No one can overlook Navjot Singh Sidhu’s contribution to India’s win at the fifth Asia Cup tournament when it was hosted by the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, for the second time, in 1995.
The dashing right-handed opening batsman put together three half centuries to ensure India would lift the trophy for the fourth time in five editions, since it was first held in 1984.
Sri Lanka were the only other team to lay their hands on the Asia Cup, when they won the tournament, at home, in 1985. India did not participate in that edition.
Coming back to Sidhu’s string of key knocks in 1995, they proved vital to help India overcome, first Bangladesh by nine wickets in the opening game, and then against Sri Lanka in their last round-robin match.
Even when India lost by 97 runs to Pakistan, Sidhu scored a stoic 54 but did not have much support from the rest of his teammates.
Although India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan all ended the round-robin stage with two wins each, India and Sri Lanka would qualify for the final on the strength of a better run-rate over Pakistan.
Chasing a total of 231 to win India were sent on their way to victory by a captain’s knock from Mohammad Azharuddin (90 not out), who forged a match-winning third wicket partnership with Sidhu (84 not out).
India won by eight wickets and were also presented a steel sword in a gold-plated scabbard, and Sidhu went home with the prestigious Man of the Series Award.
As a professional cricketer career spanning over 19 years, Sidhu turned to politics and also dabbled in television broadcasting. He currently serves as the Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums of the State of Punjab.