Why Dhoni Batted Ahead of Yuvraj in 2011 WC: Paddy Upton – India’s mental conditioning coach for ICC World Cup 2011 recalls the moment which came as a talkative object of the World Cup 2011 final between India and Sri Lanka.
Why Dhoni Batted Ahead of Yuvraj in 2011 WC
This decision remains as one of the most daring, instinctive, and talked-about decisions in the legendary wicketkeeper-batter’s illustrious career.
Dhoni had scored only 150 runs in the tournament in 8 matches with not a single fifty to his name till then. Yuvraj, on the other hand, had already scored a century and four fifties.
Upton said Dhoni is one of the very few players in the world who is meant for “massive high-pressure” situations.
“…He (MS Dhoni) would do what he is the best in the world at – which is seeing a team home in a chase in the second innings in a white-ball game. He had delivered nothing in the eight games before the final.
Yuvraj had done his bit, he had played his tournament. He was done, he was spent. That moment was set up for someone like Dhoni. There are very few players in the world who are genuine “massive high-pressure” players. Yuvraj Singh is not one of those, Dhoni is,” Upton wrote in his column for the IE.
At 114/3, India were still under some pressure when Dhoni joined Gautam Gambhir in the middle. It was the 109-run stand between the two experienced players that turned the game towards India.
Gambhir fell for 97 but Dhoni remained unbeaten on 91 and Yuvraj, who came in to bat at number 6 scored a solid 21* off 24 balls as India reached the 275-run target with six wickets in the bank to lift the World Cup after 28 years.
Upton also recalled how Dhoni’s understanding with then India head coach Gary Kirsten made the job a lot easier for the entire squad.
“The moment ‘t just a testimony to his leadership and courage, it spoke a lot about his relationship with Gary. Mind you, Gary didn’t have to stand up and have a conversation with Dhoni to discuss the merits and demerits of the move. It was just the two leaders of the team being on the same page.
The knock on the glass, him pointing to himself, Gary’s nod… and it was done. I do remember very clearly when Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said “Do you realise Dhoni is going there to fetch us the World Cup?” I had absolute conviction that Dhoni would come back with the trophy,” Upton wrote.