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‘When Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said ‘Do you realise he is going there to fetch us the World Cup?’

The Prelude

June 24, 2010: 10 months earlier than World Cup
India was taking part in the remaining of the Asia Cup

That morning at the breakfast desk, Gary Kirsten requested the query: “If this was the World Cup final, do you think we are ready as a team to go out there and win?” The reply, between bowling coach Eric Simons, Gary and myself was “No”. We don’t assume we’re prepared to win a World Cup if it have been right this moment. That actually sparked the dialog in earnest and element. Like what are the issues we want to do in the subsequent 10 months? We spent the subsequent 10 months, actually each single day, making ready the group, in order that after we arrived at the World Cup, we might be prepared.

Natural Cup nerves

Feb 19, 2011: Game 1 (Bangladesh)
Playing the opening sport at Dhaka, Virender Sehwag blasted 175 as India strolled dwelling by 87 runs.

We didn’t put an excessive amount of stress on ourselves to strive and win each one in every of the spherical robin video games. So I assume we went there with the pure nerves of beginning a World Cup, however as a group very ready, and thankfully, pretty accustomed to the form of situations in Bangladesh as effectively.

We centered on the course of and let the outcomes take care of themselves. It wasn’t simply rhetoric and ideas and concepts. It was one thing that we have been actually loving at the time, as finest we might. We have been specializing in the course of. The form of cricket we have been taking part in, we knew that if we performed actually good cricket persistently for 100 overs of an ODI sport, we might win extra video games than not. If we did that, we had an excellent likelihood of going on to win the World Cup.

So we actually didn’t concentrate on shedding or profitable, however on the form of cricket we’re taking part in. We knew at that time that we have been already taking part in good cricket all through the 100 overs of a one-day sport, each with the bat and ball. The focus was to maintain taking part in the absolute best cricket and not fear an excessive amount of about the consequence. In the opening match, it was the normal form of nerves, a mix of nerves and pleasure of beginning what was going to be a very huge event, the place we had very huge targets.

‘When Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said ‘Do you realise he is going there to fetch us the World Cup?’ After 4 unsuccessful makes an attempt in 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007, Sachin Tendulkar was part of the group which received the World Cup in 2011.

How Ashwin noticed it coming

Feb 27: Game 2 (England)
Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel bowling India to an unbelievable tie.

Before the England sport, Ravichandran Ashwin and me emerged out of elevators into the breakfast space at the similar time. I keep in mind it clearly, Ashwin asking me, “Paddy, do you believe in fate?” and I said, “how come?” And he went, “I just believe that we are meant to win this tournament.” There was such a peaceful knowingness about the dialog. It wasn’t someone attempting to consider or attempting to create a constructive thought. It was a deep knowingness. I should say I hardly ever felt it earlier than and one thing in my head said, ‘don’t get caught up on this’ however there was an actual sense.

The actual constructive we took from that sport was how we stood up and performed actually good cricket at key moments, after we wanted to management the sport again. So that was an actual huge constructive that underneath that form of stress, towards one in every of the greater groups like England, we have been in a position to maintain our nerve. Particularly in the bowling division – we in all probability went into that event barely stronger in our batting division. So it was very nice to see bowlers get up and be counted after they wanted to.

Munaf particularly bowled beautifully. We had labored fairly a bit collectively. What was actually nice was that Munaf actually opened up to me and informed me about his youth and upbringing. I’m undecided how public it is the place Munaf got here from and what he went by means of in his course of to changing into an expert cricketer. It actually is a tremendous and heart-wrenching story. So in actually understanding the place he got here from, I was in a position to join with him in his method and in his “language”, so to communicate.

For Munaf, it was probably not a lot about using sports activities psychology ideas, or concepts or instruments, because it was about having conversations to assist be certain that he was simply in the most relaxed temper. He carried out rather well when he was aggressive. If he wasn’t aggressive sufficient, he wasn’t engaged sufficient in the battle. And if he turned too aggressive, it could begin working towards him. So it was actually simply to assist him keep in his very confrontational, aggressive mindset that will get him into the absolute best area. So he was truly an actual pleasure to work with as a result of he was actually open.

I was not sitting with him as a psychological conditioning coach however somebody actually curious about listening to someone’s story, and his story is fascinating. So it was about one human being actually interested in the different with out intentionally doing it.

Munaf Patel, World Cup winner who once earned Rs 35 a day at tile factory, retires a happy man With 11 wickets, Munaf Patel was the third highest wicket-taker for India in the 2011 World Cup. (File photograph)

It all performed in Yuvraj’s fingers

March 6: Game 3 (Ireland)
The begin of Yuvraj Singh’s World Cup legend, he dazzles with each bat and ball.

