India star cricketer Suresh Raina has disclosed the reason why MS Dhoni promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final against Sri Lanka.
Talking to PTI, Raina revealed how Dhoni’s confidence helped India take the leap and win the ODI title after a long gap of 28 years.
As soon as Virat Kohli got out, Dhoni informed coach Gary Kirsten about his decision to bat up the order, above Yuvraj. ‘Captain Cool’ believed that it would be an ideal situation to walk in since he could play Sri Lanka’s veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan well.
“Seeing his body language, I thought he would win us the World Cup. Dhoni (who made 91) came ahead of an in-form Yuvraj, that was a big call, but Dhoni told Gary Kirsten (coach) that he could play Muralitharan well, so he went in. I still remember everything so vividly.”
Raina even revealed the name of the player who he thought was the Sachin Tendulkar in the bowling department. The southpaw praised fast bowler Zaheer Khan and hailed his wicket-taking ability whenever the captain needed him the most. Raina opined how Zaheer was the lynchpin of the Indian attack and was aided brilliantly by all the other bowlers. Zaheer, with 21 wickets, ended the tournament as the joint highest wicket-taker along with Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Raina also credited Yuvi for contributing with both the bat as well as the ball in getting the team over the line and finishing off games.
“Whatever decision we were taking, it was all going in our favour. Zaheer bhai led the bowling attack. Everyone was talking about our strong batting line up, but I would say he was the Sachin Tendulkar of the bowling department, getting us the breakthrough every time. Then the biggest contribution came from Yuvraj, who took wickets and finished games.”
Suresh Raina played a good knock in the quarter-final of 2011 World Cup
Raina didn’t play all the matches during the 2011 World Cup as Yusuf Pathan was the favoured choice for India at No.7. But his constant failures made Dhoni take a big call of dropping Pathan ahead of the quarter-final in which Raina played.
The left-handed batsman ended up playing a good knock in the quarter-final to guide India home. In the semi-final, Raina once again came to rescue of the Indian team when he helped them to get to a total of 260 after a mini-collapse.