'MS is going out to fetch us the trophy': Upton recalls Kirsten's words, explains Dhoni's 'brave decision' in WC final
The Wankhede stood on its feet with people all across the nation stepping onto the streets to celebrate India’s World Cup triumph in 2011.
No Indian fan can forget Ravi Shastri’s words from the commentator’s box– ‘Dhoni finishes off in style… A magnificent strike into the crowd.’ It was truly a never-to-be-forgotten moment for every individual who was glued to his television set. It was a triumph that will be remembered for generations as Dhoni smashed Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara for a six to seal the 2011 World Cup win for India. (Also Read | 'I was walking in. Paaji said..': Kohli reveals Tendulkar's 3 words to him after being dismissed in 2011 WC Final)
The iconic Wankhede stood on its feet with people all across the nation stepping onto the streets to celebrate India’s triumph. India had won its first World Cup under Kapil Dev's leadership in 1983 and were not able to lay their hands on the coveted trophy until 2011.
The day remains one of the greatest days in Indian cricket history, and as the nation celebrates its 11th anniversary on April 2, former India mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton has recalled the final and talked about Dhoni's decision to go ahead of Yuvraj Singh.
"Dhoni going up ahead of Yuvraj. Obviously, at that time Yuvraj was in such amazing form. Even if he scored nought and got no wickets in the final, it was him obviously who was going to get the Man of the Series. He was in such good form. So, it was a very brave decision for Dhoni to go ahead of him in a final because Dhoni’s high score at the time was 35 or 36," Upton told the Times of India.
"He had made no contribution or notable contribution throughout the World Cup (till then). But those really big moments, it’s widely known and has been proven before and subsequent to that over and over again, the man for the really big moment with a real big match temperament in that team, taking the team home, particularly in chasing is MS Dhoni. That’s what he specialised in his whole career."
Upton also recollected his chat with head coach Gary Kirsten, who had faith in Dhoni's ability to herd the run-chase. The skipper put up a 109-run stand for the fourth wicket with Gautam Gambhir and eventually sealed the win with a six over long-on.
"Kudos to Dhoni for taking that brave decision, as great leaders do in those key moments. And it was really just a very brief conversation between him and coach Gary Kirsten to recognise that this big moment is the moment for Dhoni," he further added.
"I remember when Dhoni walked down to bat we were still a long way out from the total, from winning the title. I remember turning to Gary who said – ‘MS is going out there to fetch us the trophy’. Such was Gary’s confidence in MS Dhoni’s ability."