In a shocking revelation, former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has said that he was expecting to be named India’s captain for the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. Eventually, MS Dhoni was named the skipper who led a young side to the inaugural title.
There is a widespread story about how both Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar refused the role of captaining India in 2007. Tendulkar recommended MS Dhoni’s name to the selectors and they took a punt on the young wicketkeeper-batsman to lead a second-string side to South Africa.
Yuvraj Singh explained why most of the senior players took a break from the tournament and how few people took the event seriously.
“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.
Yuvraj Singh added that the captaincy didn’t affect his relationship with MS Dhoni because he was always a team man. He also narrated a hilarious anecdote about Zaheer Khan’s two contrasting messages at the start of the World Cup and after India had won it.
“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. So, anyway, the seniors took a rest – Ganguly, Dravid, Sachin.
So Zak [Zaheer Khan] says ‘I also should take rest, it has been a long tour’. I remember the first game was between West Indies and South Africa, right? And Chris Gayle hit a hundred off 50-55 balls. So Zak sends me a message in the night and he goes ‘Thank God! I rested for this tournament.’ and when we won the tournament he said ‘Oh no! I shouldn’t have rested’,” added Singh.
India defeated Pakistan in a nail-biting final at The Wanderers to lift the trophy. Gautam Gambhir was India’s top run-scorer with 227 runs while RP Singh was the highest wicket-taker with 12 scalps.