Gautam Gambhir has said MS Dhoni’s reminder of his upcoming personal milestone was to blame for him missing out on his century in the 2011 World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai against Sri Lanka.
Gambhir led from the front for India in the final against Sri Lanka, after the fall of wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. After partnering with Dhoni for 109 runs, he was ultimately dismissed by Thisara Perera in the 42nd over of the match for 97.
“I have been asked this question many times, on what happened when I was on 97. I tell every youngster and every person that before getting to 97, I never thought about my own individual score but looked at the target set by Sri Lanka,” said Gambhir in an interview with Lallantop.
“I remember that when an over was completed, I and Dhoni were at the crease. He told me that ‘these three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed.”
According to Gambhir, him getting reminded of his milestone made him conscious about it, which resulted in him losing his wicket to Perera.
“Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka’s target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred,” said Gambhir.
“That’s why, till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred (took over). That’s why it’s so important to remain in the present… when I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn’t get those three runs,” he added.
MS Dhoni (91*) remained on the crease, and after a 54-run partnership with Yuvraj Singh and a huge maximum, he made India the world champions after a break of 28 long years.
Earlier, in the 2007 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan, Gambhir had emerged as the top scorer with 75 runs, but just like the 2011 World Cup final, he wasn’t awarded the Man of the Match. While Dhoni had received the accolade in 2011, bowler Irfan Pathan won the Man of the Match in 2007, for his 3/16.
The 38-year-old politician has made waves recently for missing a parliamentary meeting in New Delhi during the first Test match between India and Bangladesh, and also came under scrutiny when he dissed Dhoni’s rotational policy during the 2012 CB series in Australia.