New Delhi: Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that India's 1983 Prudential Cup triumph inspired him to take his country to the peak of 50-over cricket.
"When I saw Kapil Dev holding the Cup in 1983, I was inspired. I thought, if a team like India, which was devoid of stars barring Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil, can beat the mighty West Indies then why can't Sri Lanka win the World Cup. And we did it in 1996," Ranatunga said on Saturday at the conclave 'Salaam Cricket'.
"These things inspire you. Pakistan winning the 1992 World Cup from a position of no-hope was also inspirational. The way Imran Khan led the side was fantastic. It made me think that if Imran could do it, why can't I," he added.
Saying that Sri Lanka changed the way the 50-over game was played in 1996, Ranatunga still gave his national side a strong chance in the 11th edition of the 50-over World Cup along with Australia and South Africa.
"I think Australia and South Africa stand a good chance in Australia and I can never count out Sri Lanka," said Ranatunga.
The veteran batsman though gave India little chance in the showpiece event and said that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side will struggle with its batting Down Under.
"India will struggle with their batting. The extra pace and bounce of the Australian wickets will be difficult for the current crop of Indian batsmen to handle," said Ranatunga.
Two-time World Cup winning Australia skipper Ricky Ponting also agreed and termed the 1996 Sri Lankan side as "game-changers".
"Sri Lanka really impressed with the way they approached the game in 1996. The openers (Sanath Jayasuriya and Kalu Witharan) gave the Lankans an explosive start. The game saw the rise of power-hitters and Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden from Australia followed suit," said Ponting.