. Once I respected the game, it respected me back that day. That was my experience, Sir.

Prime Minister: Many congratulations to you.

Prime Minister: Paaji...

Jasprit Bumrah: No sir, whenever I bowl for India, it's often during crucial stages, whether it's with the new ball or...

Prime Minister: Do you go to the field after having Idlis? (laughter)

Jasprit Bumrah: No, no, Sir. Whenever the situation is tough, I’m called on to bowl and I feel happy when I’m able to help the team get through the tough overs. It gives me a lot of confidence, I carry that confidence throughout my overs. In this tournament, there were a lot of situations where I was supposed to bowl the tough overs and I could help the team and help win the matches.

Prime Minister: From what I’ve observed, once a batsman reaches the 90s, no matter the mood for victory, they become noticeably more serious. Similarly, in the last over, when the outcome hinges on a single ball, the tension must be immense. How do you handle yourself in such moments?

Jasprit Bumrah: If I start thinking about 'what if we lose?' or if I try to do something extraordinary, I’ll get nervous and likely make mistakes. If I focus on the crowd or other people, I might slip up. So, in those moments, I centre my attention on myself and what I can do. I recall past instances when I have performed well and helped the team. I try to remember those experiences and give my best by drawing on them.

Prime Minister: But this must be very stressful, my friend. A day without paranthas will feel incomplete!

Jasprit Bumrah: No sir, in the West Indies, we didn’t get to have idlis or paranthas. We managed with whatever was available. The scenario was good, though. We were travelling back-to-back, and as a team, the tournament went very well. We won the World Cup for the first time, and I had never experienced such emotions before. I feel very proud and have never felt better than this.

Prime Minister: You have done a great job. The nation is proud of you. It makes us proud.

Prime Minister: Yes, Hardik, tell me.

Hardik Pandya: First of all, Sir, thank you for inviting us. As I mentioned during the interview, the last six months have been quite eventful for me, with many ups and downs. When I went to the ground, the public sometimes booed, and many other things happened. I always believed that I should respond through my game, not with words. I was speechless then, and I am speechless now. I always believed in fighting, never leaving the field, because life shows both difficulties and successes. I believed, Sir, that I would stay, work hard, and with the support of the team, players, captain, and coach, I was well-prepared. God blessed me with the opportunity in the last over.

Prime Minister: That over of yours became historical, but what did you say to Surya?

Hardik Pandya: When Surya caught the catch, our first reaction was to celebrate. Then we realised we should check if Surya was alright. We confirmed he was fine and celebrated again. He had caught a game-changing catch, and our tension turned into joy.

Prime Minister: Yes, Surya?

Suryakumar Yadav: I am overwhelmed, Sir! At that moment, I was only focused on catching the ball. I wasn’t thinking about whether I would catch it or drop it, just about pushing it in to save runs. The wind was blowing, and once it came into my hand, I threw it in but I saw that Rohit was far away. So I caught it again. We have practised these situations a lot. I always thought about one thing that I contribute in batting but how else could I contribute? So I felt that I needed to contribute to the team in fielding too.

Prime Minister: Do you practice catching the ball this way?

Rahul Dravid: Surya has taken 185, 160 such catches in practice.

Prime Minister: Really?

Suryakumar Yadav: Yes, Sir. Since the start of the tournament and after coming back from the IPL, I have practised many such catches. I didn't know that God would give me the opportunity to catch one in such a crucial moment. But I was calm because I had faced this situation before during my practice. However, there were more people in the stands this time. It felt great to be in that moment.

Prime Minister: I must commend you... the entire country was tense with the ups and downs, and then a sudden turn of events! The situation changed entirely. This is significant, and if it becomes a part of your life, you are indeed very lucky, my friend.

Suryakumar Yadav: I feel like I've earned another star, Sir. I’m feeling elated.

Prime Minister: Many congratulations to you!

Suryakumar Yadav: Thank you, Sir!

Prime Minister: Your father's statement has been widely discussed across the country. When asked, his answer was very touching. He said, "First the country, then my son." This is truly remarkable! Yes, Arshdeep, please share your thoughts.

Arshdeep Singh: Sir, thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet you. I am feeling great about the cricket match! I feel very proud that we have won this tournament. As I mentioned earlier, it feels great to bowl alongside Jassi bhai. He puts a lot of pressure on the batsmen, and they often try to take risks against me, which allows me to take wickets. The other bowlers have also performed exceptionally well, so I was enjoying it as I was getting the wickets as a result of that. So I feel the credit goes to the whole team.

Prime Minister: When Axar used to play in school, I once had the chance to give him a prize.

Axar Patel: That was in the 8th standard.

Prime Minister: I have no personal connection with the world of sports, but whenever there is any significant event in sports, I find myself getting involved.

Axar Patel: That catch was crucial because their partnership was strong. A wicket fell in the first over, but none after that. When Kuldeep was bowling, the wind was blowing in the direction I was standing. I thought it would be an easy catch, but the ball started moving quickly with the wind. Initially, I planned to catch it with my left hand, but then I realized it was going to my right hand. I jumped and, when I felt the ball in my hand, I realised I had caught it. Most of the time, such catches are missed, but I was lucky to secure it at that crucial moment in the World Cup, just when the team needed it.

Prime Minister: So, the Amul milk is working, it seems? (laughter)

Kuldeep Yadav: Thank you so much, Sir.

Prime Minister: Should we call you Kuldeep or Deshdeep?

