How Australia’s 1987 Cricket World Cup win was a turning point for the sport in the country

That was the blunt assessment from critics and fans alike of Australia’s 1987 cricket squad.

It was Steve Waugh’s first World Cup and even the future great of the game conceded that Australia was “not a great side”.

“It’s still one of my favourite tours,” Waugh told ABC Grandstand’s Legacy World Cup podcast series.

“We were the rank outsiders … and our form in the previous 12 months was poor in one-day cricket.”

The playing squad of 14 arrived in India with a smattering of support staff. Back then, a physiotherapist was considered a luxury for a touring side.

It’s a world apart from the modern set-up that includes specialist batting, bowling and fielding coaches, a doctor, physiotherapist, dietician, strength and conditioning staff, security, data analyst, team manager and media manager.

“We were, no doubt, underdogs — a very young side,” Australian opening batsman Geoff Marsh said of the ’87 touring party.

India wasn’t hot — it was bloody hot. And from the very first training session, the Aussies knew this campaign would be an enormous challenge, both mentally and physically.

“I remember arriving in Madras [now Chennai] for our first practice and India was training at the same time and we were sent to the number two ground,” recalled Marsh.

The side was led by Allan Border, better known as AB or Captain Grumpy, depending on his mood at the time. Former Australian cricketer Bobby Simpson was still finding his way as the national coach.

Few knew it at the time, but the often underestimated Simpson was about to revolutionise the game.

“It was a complete transformation in the way Australia organised their cricket,” said ABC cricket commentator Jim Maxwell.

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