The inaugural ICC World T20 in 2007 is fondly remembered for a young Indian cricket team emerging as the surprise champions. This was months after a star-studded India suffered a shocking exit in the group stage of the 50 over World Cup.
A young squad, led by MS Dhoni then scripted one of the memorable performances in Indian cricket history as they defeated Pakistan in a fairytale finale to become the champions. The marquee event is also remembered for the way Yuvraj Singh played a starring role with his match-defining performances with the bat including six-sixes in the same over and a blistering half-century against Australia in the semifinals.
It’s been nearly 14 years since that triumph and Yuvraj has revealed that he was hoping to be handed over the captaincy in the absence of a host of senior India cricketers including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Zaheer Khan among others being rested from the event.
“So, basically, India had lost the 50-over World Cup, right? I mean there was quite a turmoil in Indian cricket and then there was a two-month tour of England and there was also a month tour in between with South Africa and Ireland. And then there was a month of T20 World Cup so there were like four months away from home. So probably the seniors thought that they need a break and obviously, nobody took the T20 World Cup seriously. I was expecting to captain India in the T20 World Cup and then it was announced MS Dhoni will be the captain,” Yuvraj Singh said on the 22 Yarns podcast.
However, the surprise call didn’t impact Yuvraj and Dhoni’s relationship with the allrounder saying he was always been a ‘team man’ and would back anyone who is the captain.
“Yes, obviously, whoever becomes captain you got to support that guy whether it was Rahul, whether it was [Sourav] Ganguly, whoever in the future, end of the day you want to be a team man and that’s how I was,” he said.
The 39-year-old added that since the format was relatively new back then, India didn’t have any strategy in place and they just played the they knew.
“But anyway, starting for the 2007 World Cup, we were a young team. We didn’t have an international coach or really big names. Lalchand Rajput was our coach and I think Venkatesh Prasad was our bowling coach and we were just a young team under a young captain which just landed in South Africa,” Yuvraj recalled.
He continued, “I don’t think we had too much of a strategy, no one had a clue about T20 strategies because it was the first tournament. So we thought ‘Let’s just go and play the way you know.'”