Kuldeep Yadav: Sir, I am first and foremost from my country, so obviously, Sir, I enjoy playing all matches for India. It makes me very proud. My role in the team is as an attacking spinner. I always bowl in the middle overs, and the captain and coach's plan is always for me to take wickets during that period. The fast bowlers give us a good start by taking one or two wickets, making it a bit easier to bowl in the middle overs. I am feeling very good. Having played in three World Cups, it was a great opportunity, and I am very happy to have lifted the trophy, Sir.

Prime Minister: So, Kuldeep, how dare you make the Captain dance?

Kuldeep Yadav: I didn't make the Captain dance!

Prime Minister: (Laughter)

Kuldeep Yadav: When Rohit told me that we should be doing something (celebration act), I made a suggestion, but he did not do it the way I told him..

Prime Minister: So, is there a complaint?

Prime Minister: The youngest player in 2007 and now captain of the victorious team in 2024... What has your experience been like?

Rohit Sharma: Sir, to be honest, when I first joined the team in 2007, we toured Ireland where Rahul Bhai was the captain. After that, we went straight to South Africa for the World Cup. We won the World Cup there. When we returned to India, it took us five hours to reach Wankhede Stadium from the airport as all the Mumbaikars were on the street. At that time I thought winning the World Cup was easy. Over the years, we often came close but couldn't win the World Cup. For this World Cup, I can confidently say there was a lot of desperation and hunger among the team players. When we went to the West Indies, there were many challenges, especially as cricket was being played in New York for the first time, and the practice grounds were not good. But none of the boys focused on that; they were solely focused on how to play the final in Barbados. It feels great to captain a team with such a united goal of 'how to win?' Seeing so many smiles on people's faces, carrying the Indian flag and walking on the streets late into the night, brings immense joy. Our aim is to inspire the next generation, just as Rahul Bhai, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Laxman inspired us. We have a responsibility to pass on that inspiration, and with this World Cup victory, I am sure the coming generation will have that enthusiasm.

Prime Minister: Rohit, are you always so serious?

Rohit Sharma: Sir, actually, only the boys can tell you that.

Prime Minister: Congratulations on winning all the matches! This time, even the participants were more, with many new countries joining in. In cricket, those who play often don't realise the enormity of their achievements because they are continuously working hard. The impact on the country is significant, but Indian cricket has a unique characteristic. India's cricket journey has been incredibly successful, and it has started to inspire other sports as well. Athletes in other sports now think, "If something like this can happen in cricket, why can't it happen in our sports?" This is a tremendous service being done through you. To advance ourselves and the country, we must cultivate the same spirit in all sports, aiming to raise the glory of our flag worldwide. Today, talent is being discovered throughout the country, from small villages and tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Previously, talent mostly came from big cities and major clubs, but now, more than half of your team members come from smaller places. This is the true impact of victory, and its effects are long-lasting. The statement from the Afghanistan Minister was very interesting. Afghanistan had got the opportunity to play with South Africa. It was a successful journey for them but they gave the credit to India. Afghanistan's Minister credited India for Afghanistan's cricket progress, saying that the Indians prepared their players.

Prime Minister: You all have made Rahul 20 years younger.

Rahul Dravid: No, the credit goes to these boys. I had been a player and a coach. So, I always say that we can only support them. I haven't scored a single run, taken a single wicket, or caught a single catch in this tournament. We have a whole support staff team, including other coaches, who work very hard. And we all can only support the team. In pressure situations, when players like Virat, Bumrah, Hardik, or Rohit have to perform, we can only support them and provide whatever they need. but they are the ones who actually perform in the field. The credit goes entirely to them. I am extremely grateful and delighted that they gave me such a wonderful experience. The team spirit in this tournament was excellent. Even among the eleven players who played, four boys were sitting out. Mohammed Siraj played the first three matches, but in the USA, we played with an extra fast bowler. So, he played only three matches in the tournament. Three boys in our team didn't play a single match: Sanju, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Despite not playing, they maintained great enthusiasm and never looked down. They never felt demoralized. This was very important for us and our team. So, this attitude was crucial for our team, and I greatly praise their spirit.

Prime Minister: I appreciate that as a coach, you pay attention to the entire team. Anyone who hears your words will realise that even those not seen on the field contribute significantly. Such a strong team spirit is essential for success. But Rahul, I would like to know your thoughts on the 2028 Olympics in the USA, where cricket has now been included. I believe that more attention will be focused on the Olympics than the World Cup. If the Government of India, the Cricket Board, or you as individuals were to prepare for the Olympics, what would your reaction be?

Rahul Dravid: Definitely Modiji, playing in the Olympics is not an opportunity that cricketers have traditionally had, as cricket will be included in the Olympics for the first time in 2028. I think this will be a monumental event for the country, the cricket board, and the players themselves and we must perform well. As you mentioned earlier, it's an excellent chance for us to stand alongside other sports, where so many great athletes bring immense pride to our nation. The Olympics is such a prestigious event, and having cricket included is a matter of great pride for the sport. I am confident that whoever is on the board at that time, our BCCI, will make thorough preparations for the tournament. I hope many of the boys from this team, including young players like Rohit and Virat, will participate.

Prime Minister: Yes, there will be many new faces by 2028!

Rahul Dravid: Indeed, by 2028, we will see many new players. I am hopeful that our team will work hard and aim for gold, which would bring immense joy and happiness.

Prime Minister: I understand that seeing tears of joy after a victory also makes one realise how tough the moments of defeat must have been. People often cannot fathom the pain a player endures during those moments of loss, having come so far and then falling just short. The joy of victory highlights how arduous the journey through defeat must have been. I witnessed all this firsthand and felt confident that you would overcome it. Today, I see that you have indeed done it. Congratulations to all of you!

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