Lalchand Rajput reveals why MS Dhoni gave Joginder Sharma the final 2007 World T20 over
The former Team India manager backed an under-fire Dhoni, describing him as the 'sharpest brain' in the side'.
What’s the story?
India’s manager during the 2007 World T20 triumph, Lalchand Rajput, has come out in support of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, backing him to retain his spot in both the limited-overs formats despite drawing flak for his form lately. He also explained how handing the final over to Joginder Sharma in the World T20 finals a decade ago was ‘not a fluke’ but a ‘well-thought out plan’.
"To me, talks of him stepping down doesn't sound logical because I don't see any player doing so well that he could replace Dhoni in T20s. Also, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't continue playing till he wants. He is as fit as anybody else in the team, and he is a brilliant runner between the wickets other than being very sharp while keeping. And above all, he is still one of the best finishers," Rajput told The Times of India.
In case you didn’t know…
Under then-rookie captain MS Dhoni, the Indian team won the inaugural edition of the 2007 World T20, with little-known all-rounder Joginder Sharma bowling the final over and dismissing Misbah-ul-Haq.
Dhoni stepped down from limited-overs captaincy in January this year, but has not been able to contribute significantly with the bat in T20Is, forcing critics to demand his ouster from the game’s shortest format.
The heart of the matter
Rajput, who played six international games for India, and is the current coach of the Assam Ranji team, stressed on the fact that no one in the current team has a ‘sharper brain than Dhoni’.
He also said that, although people feel that giving the final over to Joginder Sharma was merely a gamble that paid off, it was a well-thought out plan, and that the wicketkeeper batsman had tried out the medium pacer in previous games (like Australia in the semi-finals).
“In one of the team meetings, Dhoni told me that Joginder can be crucial in the last over as he can bowl good yorkers. But more than that, Joginder keeps a straight face all the time, making it impossible for others to know whether he is under pressure or not”, he said.
Dhoni will join the Indian side before the start of the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka series, with three ODIs and as many T20Is scheduled to take place.
At a time when people are baying for Dhoni’s blood, support from Rajput, who saw the former Indian captain blossom as a skipper from close quarters, would hold the 36-year-old in good stead.
The interesting insight on the final over given by Rajput also shows that Dhoni was far more than a captain who merely went on instinct, and thought out his plans well in advance.