In a method taking part in the minnows did play into Yuvraj’s fingers. They weren’t considerably high-pressure video games, and there was no bowler who was significantly quick to hassle him. It was a reasonably medium-pressure expertise, bowling to their batsman and dealing with their bowlers. He has typically actually thrived in these average- or medium-pressure situations. So it actually did play into his favour, on high of him being effectively ready, and clearly, actually using a wave of confidence at the time. So all of it simply performed into his fingers.

At that point, there wasn’t clear proof that he was combating something. And I assume, thankfully, he had additionally obtained himself in all probability fitter than he had been for a lot of his profession and for that individual event. So it was the extra health that was in a position to see him by means of the difficulties he would have been experiencing together with his respiratory.

It was not one thing that we observed and spoke about. In truth, it was solely in the direction of the finish of the event, and significantly in the remaining, that you got here to know he was truly throwing up in the change room. It is then we began to discover issues and even then, in the remaining, he might simply excuse or go it off as potential nerves.


Not counting on a number of good males

March 9: Game 4 (The Netherlands)
India stumble whereas chasing 191, Yuvraj to rescue once more.

It’s all the time harder in a event like the World Cup to play an underdog. As the underdog, you don’t have anything to lose, there’s no disgrace in shedding. So you’re in a position to absolutely categorical your self. Contrarily, as the favorite, you have every thing to lose, so one can take stress onto the shoulders. So that was in all probability the issue, to strive and not take the stress of being the clear favorite in these video games and to actually exit there and concentrate on taking part in the finest cricket that we might play towards barely weaker groups, these that aren’t of the similar high quality as a few of our different opponents.

But at the similar time, the entire preparation of the group for that event was that we can not depend on anyone or two or three people to carry us by means of most of the event. Every one in every of us, in some unspecified time in the future, ought to have the option to get up and lead or ship for the group. If it’s not your day, what’s essential is to get in line and actually help the particular person whose day it is. So we weren’t Sachin or Sehwag to dominate each time. Or, because it emerged, Yuvi. It was a case of each particular person taking the discipline and searching for for it to be your day, figuring out that solely two or three of you will even have the day as theirs. If it is not your day, then go and help the guys who’re in good type.

Win or loss, Dhoni’s reactions are similar

March 12: Game 5 (South Africa)
From cruising at 269/1, India undergo their solely lack of the event.

Dhoni reacts equally to wins and losses, in that he doesn’t say very a lot in any respect. In the group conferences, he was very a lot Captain Cool. He largely allowed Gary to do the talking put up video games. Gary too is very measured. He talked like there was little distinction between the two sides. The conversations have been round the similar traces, the form of cricket we performed, the place we did effectively, and what might we do higher subsequent time. So between Dhoni and Gary, we had a really calm, level-headed management that didn’t get overexcited with profitable or overly involved with shedding. That went a great distance simply to assist gamers mentally. Mentally, they have been on an excellent keel by means of the ups and downs and pressures of an enormous event like the World Cup.

However, the defeat introduced a sure humility to our batting line-up. It made us actually realise that at no level can we relaxation on our laurels or take our foot off the pedal, even when we’ve had an unbelievable begin.

Another factor was a few of the batting stoop occurred in and round Dhoni, and we knew that wasn’t an issue. We knew that when it actually counted, Dhoni was going to come to the celebration. We didn’t assume he would take so long as he did. But we have been assured he was all the time going to come to the celebration.

We knew no group can contact us

March 20: Game 6 (West Indies)
India’s most medical sport. Yuvraj’s 100 takes India to 268, Zaheer Khan scalps three, Windies all out for 188.

We didn’t realise how essential it was to take your type into the knockouts in any event. We didn’t have that consciousness then – there weren’t sufficient T20 tournaments. Teams which might be up and down and even people who don’t begin effectively, study from errors. Those are the ones who take confidence from qualifiers. We positively knew that although we had good phases, we seldom performed the full 100 overs the method we all know we have been able to. That West Indies sport was an actual confidence-booster. We began to see how tough we might be if we play to our potential. We knew no group can contact us. We began to really feel that after that sport.

‘When Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said ‘Do you realise he is going there to fetch us the World Cup?’ Yuvraj Singh acknowledges his half century as he stands with Virat Kohli throughout the Cricket World Cup Group B match between India and West Indies, in Chennai. (Source: AP)

We wanted Raina to ship, and he did

March 24: Quarter-final (Australia)
Chasing 260, Suresh Raina’s thrilling cameo and Yuvraj’s fifty assist India win the most tough World Cup sport.

