A brigade of future stars led by an aspiring skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni pulled off a miraculous yet unexpected victory in the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in South Africa. This was months after a star-studded Indian team failed to qualify for the group stages of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
While the victory was a complete team effort, the marquee event is fondly remembered for the heroic performances of Yuvraj Singh. The southpaw stroked a blistering 12 ball half-century, including six sixes of Stuart Broad, against England before backing it up with a sizzling 30 ball 70 against Australia in the semi-final.
Nearly 14 years after the triumph, Yuvraj has revealed he was expecting to lead India in the T20 extravaganza in the absence of senior cricketers.
“So, basically, India had lost the 50-over World Cup, right? I mean there was quite a turmoil in Indian cricket and then there was a two-month tour of England and there was also a month tour in between with South Africa and Ireland. And then there was a month of T20 World Cup so there were like four months away from home. So probably the seniors thought that they need a break and obviously, nobody took the T20 World Cup seriously. I was expecting to captain India in the T20 World Cup and then it was announced MS Dhoni will be the captain,” Yuvraj Singh said on the 22 Yarns podcast.
Despite players like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in the squad, the selectors handed over India’s reigns to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However, the surprise call didn’t impact Yuvraj and Dhoni’s relationship. The all-rounder stated that he has always been a ‘team man’ and would support anyone as captain.
“Yes, obviously, whoever becomes captain you got to support that guy whether it was Rahul, whether it was [Sourav] Ganguly, whoever in the future, end of the day you want to be a team man and that’s how I was,” he said.
Talking about the famous win, Yuvraj said that T20I was a new format back then and India didn’t have any strategy for the World Cup, adding they just played their natural game.
“But anyway, starting for the 2007 World Cup, we were a young team. We didn’t have an international coach or really big names. Lalchand Rajput was our coach and I think Venkatesh Prasad was our bowling coach and we were just a young team under a young captain which just landed in South Africa,” Yuvraj recalled.
He continued, “I don’t think we had too much of a strategy, no one had a clue about T20 strategies because it was the first tournament. So we thought ‘Let’s just go and play the way you know.”
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