An integral part of the 2011 World Cup-winning Indian squad, Suresh Raina, drew parallels of Zaheer Khan’s contribution to the Indian team to that of Sachin Tendulkar’s.
Raina called Zaheer as the Sachin of bowling department due to his ability to pick wickets whenever the Indian team demanded a breakthrough during the 2011 World Cup.
Not only did Zaheer picked wickets with the new ball, but also came back in the middle overs, to break dangerous and settled partnerships.
The left-arm pacer overall pulled off brilliant performances in the tournament, barring few occasions at death.
Looking back at the famous Indian win on its 9th anniversary, Raina stated, “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.”
Raina himself was instrumental in the tournament coming in place of Yusuf Pathan struggling in the competition.
The southpaw made crucial contributions down the order in the knockout games against Australia and Pakistan, ensuring India booked a place in the finals.
“Even though Sri Lanka put up a challenging total, everyone was calm in the dressing room. Someone was in the shower, someone was taking ice bath, someone was eating, yet everyone was thinking about the trophy, everyone in their zone and no one was talking to each other,” added the 33-year old.
Also, Raina singled out contributions from Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, who appeared determined to take India home, despite losing early wickets.
“There was just one goal and that was to win the trophy. There was pin-drop silence when Sachin paaji got out but we remained calm. You should have seen the way Gautam Gambhir (who made 97) entered the field after Sehwag’s dismissal. He was so confident,” concluded Raina.