A historic win for India, the 2007 T20 Word Cup will always be a moment of glory and victory in the history of Indian cricket. A young and inexperienced team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was captaining India for the first time won the trophy in Johannesburg, against all odds. However, the absence of legendary and groomed players like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sourav Ganguly meant India would never be able to win the cup.
It was Rahul Dravid, the then ODI captain, who convinced Tendulkar and Ganguly to take a backseat in the competition and give youngsters a fair chance to prove their capabilities.
“Yes, it is true (Rahul Dravid asked Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to not play the 2007 T20 World Cup),” Lalchand Rajput the team manager of the side for the 2007 World T20 said.
“Rahul Dravid was the captain in England and some players came directly from England to Johannesburg (for the T20 World Cup) so they said ‘let’s give an opportunity to the youngsters’. But after winning the World Cup they must have repented it when we won the World Cup,” Rajput added.
“Because Sachin always kept on telling me that I am playing for so many years and I have still not won the World Cup. Ultimately, he won in 2011, but he was dying to win that World Cup and this team won on the first attempt,” he further added.
Rajput also reckons how the team flourished under the strategic leadership of the captain cool as he managed to get the best out of each player.
“As a team, in a dressing room, the atmosphere should be very good. You should motivate players, and the players should not feel the pressure. Our theme during the World Cup was ‘tension lene ka nahi, dene ka (Don’t take tension, give tension)’. Dhoni really believed in the motto that people will talk about things, but we need to focus on our strengths, and don’t have to worry about what others are saying,” he said.
“Indian team never had much match practice of T20I World Cup. We had only played one T20I match, the other team had played more matches. We were not well prepared, but that hunger was there. There were certain senior players who were looking to make a comeback and cement their place in the team. It was a good mixture of senior and junior players,” he added.
It was not only us who loved Dhoni as a captain. Zimbabwe team’s coach thinks the former Indian captain’s leadership and vision played a vital role in India’s triumph as he always played with the player’s mind, not the player’s game.
“He always thought two steps ahead,” Rajput said of Dhoni. “I felt as a captain he was a mixture Dravid and Ganguly. He used to give his players a lot of confidence just like how Ganguly did and he also put a lot of thought in the game that was similar to Dravid.”
MSD went ahead to become one of the most successful captain and a game-changer in every match, especially after adding the World Cup in 2011 and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy to Indian cricket’s cabinet. He calculatingly yet swiftly moved team India to the first position in ICC rankings.
It was not only Rahul Dravid, but also players like Sachin and Sourav who will walk on fire for their team, without a second thought.
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