ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai

'India planned final for a year'

Sidharth Monga at the Wankhede Stadium

April 2, 2011

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar is carried around the Wankhede by his team-mates, India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, April 2, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar was carried around his home ground on his team-mates' shoulders © Getty Images

Harbhajan Singh wept into the India flag, Yuvraj Singh couldn't hold back tears either. Sachin Tendulkar, not used to having his feet off the ground, for a change felt comfortable on the shoulders of his team-mates as they took a lap of the Wankhede. He was being taken around a ground that had once booed him. All that didn't matter today. A life-long dream had been achieved in a sixth attempt; in front of his home crowd, at a ground where he played most of his domestic cricket. MS Dhoni, Yuvraj, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir followed with their arms around each other's shoulders. Virat Kohli, playing in his first World Cup and inconsolable when he had got out earlier, sang Chak de India to the crowd.

There was delight, there were tears of joy, there was contentment. There was relief after a campaign in which their every move was noticed, dissected and criticised or praised. It was a moment nobody could take away from the Indian team. They took their time as they celebrated. Slowly, savouring each moment. Months of tension, build-up, sleepless nights, inability to eat regularly, cramps, vomit, sweat, toil; all of it was over, and in their hands was the World Cup.

Gary Kirsten's contribution was not forgotten. After Tendulkar had been around the ground on the strong and reliable shoulders of Yusuf Pathan, the team chaired Kirsten too, who was coaching India for one last time. An equally loud applause followed. Quietly, Paddy Upton, the mental conditioning coach, and Eric Simons, the bowling coach, watched. They watched men become kids, they watched and heard, 33,000 people's gratitude.

"There have been some incredible moments in my involvement with sport, but this has got to be the highlight," Upton told ESPNcricinfo.

Upton spoke of the year the team had been through: the anticipation, the preparation, the hard work. "We set on this a year ago. Gary and myself and Eric Simons asked the question, 'Are we ready to win the World Cup?' And we felt we had the team to win it, the skill and the talent, but mentally we possibly weren't ready."

That was in Dambulla where, as Virender Sehwag mentioned, they started visualising the World Cup final. "We had planned a year ago what we needed to do in order to set ourselves up to win the World Cup," Upton said. "For a year we have been talking about when we play the final in Mumbai, and it was amazing yesterday [Friday] to reflect in the team meeting and say, 'Guys we have been talking about exactly this for a year, and we have been preparing for it and we know we are ready.' So while there were nerves, we went in with the confidence that we are better prepared than the opposition."

Some of the players had been struggling to sleep properly, but Upton believed - as it now seems - in something preordained. "Strangely I slept quite comfortably, because the job was done, we just needed to go and act out the script that was already written."

The nerves he felt towards the closing moments, despite himself being a mental conditioning coach, he said was a feeling like no other. "I get bloody nervous. Believe you me. It was magnificent."

The greatest moment of his greatest achievement in sport was watching the players weep. And looking after the mental side of players who perhaps are under the most pressure in world cricket, he has seen them in tears of anguish too. "The greatest moment today was getting together with the team in the middle of the pitch; and just seeing the looks on the guys' faces, and the tears running down their cheeks. Tears of joy and relief and ecstasy. It was a special moment."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 60 
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Posted by jazee on (April 4, 2011, 20:17 GMT)

@Chimnay--Bravo! Very creative. You should be in writing profression.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 4, 2011, 19:24 GMT)

I tend to disagree with the writers comment on Sachin getting booed. I was in the stadium and the chants of Sachin Sachin were reverberating all over the ground and never once I heard a Boo. You may want to check the video evidence also ... SAchin is god for every single fan on the ground

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 4, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

I was waiting 4 this moment in my life!! I can die with happiness now!!may the ghosts of 2003 Wcup rest in peace!!A huge monkey is off the back now!!! as it is said that nothing succeeds like success I have some fascinating facts- -sri lanka lost both Wcup finals when they were outperformed by the wicketkeeper.Even in their T20 cup 2009 final,kamran demolished their bowling, -india won both ODI Wcups on saturday, -india started the campaign with a 4 and ended it with a 6, -india played their last and first match against the 2 teams with oustered then in 2007 Wcup, -Shane Warne emerged as "PAUL" of cricket, -sri lanka didn't beat any Wcup winning side in this Wcup, -mahela scored ton in a losing cause, -highest ever run chase in final, -274 was enough 4 srilanka 2 win..but they saw rajni & ghajini in crowd.. -home side jinx broken, -gambhir top scored under MS in both finals of 2007 t20 and this one, -srilanka drinking the tea in plate...coz india took away the cup.LOL

Posted by bira on (April 4, 2011, 5:28 GMT)

It looks like it's a good thing that Sri Lanka lost... If Tendulka could be booed, then no telling what would've happened to the Indian team if they lost.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 4, 2011, 4:54 GMT)

as a player of your own conuntry how much mental pressure a palyer has to go through. its not really easy to be a cricketer we blame them when they lose a match and we celebrater when they win. but we never realise the efforts they put behind a every perticular match.

Posted by JIGNESH on (April 4, 2011, 0:42 GMT)

India planned world cup final from a year, which is not true. India never plan anything. They even never work on their own weaknesses. They only play with great energy and positive attitude. This is the first time the host nation won the world cup, which is also a world record. Many people never think of this record. Tharanga, Dilshan and Sachin had a chance to make record of most century in single world cup, but they all got failed to make it. Now every world cup has maximum 2 individual centuries in. Well done India without any planning. I felt like We won the world cup when India defeated the Australians in quarter final. LAGEY RAHO INDIA

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 4, 2011, 0:34 GMT)

It was best world cup final. Great performance by team India. M. S. Dhoni lead from the front. Gautam, Yuvraj, Virat and Sachin played as a team to bring in world cup glory to India. Yuvraj Singh made an outstanding contribution with 4 man of match performances, deserved man of series award. Great performances by Srilanka team too.It was an amazing moment and all games against Australia, Pakistan and Srilanka were very entertaining. Heartiest congratulations Team India..you deserve it..we are proud of you...

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 3, 2011, 23:03 GMT)

The only nation to win world cup in all three formats. 60 overs, 50 overs and 20 overs. Indians Rock.

Posted by am on (April 3, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

first of all Congratulations to dhoni and Indian team.. without a doubt he is the BEST CAPTAIN.. and GREATEST ..with T20 WORLD CUP 2007, WC 2011, IPL , CPL , ASIA CUP, and no.1 team.. and many other victories.. Dhoni, Yuvi have been involved in many victories while chasing in the past and Dhoni has proved lots of points here. All throughout the tournament he came down the order to allow other guys to show their mettle.. and when it came to final.. boy he looked in amazing touch and blasted SL with his sheer power.. he was pounding that cricket ball like it will break any moment.. and to seal the WIN with a 6... WOW.!!! job well done.. My special thanks to Dhoni, Sachin, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj, Sehwag, Gambhir Zaheer Khan (Backbone Bowler), R Ashwin, Raina, Munaf , Nehra.. every single one of them showed they are CHAMPIONS..whole team proved they are all match winners and everyone had their contributions.. I think new Era will start now CONGRATULATIONS!!! TO DHONI AND INDIAN TEAM.EXCELLENT

Posted by Ashwin on (April 3, 2011, 17:44 GMT)

@ Irfan Shah:

Thank you so much. I must say that my perception of the Pakistani team has changed incredibly after this world cup. Shahid Afridi has made millions of new fans in India by the way he handled himself and his team.

The problems Pakistani team faced coming into the world cup would have killed a lesser team. They showed incredible courage. I believe that cricket in Pakistan is bound to go from strength to strength after this performance in the World Cup.

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