'87 World Cup winners handed medals

Australia's triumphant 1987 squad comes together at the SCG to receive their long-awaited World Cup winners' medals

Three decades after one of Australian cricket's most unlikely triumphs, the men responsible have been rewarded individually for the very first time.

All 14 players and three support staff involved in Australia's successful 1987 World Cup campaign were celebrated at a ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground this evening and presented with the individual winners' medals they never received 30 years ago.

Australia's victory over England in the 1987 final at Eden Gardens was marked with a trophy presentation, but the members of the touring party didn't receive any commemorative medal to mark their achievement.

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That was rectified today following the International Cricket Council's decision last year to award medals to all players and support staff of World Cup-winning squads who didn't receive them at the time.

Led by captain Allan Border, the likes of Steve Waugh, Craig McDermott and David Boon received their individual medals during the innings break of the fourth VB ODI having celebrated their success at a private reunion dinner in Sydney last night.

Left to right: Dyer (partially obscured), Boon, May, Marsh, McDermott, Border, Reid, Taylor, O’Donnell (obscured), Waugh, Moody, Veletta, Zesers, Compton, Alcott
Left to right: Dyer (partially obscured), Boon, May, Marsh, McDermott, Border, Reid, Taylor, O’Donnell (obscured), Waugh, Moody, Veletta, Zesers, Compton, Alcott

The players and staff (coach Bob Simpson, team manager Alan Crompton and physiotherapist Errol Alcott) have flown in from all over Australia and the world for the celebration, with former off-spinner Tim May making the journey from his home in Texas.

"To be honoured here at this ground at to have a bit of a gathering last night, it's just fantastic," Border told

"We got together last night and it was like we hadn't even been apart, but thirty years is another lifetime ago.

"When you see the other guys the memories start to flood back of what the campaign was about. 

"We were unfancied back in those days. I knew the group we had would give it a red-hot go, but I suppose it was beyond our wildest dreams to actually win the thing.

"It was a special time in our lives and it's good to be honoured in this way."

Australia's triumph in the fourth edition of cricket's showpiece tournament was highly unexpected and came at a time of significant upheaval for the side.

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Australian cricket was at a low ebb in the late 1980s, having struggled to recover from the retirements of Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee in the 1984 Sydney Test.

Under the leadership of Kim Hughes and then Border, the Aussies had seemingly lurched from one loss to another in the mid-1980s as the mighty West Indies bounced and blasted their way to the unofficial title of the best team in the world.

So it was no great surprise that Border's squad that travelled to India and Pakistan for the 1987 tournament was dismissed as nothing more than a group of young and largely unknown players, most of whom were in the fledgling stages of what would turn out to be successful careers.

But the Aussies won seven of their eight matches to lift the trophy and the tournament is now regarded as somewhat of a breakout event for the likes of McDermott and Waugh, who were both just 22 at the time.

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The pair was a standout in a young squad who, apart from Border and veteran spinner Peter Taylor, were all aged in their 20s.

"We'd come out of a pretty struggling couple of years ... and that core group of players for the World Cup started to turn things around," Border said.

"From that point, we started to become more and more successful.

"That core group of (Geoff) Marsh, Boon, Dean Jones, Bruce Reid all had very, very good careers. Simon O'Donnell had a tremendous one-day career in particular

"There was a core group there of a very good cricket team and they went on to bigger and better things."