Why MS Dhoni promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh in World Cup 2011 final?
Updated - Oct 3, 2016 2:11 pm
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has throughout his career made a lot of decisions which weren’t the best if considered on the parameters of tried and tested, generally accepted logics. For the most important decisions on the field and even off the field Dhoni has often trusted his instinct and what we call in other terms the gut feeling. A few of those incidents have been mentioned in his biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.
One of the most significant decisions he took in the World Cup 2011 was to promote himself ahead of the inform Yuvraj Singh in the final. Dhoni hadn’t had the best of times in the tournament with the bat and had scored just 150 runs in the previous eight matches.
Yuvi, on the other hand, was the standout performer in the tournament with both bat and ball and at the end, was awarded the Player of the Tournament award for scoring 341 runs and picking wickets right through the tournament.
The Indian team was chasing 275 runs to win the title but had a really bad start as both the Indian openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were dismissed early and the emphasis fell on Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli to secure the inning for the team. They did well to absorb the pressure and ensure the Sri Lankan bowlers weren’t able to make any further inroads.
When Kohli was dismissed for 35 at the team score of 114 they still had a long road to travel needing another 161 runs to win. That was when Dhoni decided to walk in ahead of Yuvraj and played a magnificent knock of 91 not out and finished things off in style with a massive six off Nuwan Kulasekara to become the second Indian captain to lift the World Cup after a wait of 28 years.
A lot of people were surprised and a few even took that opportunity to criticize Dhoni right after he walked for his decision to hold back Yuvraj. In the movie details about why and how Dhoni took the decision have been described and here are the dialogues from the movie.
“MS Dhoni: Excuse me, Gary. If a wicket goes down, I think I should go in.
Gary Kirsten: But, Yuvi is padded up and ready.
Dhoni: No, it is Murali, I think I should go in.
Gary Kirsten: You sure?
Dhoni: Just, tell him (Yuvraj), I will go.”
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Team India’s mental conditioning coach during the World Cup 2011, Paddy Upton was in an interview was quoted by Cricket Country saying: “Dhoni’s choice to go ahead of Yuvi was nothing short of a masterstroke. An excellent example of his gut-feel for the game.
“Yuvi [Yuvraj] had delivered so many great performances. He possibly had used up a lot of his mental energy, and his energy tanks were near empty. Dhoni’s were still pretty full, and he is possibly the best in the world game for taking on the high pressure to close a critical game for his team,” he added.
Upton also said that the moment he saw Dhoni walk out, he could sense what was about to happen. “When he walked out to bat, I turned to Gary Kirsten and said, “He’s going to go and fetch the World Cup for us,” he concluded.