MS Dhoni coming out to bat ahead of in-form Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 World Cup final is considered as a masterstroke. Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has finally revealed it was his call to promote Dhoni in the batting line-up.
Tendulkar wanted his side to have a left-right combination in the middle. With Gautam Gambhir, the left-handed batsman at one end, right-handed Dhoni walked out to bat after Virat Kohli’s dismissal.
The Master Blaster wanted the Indian batters to counter Sri Lanka’s quality spin-attack. “Gautam (Gambhir) was batting brilliantly, and someone like Dhoni could’ve kept rotating the strike,” Tendulkar told Times of India.
“So I told Viru, ‘tu overs ke beech mein sirf ye baat bahar jaake MS ko bol aur next over shuru hone se pehle waapis aaja. Main yahan se nahi hilne wala (Go out into the balcony between the overs only to say this much to MS and come back fast before the next over begins. I’m not moving from here).”
Tendulkar, being superstitious, had earlier asked Virender Sehwag to sit along with him in the dressing room. “I came back to the dressing room after I got out and went and sat in my seat. During the quarter-final, against Australia, after our (Tendulkar & Sehwag’s) partnership, I had returned to the dressing room and was lying down on the physio’s table, and Viru was next to me. We hadn’t moved. Even this time (at Wankhede), coincidentally, Viru happened to be there, and I asked him to sit next to me and not move,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sehwag said that when Tendulkar completed his talk, then India captain Dhoni walked into the dressing room and he passed on the strategy.
“I asked MS to consider this strategy,” said Tendulkar. “He then went to (coach) Gary (Kirsten), who was sitting outside. Then Gary came in, and all four of us got talking about it. Gary too agreed it was the right thing to do, given the attack on hand. MS also agreed and promoted himself up the order,” he said.
The move paid off as Dhoni went on to play the innings of his life, scoring unbeaten 91 off just 79 balls.
Gautam Gambhir scored 97 in that match and laid the foundation of India’s victory. “Gautam’s knock was exemplary. It put the chase in perspective and set the platform. And the way MS finished it was brilliant. It was an imperious knock. That six was the icing on the cake,” added Tendulkar.