On the tenth anniversary of India's 2011 World Cup triumph, Gautam Gambhir recalled an interesting anecdote on how the team dressing room had 600-700 bats during the side's group stage match against the West Indies.
The players weren't permitted to go home during the tournament, and therefore, they kept getting bats from sponsors and companies.
In an interview with The Times of India, Gautam Gambhir recalled the dressing-room situation in the Chennai match:
"We were playing against the West Indies at Chennai, and we had more than 600-700 bats in our dressing room! I mean, you can imagine having that many bats in the dressing room can be embarrassing! When we counted how many bats every individual has, we found that even the bowlers had ten bats in their kit bags!
"That was the number of bats we were getting from all the companies, which was a bit of a surprise! Since we were not allowed to go back home throughout the tournament, we kept getting bats from all the companies."
Playing a World Cup at home meant additional pressure on the team because of heightened expectations. The stakeholders would leave no stone unturned to ensure the hosts had adequate resources to maximize their winning chances. Of course, the end result makes everything worthwhile.
The only World Cup game where Gautam Gambhir opened
Despite the tsunami of bats in the dressing room, India didn't really present their best batting showing in the Chennai group game against the West Indies. With Virender Sehwag missing out, it remains the only ODI World Cup game in Gautam Gambhir's career where he opened the batting.
One of India's finest openers, Gautam Gambhir, started well in his familiar position and breezed to a quick 26-ball 22 before falling to Ravi Rampaul. Later, Virat Kohli (59) and Yuvraj Singh (113) added 122 for the third wicket to lay a solid foundation for a big score. However, the rest of the batting order failed to contribute as India were bowled out for 268.
West Indies, who were cruising at 154 for 2 in the 31st over, lost their composure mid-way to be skittled out for 188. Once again, the collapse was triggered by the wily Zaheer Khan, one of the unsung heroes of India's successful World Cup campaign.
Less than a fortnight after the West Indies match, Gautam Gambhir would top-score for India in the World Cup final to help the side lay their hands on the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy.