It’s exactly a decade since the Indian team were ignominiously knocked out of the group stage of the 2007 ICC World Cup at West Indies. India had come on the back of good form in ODIs having won series in Sri Lanka and West Indies and were regarded as favourites to go all the way in the tournament.
But it was not to be as India crashed out in the group stages. It started with the defeat to Bangladesh, the lowest ranked Test playing nation. They then lost against Sri Lanka, upon which their elimination was confirmed. Sachin Tendulkar, who was part of the team, said that he had even considered quitting the game after the tournament. Speaking to Mid-Day, Tendulkar said that it was the worst moment of his career. “I was so disheartened! You feel terrible that the game which has shown you the best days of your life was now showing you the worst day of your life. I couldn’t imagine cricket could do this to you. I felt really, really terrible. I felt low and I didn’t leave home for quite sometime,” he told MidDay in an interview.
“The 2007 World Cup was obviously not good for us. The first blow was the loss to Bangladesh and then we lost to Sri Lanka. I never thought we would lose to Bangladesh. We were not over-confident, but you do feel confident about India beating Bangladesh. It was one of those uncertainties of the game,” said Tendulkar. He said that it was a call from West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards that convinced him to get back into the game. “He stressed that I have plenty of cricket left in me and said, ‘You are not going to retire now.’ He had heard from a friend of ours that I was really depressed to a point that I was literally thinking of retiring. He told me that it’s only a matter of time that I get back so don’t take any decision now.”
The 2007 World Cup turned out to be a watershed moment for India. Rahul Dravid led the side for one more Test series. It was in England and India, remarkably, went on to win it. It was after this that MS Dhoni was appointed limited overs captain and Anil Kumble became the Test captain. India went on to win the inaugural T20I World Cup in the same year and later on climbed to the top of the ICC Test rankings. India’s improvement after the 2007 debacle is emphasised by the fact that they won the 2011 World Cup; something that Tendulkar has described as the greatest moment of his career.