Almost each sport, Gary would say: “It’s not going to be everybody’s game. Only for one or two of you, it will turn out to be your day. So as soon as you find yourself in that place, make sure you take it as deep as possible.”

Suresh was all the time an thrilling, flamboyant cricketer. He performs a high-risk sport which when it comes off, he takes it to the opposition. How many instances have we seen Suresh hitting the first ball of the over to the boundary! He likes to assault, likes to get on the entrance foot and put stress on the opposition. He had the high quality to depart an influence on that World Cup and he delivered that day. We have been underneath correct stress in that chase, we weren’t forward at any stage. We wanted him and Yuvraj to have that mature partnership. One would have thought it was MS Dhoni territory however we had Yuvraj, who had already performed so effectively, do it once more for us. In truth, earlier than the event, Yuvraj had a dream the place he had visions of him hitting the remaining’s profitable runs! In his dream, it was hitting it towards Australia. Effectively, the 4 he hit off Brett Lee was a manifestation of that dream. It wasn’t the remaining however it was towards Australia, very shut to a remaining.

‘When Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said ‘Do you realise he is going there to fetch us the World Cup?’ Yuvraj SIngh and Suresh Raina celebrating after profitable the World Cup quarter remaining match towards Australia, in Ahmedabad. (Express photograph by RAVI KANOJIA)

Everyone was conscious that Pak win would imply they going to the remaining and staying at the Taj, a 26/11 terror goal

March 30: Semi-final (Pakistan)
Tendulkar’s 85 takes India to 260. Five bowlers take two wickets apiece to shoot out Pakistan for 231.

The fierce Indo-Pak rivalry is extra about spectators; gamers themselves don’t have that fierceness and animosity. They know one another pretty effectively and get alongside effectively. Pakistan was all the time an easy sport for which to put together the Indian group for as they didn’t want any further motivation.

There was an extra extraneous political stress that no one spoke about however all people was aware of: if India misplaced, Pakistan would go to Mumbai and keep at the exact same Taj Hotel that was a goal of the terrorist assaults. Each one in every of us knew the symbolism of that with out having to say it. That was probably not excellent to permit Pakistan to win and go to keep at Taj; it didn’t stack up on an brisk stage. So, there was that extra stress that this was to be a non-negotiable sport to lose.

Sachin had performed 5 World Cups. Not simply immensely skilled, he was heads and shoulders above the group when it comes to his accomplishments, however he was a group participant. He didn’t overly communicate an excessive amount of in group conferences however when one thing wanted to be said, he would say it – and when he did, which wasn’t fairly often, it had gravitas and gamers would hear. It was his final World Cup and gamers knew the solely factor he didn’t have in his trophy cupboard was a World Cup. I know lot of gamers had dedicated to saying they need to win and reward him the World Cup. He knew that he had that help. Sachin wasn’t ready for different gamers to reward him that Cup; he knew his time was going to come to do his half in bringing it dwelling. We noticed that in the innings he performed.

‘When Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said ‘Do you realise he is going there to fetch us the World Cup?’ India’s Sachin Tendulkar is carried by fellow group members after Team India received the 2011 Cricket World Cup in Mumbai. (Source: PTI)

Mind, physique, spirit and soul blowing

April 2: FINAL (Sri Lanka)
India wanted 275 for the Cup, they scored 277. Dhoni sealed it with a six after Gambhir performed the Rock.

There was actually no considerations about it being a cakewalk or taking the toes off the pedal. The gravitas of taking part in a World Cup remaining in Mumbai wasn’t misplaced on any single participant or help workers. It was about whether or not we are able to maintain the gamers on an excellent keel and not get them overly excited and anxious. If followers assume it was an enormous second that day, you should know what it was like in the group lodge and the group bus driving to the stadium to play a World Cup remaining in India at the world’s noisiest cricket stadium. The entire theme over the final 10 months was about the form of cricket we performed and not about profitable or shedding. It was about every participant taking duty when it was their second to bowl or bat. That actually was the problem, to keep inside that course of and not let the thoughts run away to the finish the place we had both received or misplaced the cup.

