More than four decades ago, the Indian hockey team had lifted its only World Cup crown on this day, a glorious chapter which was written after suffering the ignominy of a heart-breaking loss two years ago in 1973.
After enduring a topsy-turvy tournament, the Ajit Pal Singh led Indian team had scripted history, notching up a thrilling 2-1 win over arch-rival Pakistan on the night of March 15 at the Merdeka Football Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
The golden voice of the legendary hindi commentator Jasdev Singh, describing the final winning moments of that iconic final, still reverberates in the hearts and minds of millions of Indians.
Ashok Kumar and Aslam Sher Khan, the stars of the semifinal and final, remembered those moments on the 45th anniversary of that historic win.
“We were very close of winning the trophy in 1973 but lost to the hosts despite leading by two goals at one time. I missed a goal in extra time and we missed penalty stroke in sudden death. It was heartbreaking for us. So we did not want to leave any stones unturned in 1975,” said Ashok Kumar, son of legendary Dhyan Chand, who scored the winning goal against Pakistan in the final.
India was trailing against host Malaysia in the semi-final when team manager Balbir Singh Sr pushed Aslam into the battlefield, the move earning rich dividends as he scored the equalizer in a crucial situation to take the match into extra time.
For Ashok Kumar, there was added pressure as he was the son of Hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand.
A National holiday was declared in India on the day of the final and Indian community in Malaysia was equally excited.
Balbir Singh Sr, the then team manager, also went down memory lane.
Forty five years have passed since then and India is yet to win another World Cup. Ashok Kumar lamented that despite such a historic feat, the winning team did not get its due.