'Gary Kirsten named Gautam Gambhir 'the rock' - Paddy Upton recalls inside stories on 11th anniversary of India's 2011 WC win

‘Gary Kirsten named Gautam Gambhir ‘the rock’ – Paddy Upton recalls inside stories on 11th anniversary of India’s 2011 WC win

Gautam Gambhir played a valuable inning of 97 runs in the 2011 World Cup final.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. (Photo Source: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

It has been 11 years since India won their second ODI World Cup title in 2011. Skipper MS Dhoni who played a crucial knock of 91* runs was adjudged player of the match in the finals. While Dhoni stole all the limelight with a winning six on the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara, it was Gautam Gambhir who laid the platform with a resolute knock of 97 runs that was symbolic of the steely grit and character of the batter.

To note, the home side was reeling at 31/2 in just 6.1 overs with both openers Virender Sehwag (0 off 2 balls) and Sachin Tendulkar (18 off 14 balls) sent back to the pavilion. However, it did not affect the left-handed batter as he stitched a valuable partnership with skipper MS Dhoni. After 11 years since the triumph, Paddy Upton who was involved with the team as a strength and mental conditioning coach has revealed that the team’s former head coach Gary Kirsten named Gambhir as ‘the rock’.

Gautam Gambhir was the stability, backbone of that Indian batting lineup: Paddy Upton

“Gary Kirsten named Gambhir ‘the rock’ and his name in the team was ‘the rock’. Because he was the stability the backbone of that Indian batting lineup. He allowed Sehwag to play that amazing game that he played. He allowed Sachin to come in and express himself. He allowed Yuvraj with that beautiful swing of his to come in and just be so destructive the way he did. And he set up (things) for Dhoni to be able to come in and finish things off,” Upton was quoted by The Times of India.

“So, many times the rock, the foundation, and the roots of that batting performance were provided by Gambhir ‘the rock’. No greater example than that 97 that he scored in that World Cup final. It is not spoken about much, because it wasn’t as spectacular as Dhoni’s 91*. He wasn’t the guy who hit that six over long-on,” he added.

Talking about Gambhir’s numbers in ODI cricket, the left-handed batter played 147 matches in which he scored 5238 runs at an average of almost 40. He also stroked 34 fifties and 11 centuries in the 50-over format.