MS Dhoni: The Story Behind his 2011 World Cup Tactics

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MS Dhoni winning shot World Cup 2011
MS Dhoni hitting the winning six in 2011 World Cup final in Wankhede Stadium.


Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will go down in history as one of the finest captains in cricket. The Ranchi native has guided his team to victory in every tournament he has participated in as captain. His courage, alertness and tactical acumen has helped him climb many scales over the course of his glorious career.

Interestingly, one decision as captain from Dhoni – his most famous one, didn’t actually originate from him.

Mahi sealed his status when he guided Team India to World Cup glory in 2011. The wicket-keeper/batsman hadn’t had a great tournament in the build up to the final. However, he opted to promote himself up the order to take more responsibility.

Dhoni
MS Dhoni

However, it has been revealed that the tactic wasn’t Dhoni’s idea to begin with. Instead, someone else convinced Dhoni to demote the in-form Yuvraj Singh in the final of the 2011 ICC World Cup. This revelation came from two integral members of the winning team – Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

During an interview, Sehwag explained how Tendulkar advised Dhoni to promote himself up the order.

“So, finally in between MS Dhoni came in and at that time Virat Kohli and Gautam were batting. So, he told MS, if right-handed batsman gets out, then go for right-hander and left-handed batsman gets out, go for left-hander,” said Sehwag.

“After saying this, he went to the bathroom and then back out. And then Virat Kohli got out and in place of him (Yuvraj), MS Dhoni went to bat. That’s why Yuvraj Singh didn’t play on number four despite being in good form. So, that was suggested by him (Sachin) and this was the first time he directly passed a message to MS,” he added.
During the final, Sri Lanka batted first and put up 274/6, courtesy an unbeaten 103 from Mahela Jayawardene. India got off to a nightmarish start with Sehwag departing for a second ball duck. The hosts struggled further as Tendulkar returned to the pavilion as well. Then, soon-to-be captain, Virat Kohli then got together with Gautam Gambhir to stitch together a fine 83-run partnership for the third wicket. Finally, Dhoni joined hands with Gambhir and added 109 runs for the fourth wicket.


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