5 Most daring decisions taken in Indian cricket which paid off

Australia v India - Game 3
Australia v India - Game 3
Shankar Narayan

Sometimes, more than the presence of match-winners in the side, cricket matches are won when captains take certain decisions which change the course of the game or even sometimes the course of a player's career.

Captaincy in cricket is often held in high regard because it is perhaps one aspect which tends to have the greatest impact on how a match turns out, for the best or the worst for the side and it is the captain, who is most of the time under the spotlight.

Indian cricket during it's great history has had such captains who have made calls that haven't found the thumbs-up from everyone, but these decisions have in the long run helped the side win matches.

Here are five of the bravest calls by Indian cricket which resulted in wins for the side.

#1 Promoting Sanjay Bangar to open in the 2002 Headingley Test match

Sanjay Bangar hits out
Bangar's selection proved to be a masterstroke

Prior to this game, India, trailing 0-1 in the four-match Test series, went to Chelmsford for a mid-tour warm-up game. Shiv Sundar Das compiled a terrific 250 in the first innings of that game and that paved the way for a huge Indian total of 516.

In the second innings, India experimented by promoting Sanjay Bangar to the opening slot and he responded by scoring 74.

You would think that despite that score, a man with 250 under his belt would get the nod, but it did not turn out to be the case as Ganguly went for Bangar to partner Virender Sehwag in the third Test at Leeds and the right-hander paid back his captain by making a patient yet critical 68 in tough batting conditions, putting on a key stand with Rahul Dravid for the second wicket.

It was a brave call that Ganguly took, but one which paid off handsomely.

#2 Rohit Sharma pushed to open the batting in 2013

India v Pakistan: Group A - ICC Champions Trophy
The fortunes of Rohit Sharma changed dramatically after he was asked to open

Rohit Sharma, who is known by the cricketing world as a batsman with three double hundreds in 50-over cricket and someone who can tear apart any bowling unit in world cricket in the white-ball formats.

However, there was a phase in his career, when the batsman never got going while plying his trade in the middle-order. That changed when MS Dhoni and the management decided to send him up the order in the early part of 2013 and it can be safely said that Sharma was never the same batsman after that.

#3 MS Dhoni sent at number 3 position at Vizag

Image result for ms dhoni 2005
Dhoni's promotion to 3 changed his career forever

There was a point in Indian cricket when Rahul Dravid handled the gloves and did it effectively, if not brilliantly. Then a consensus came that it was time to take him off that burden and hand it over to someone else.

In what can be called as a brave punt, India opted for the 23-year-old Mahendra Singh Dhoni in late 2004 to take over the mantle and initially, he didn't seem cut out for the job.

But the turning point came in early 2005, when in an ODI against Pakistan, he was pushed to the number 3 position and he responded by making a fantastic 148 to set up a win for his side.

The decision changed his career forever and there was no disputing who the next glove-man for India would be, after that.

#4 Picking Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over in 2007 World T20 Final

Pakistan v India - Twenty20 Championship Final
India triumphed when nobody thought they would thanks to a bowler nobody believed in

It's 11 years since India won their first and only World T20 in South Africa, but a decision remains the talking point till date, the one to give Joginder Sharma the last over to bowl.

Dhoni had to choose between him and Harbhajan Singh and much to everyone's surprise, he opted for the former. Midway through the over, it seemed like a horror call after Misbah-Ul-Haq smashed him for a six.

But then, a mistimed scoop from the batsman saw him get caught by S Sreesanth and thereby leading to India's win in the final.

#5 MS Dhoni promoting himself to number 5 position in 2011 World Cup final

Image result for ms dhoni 2011 world cup final
On the big day, when the occasion demanded it, MS Dhoni rose to it and how

Up until the 2011 World Cup final, there had been quite a few brilliant performances by captains in the finale. An Indian was to add himself to that list on the 2nd of April, that year.

Heading into the last game against Sri Lanka, Dhoni's highest score in the event had been a mere 34 and so, one hoped he didn't have to do a lot to help India win the crown.

But Dhoni thought unlike others, and on the big day, pushed himself to the number 5 position ahead of the in-form player Yuvraj Singh and made an unbeaten 91 to take India home and help lift their second World Cup title.

Edited by Abhinav Munshi


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