Cricket as a sport is played in many countries and, well, the popularity has been immense over the years. However, out of all the countries in the world, the only country where it is considered to be a religion is none other than India. Over the years, the country has had many heroes on the field as well as off the field. While cricket always had popularity, it started to grow for the first time in 1983 when India won the tournament under the able leadership of Kapil Dev. At that time, there were many other heroes too who contributed. The likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny, Madan Lal, and many others deserve credit for what they managed to do. Cut to 2011, when India won the World Cup, the entire country had just one name in mind and that was Sachin Tendulkar.

Given the kind of contribution that Sachin Tendulkar had towards the game for India, that was the best possible reward the team could have given him before his retirement in 2013. While Tendulkar himself had a huge role to play with the bat to help India win, there were other players too who played a significant role. So today, let’s take a look at some of those players who helped us realize our World Cup dream in the years 1983 and 2011 but all we can do is miss them because they have retired.

Kapil Dev: He’s the OG leader for team India in the real sense of the term and well, it was under his captaincy when India won the World Cup for the first time. He might have retired from cricket long back, but certainly not from our hearts.

Sunil Gavaskar: He is officially regarded as India’s first batting legend, especially in Test cricket, as he was the first Indian batsman to score more than 10000 runs in Test cricket. Even today, 10,000 runs in International cricket is a dream for many. He served as the ideal opener for Team India; even today, some of his classic shots are unmatchable.

Virender Sehwag: Whenever we talk about Virender Sehwag and World Cup in the same context, the first thing that often hits our mind is how he always used to start the Indian innings with a first-ball boundary during the 2011 World Cup. In his day, Sehwag was nothing less than a butcher who could ensure that with his hard-hitting abilities with the bat, he could ruin the confidence of literally any bowler in the world. He always played with a fearless attitude, and well, in terms of swag, there’s literally no player who can match what he managed to do.

Gautam Gambhir: If Virender Sehwag was all about aggression, Gautam Gambhir was all about ‘controlled aggression’ during his playing days. While he had the ability to play and score dashes in limited-overs cricket, he also had the ability to bat for as long as 6 hours in an overseas Test against New Zealand to ensure India didn’t lose the game. Without his 75 in the 2007 T20 World Cup and 97 in the 2011 ODI World Cup, it would have been literally impossible for India to win the games. A true legend indeed.

Yuvraj Singh: He is undoubtedly one of the finest all-rounders that India has had, and well, he always ensured that he delivered for the country when it mattered the most. He became the ‘Man of the tournament’ in the 2011 World Cup as he picked wickets and scored runs heavily as well. What made the efforts even more special was that he was dealing with health issues at that time related to his cancer. However, like a true warrior, he played the whole tournament and didn’t step back. A legend indeed.

Harbhajan Singh: As he himself always acknowledges, if he didn’t get the right opportunity from team India and Sourav Ganguly, he might have been into the profession of truck driving in Punjab. However, his hard work, compiled with a bit of luck, ensured that he became one of the finest off-spinners for India. His contribution was unparalleled, especially during the 2011 World Cup, and well, we certainly miss our “Bhajju paa” on the cricket field.

MS Dhoni: Last but certainly not least, how can this list actually be complete without the mention of MS Dhoni, our very own “Captain Cool”? He’s the one who led fearlessly like a true leader in the 2011 World Cup and 2007 T20 World Cup that eventually helped India become a force to reckon with in world cricket. Yes, we are getting to see him play for Chennai Super Kings in IPL and out of all the players mentioned in the list, he’s the only one who’s atleast playing some form of cricket. However, the big question is, for how long? We already miss him tremendously in International cricket and well, there’s every reason why we might miss him big time very soon in IPL as well. The thought in itself sounds frightening, right? Well, it indeed is.