Allan Border has done more than 10 men put together in keeping the image of Australian cricket afloat. That image has received a big boost now with Border's triumph in the Reliance Cup. He is far removed from the 'ugly Aussie' image and hence no one could have deserved more such a triumph.

Border was back in the deep end when he was dunked, clothes and all, in the swimming pool the day after history was made by his boys. 'AB' wiped away the memory of dank days to recount to The Sportstar the highlights of Australia's win.

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How's the feeling day after achieving the stupendous feat of winning the World Cup, especially considering very few people gave you a chance?

It's probably going to take a fair amount of time before it sinks in. We can all sit back and say we are world champions but I don't think any of the players quite realise the enormity of the achievement. The lads have all been walking around with smiles and they have been very friendly. Obviously they are having a great time. This is like a dream come true.

Now that you have broken the spell and revived the spirit of your team and your nation, what do you look forward to?

I expect us to become a good cricket team. What we have got to achieve now is a very consistent performance in Test cricket. I think we have reached a stage where we are capable of playing a solid game of one-day cricket. Obviously that will continue though I must say we will win some and lose some. It is important that this team continues to develop its skills at Test-match level. To me that is the next big hurdle.

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Don't you think you will be pressured to wear the label of world champions. What kind of expectations will this kindle in Australian public, the fact that you are the champions?

It's one of those unavoidable situations. It's going to be difficult. Every time you go out into a match, people will be expecting fireworks and victory. I don't think it is possible to win every time. I do believe the side has really emerged now. There are a lot of good young cricketers who have come through the hard times. They are hungry of success. That will ensure they will play well. The Sheffield Shield competition will be given a huge impetus. Cricket in general in Australia will receive a big boost. The fringe players will start to come through because they are keener. The competition for positions in the team will be fierce. We have the basic nucleus now of a very good side. Hopefully, we'll will clear that next hurdle.

How do you account for this great transformation in your side?

Right from the early stage of my career we have had a very poor record overseas. This time it is simply amazing the fact that we have won so many matches and in fact won the world championship. It is quite incredible compared to our previous performances overseas. I don't know what the reason for that is. What has now happened is that the players have experienced India. They have come to terms with India. There is no fear of touring here as there used to be. Touring here has become a lot easier than it has been in the past. The hotels are excellent and the food is excellent. Every- thing about a tour of India is quite enjoyable. I think the boys have responded to that in a very positive way.

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You have been backing yourself more and more as a bowler even in the end overs. How do you account for your earlier reluctance to take on this job?

In the past two years I have not bowled much because of a shoulder injury. Because I had the winter off I had the time to work on my shoulder. I have got to a stage where I am quite happy to come on and bowl. I didn't quite realise I had to bowl quite so much. I have been a little negative in my thought process. I don't think I'm that much of a bowler or that dangerous. In one-day cricket you can get away with it. It has been a bit of a competition for the Salim Maliks, the Azharuddins and Gooches as bowlers. The faster bowlers have got hit at times. A bowler who can command direction in order to bowl in a reasonably right area can force the batsmen to take liberties in the one-day situation. They make mistakes and they get out. This is something I have started to realise more and more. If I can get away with four or five overs and maybe pick up a wicket or two it gives the side a hell of a lot more variation.

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Has not the win given you one great reason to carry on with your career?

I definitely wanted to be a part of the revival. We have taken a first major step and still there is a lot of work to do. I think I have had enough years of disappointment to deserve this chance to push the side on to achieving greater things. The next few years will be full of good times, I hope. I would like to believe my career has been extended by this win.

Some time ago you were quoted as saying you would consider going to South Africa. Is that true. Has not this win helped in that you can't possibly think of giving up official cricket now?

Honestly, I have never really considered going to South Africa. I know I have been quoted as saying I would go if some incredible amount of money was offered. It came up this way. I was put a question several months ago: 'If you were given a million dollars or so, would you consider going to South Africa.' I said, 'yes I would consider it.' Of course that was construed to be yes. I'm very thrilled about Australian cricket's future. I want to be a part of it.