If we return 10 months, one in every of the methods we devised was to deal with the stress of the World Cup that nobody had ever dealt with earlier than. One of the methods we ensured it was that each time we had a group assembly – in these 10 months, in any sport we performed – Gary or myself would use the language ‘when we play the final of the World Cup or when we play the final in Mumbai’. That was the two methods we prefaced each single assembly for these 10 months. Players would have heard that fifty instances from Gary’s mouth and 25 instances from me. We is perhaps taking part in Australia in Nagpur in that part, however as an alternative of simply speaking about that match, we might say, ‘when we play the final in Mumbai’’ and then discuss the form of cricket we needed to play.

We by no means said, ‘when we win’; it could all the time be ‘when we play the final’. So the gamers have been used to that and after we reached the remaining, the gamers have been used to going to that place so many instances of their heads. We have ready each single time we met the final 10 months – plus longer than that in our lives – we now have ready for this second. And we’re prepared for this second. And this is not a shock or further huge second. This is what we now have been making ready for. The key was to protect that temper – we now have ready, we now have the sport plan, we now have every thing we want, we don’t want to do something totally different, intelligent, or particular – we’re prepared.

Nothing in my life compares to what I felt when that ball left Dhoni’s bat and all of us realised that it was going the distance. I can’t inform you how lengthy that feeling lasted – three minutes, quarter-hour, I do not know. That ecstasy flowing by means of my physique – if I might bundle it and promote it, I can be the richest man in the world. It was thoughts, physique, spirit and soul blowing.

Talking about the remaining, I want to point out Gautam Gambhir’s contribution. Everyone talks about Dhoni’s innings however Gambhir held the total inning collectively. Mind you, Gambhir performed his finest cricket with Sehwag, a flamboyant and expansive batsman who was so thrilling to watch. Gambhir, in the meantime, was the nuggety little man at the different finish. Gary all the time used to name him “The Rock”. He was so secure and constant. When India would do effectively, it could all the time be Sehwag on the highlights bundle. Gambhir did what he had performed all by means of his profession – he was Mr Stable, not the present pony, not the man taking part in wonderful photographs. He was the glue that held the Indian batting collectively. The Test group had Rahul Dravid as The Wall, the one-day group had Gambhir as The Rock.

I typically get requested about Dhoni’s elevation in the batting order, him going forward of Yuvraj. This is a first-hand recollection and not a narrative that I heard. To begin with, Dhoni all the time likes to keep inside the dressing room throughout a sport and not sit out. It was the similar that day. He was behind the full glass frontage that is there at the Wankhede dressing room. Gary was sitting exterior and I was proper subsequent to him. I keep in mind distinctly, I heard a knock on the window. Gary and I turned round the similar time. It was Dhoni, he indicated he was batting subsequent. That was it. Sign language. Gary simply nodded. There was no discuss between the two. Dhoni had made the choice that this was the time for him to get up and do what Dhoni does. He would do what he is the finest in the world at – which is seeing a group dwelling in a chase in the second innings in a white-ball sport. He had delivered nothing in the eight video games earlier than the remaining. Yuvraj had performed his bit, he had performed his event. He was performed, he was spent. That second was arrange for somebody like Dhoni. There are only a few gamers in the world who’re real “massive high-pressure” gamers. Yuvraj Singh is not a type of, Dhoni is. The second ‘t just a testimony to his leadership and courage, it spoke a lot about his relationship with Gary. Mind you, Gary didn’t have to get up and have a dialog with Dhoni to focus on the deserves and demerits of the transfer. It was simply the two leaders of the group being on the similar web page. The knock on the glass, him pointing to himself, Gary’s nod… and it was performed. I do keep in mind very clearly when Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said “Do you realise Dhoni is going there to fetch us the World Cup?” I had absolute conviction that Dhoni would come again with the trophy.

‘When Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said ‘Do you realise he is going there to fetch us the World Cup?’ Indian group after profitable the ICC Cricket World Cup. Express photograph by Kevin D’Souza.



The Indian group suffered a large type stoop after the remaining with stars like Tendulkar and Zaheer failing to match their Cup performances ever.

In hindsight, it was very clear to myself and Gary that we knew that we might end our tenures after the World Cup, no matter the place India completed. So we had deliberate and ready for the World Cup, however not for ‘what next’. The finest analogy that I can use is that of mountaineers. About 80 per cent of the mountaineers who die on the mountains are on their method down. The motive being that they plan to go to the high, however don’t plan to get down. We made the similar mistake as the mountaineers. We have been leaving however we didn’t have the perception to inform the group or the BCCI that ‘you guys need to have firm post-World Cup plans’. So I assume all of us are liable for the group drifting for 12 to 18 months. They got here down to earth for the huge bump.

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