Mahendra Singh Dhoni will go down in history as one of the finest captains world cricket ever had. That is a fact. The man from Ranchi has led his team to victory in every tournament he has participated in. His courage, alertness and tactical acumen has helped him climb many scales over the course of his glorious career.
As it turns out, though, one decision as captain from Dhoni – his most brilliant and famous one at that – didn’t actually originate from him.
Mahi confirmed his immortal status the night he guided Team India to World Cup glory in 2011. The keeper-bat hadn’t had a great tournament up until the final, but decided to promote himself up the order to take more responsibility. Such was the poignancy of that moment that it became the opening scene in the legend’s 2016 biopic – M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story.
However, it has now been revealed that Dhoni wasn’t the one who came up with the idea of demoting the in-form Yuvraj Singh in the final of the 2011 ICC World Cup. And this revelation has come from none other than two stalwarts of India cricket and integral parts of that winning team – Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
The duo, arguably India’s most popular opening pair, got candid during a chat with host Vikram Sathaye on the show What The Duck. During the interview, Sehwag explained how Tendulkar advised Dhoni to promote himself up the order.
“So, finally in between MS Dhoni came in and at that time Virat Kohli and Gautam were batting. So, he told MS, if right-handed batsman gets out, then go for right-hander and left-handed batsman gets out, go for left-hander,” said Sehwag.
“After saying this, he went to the bathroom and then back out. And then Virat Kohli got out and in place of him (Yuvraj), MS Dhoni went to bat. That’s why Yuvraj Singh didn’t play on number four despite being in good form. So, that was suggested by him (Sachin) and this was the first time he directly passed a message to MS,” he added.
In the final, Sri Lanka batted first and got to 274/6 from 50 overs thanks to a masterful 103 not out from Mahela Jayawardene. India got off to a horror start with Sehwag walking back for a second ball duck. It went from bad to worse for the hosts as Tendulkar departed soon as well. Kohli then got together with Gambhir to stitch together a fine 83-run partnership for the third wicket. Finally, Dhoni joined hands with Gambhir and added 109 runs for the fourth wicket, all but sealing India’s victory.