‘That's what Mahi did the whole tournament’: Robin Uthappa recalls how MS Dhoni led India to 2007 WT20 triumph
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is regarded as one of the finest captains to lead Team India across all formats. The three ICC tournament triumphs that the team experienced during his tenure glorify his contribution to Indian cricket. It was the 2007 World T20 that established Dhoni’s image as a dependable leader and the rest is history which every Indian cricket fan is proud of.
It’s a known fact that the men-in-blue had defeated Pakistan to be crowned as the first T20 World Champions but only a few know what actually helped India lift the trophy. Batsman Robin Uthappa, who was a part of the World Cup winning squad, has revealed that Dhoni backed his instincts throughout the tournament which helped India return victorious.
Speaking on podcast called ‘22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapoor’, Uthappa recalled India’s clash with hosts South Africa in the tournament, in which Dhoni made a tactical fielding change and it reaped great result in the form of former Proteas captain Graeme Smith’s prized wicket.
“Just the ball before (Graeme Smith's dismissal), MS Dhoni moved Karthik from third slip to a fielding position between fourth slip and gully. The very next ball the DK took that catch. It's nuts. I don't know how he (MS Dhoni) does that. I think he is one guy who is truest to his instincts,” Uthappa said.
India had set a 154-run target for South Africa. During the chase, Smith edged a wide ball from RP Singh and Karthik dived full length to his left and took the catch. The dismissal of South Africa captain triggered his team’s downfall and India won the game, making it to the semi-finals.
Uthappa also spoke about the unforgettable final over of Joginder Sharma in the final face-off against Pakistan, explaining how the medium pacer volunteered to bowl the 20th over and Dhoni backed him.
“The choice was between Joginder Sharma and Harbhajan Singh for the last over. At the time, Joginder put his hand up, and MS also backed his instinct and gave the ball to the one who wanted to bowl. That's what Mahi did the whole tournament; he just backed his instincts. Joginder was obviously nervous,” Uthappa further said.
“Sreesanth had astigmatism and the lens we got in 2007 wasn’t of great quality at that time. We were just hoping that Sreesanth wore his lens as he used to drop catches when not wearing. But it was all destiny, the way he took that catch,” he added.