Former India’s Mental Conditioning coach, Paddy Upton has opined that it was the right call to promote MS Dhoni ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 World Cup final. Upton asserted that Dhoni is one of those genuine massive high-pressure players while Yuvraj isn’t. MS Dhoni scored a game-changing knock of 91 runs to help the team lift the trophy. Before that match, the former Indian skipper was struggling in the tournament as he had amassed 150 runs in eight matches without scoring any single half-century.
However, in the final of the showpiece event, MS Dhoni took an unusual decision by promoting himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh. The move worked very well for India as Dhoni amassed 91 runs and helped them win the title. India’s mental conditioning coach for the World Cup, Paddy Upton reckons that it was the right decision and said that Dhoni is one of the genuine massive high-pressure players while Yuvraj isn’t.
In his recent column for Indian Express, Paddy Upton said, “…He (MS Dhoni) would do what he is the best in the world at – which is seeing a team home in a chase in the second innings in a white-ball game. He had delivered nothing in the eight games before the final. Yuvraj had done his bit, he had played his tournament. There are very few players in the world who are genuine “massive high-pressure” players. Yuvraj Singh is not one of those, Dhoni is.”
It was a 109-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni that turned the game towards India in the final. Gambhir was dismissed on 97 but Dhoni remained unbeaten and amassed 91 runs. Yuvraj walked in to bat after Gambhir was sent back to the pavilion and scored 21 runs to get Indian over the line with six wickets in hand. Upton also credited the understanding between Dhoni and head coach back then, Gary Kirsten for the World Cup win.
Elaborating the same, Paddy Upton said, “The moment ‘t just a testimony to his leadership and courage, it spoke a lot about his relationship with Gary. Mind you, Gary didn’t have to stand up and have a conversation with Dhoni to discuss the merits and demerits of the move. It was just the two leaders of the team being on the same page. The knock on the glass, him pointing to himself, Gary’s nod… and it was done.”
He further added, “I do remember very clearly when Dhoni walked down the stairs, I turned to Gary and said “Do you realise Dhoni is going there to fetch us the World Cup?” I had absolute conviction that Dhoni would come back with the trophy.”