By Somshuvra Laha

Indian cricket has had its fair share of interesting stories to narrate over the years. A look at some of the famous anecdotes from the fifth era…

Dhoni’s first punt

It was a no-brainer. At the crease was Misbah-ul-Haq, all primed up to take the attack to India with Pakistan needing 13 off the last over. This was the final of the untested T20 World Cup in 2007, and a huge opportunity for MS Dhoni to make a name for himself as a leader. Harbhajan Singh had all the experience in the world. Joginder, understandably, was a bundle of nerves. But Dhoni still went with him. All he said was: “Don’t think about the runs that they need, think about your bowling. If you get hit, don’t overthink, just concentrate on the next ball. Whatever is the result, be confident you have my support.” The rest is history.

Ishant Sharma never shied away from taking extra responsibility.

Ek aur daalega?

“Ponting strike par hai. Usko ek aur over do (give him (Ishant) one more over),” the stump microphone overheard Sehwag telling Kumble between overs during the Perth Test in 2008. Ishant Sharma, on his maiden international tour, was making Ponting with his testing lengths but without much fruition. He was tired out, prompting Kumble to look elsewhere. But Sehwag intervened, and Kumble turned to Sharma to ask, “Ek aur daalega (will you bowl one more over?” Ishant replied: “Haan, karoonga (Yes, I will).” First ball of the next over was pitched slightly outside off-stump, inducing Ponting into opening the face of his bat and edging it to Rahul Dravid at the first slip. That was the moment Ishant Sharma arrived in international cricket.

A knock on the window, and a silent nod

Why did MS Dhoni, and not Yuvraj Singh, come out to bat after Virat Kohli’s dismissal in the 2011 World Cup final? Yuvraj was in dream form. Dhoni, on the other hand, hadn’t even scored a fifty all tournament. But as usual, Dhoni went with his instinct. And he communicated the same to coach Gary Kirsten in the quietest possible way. In the words of Paddy Upton, who was part of the 2011 World Cup support staff, “I heard a knock on the window. Gary and I turned around at the same time. It was Dhoni, he indicated he was batting next. That was it. Sign language. Gary just nodded. There was no talk between the two. Dhoni had made the decision that this was the time for him to stand up and do what Dhoni does.”