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
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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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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 60 
Posted by jazee on (April 4, 2011, 21:17 GMT)

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

Posted by   on (April 4, 2011, 20:24 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   on (April 4, 2011, 15:43 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 birkat on (April 4, 2011, 6:28 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   on (April 4, 2011, 5:54 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 Jaggadaaku on (April 4, 2011, 1:42 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   on (April 4, 2011, 1:34 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   on (April 4, 2011, 0:03 GMT)

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

Posted by Zycr9 on (April 3, 2011, 20:32 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 Ashwin89 on (April 3, 2011, 18:44 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.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 16:35 GMT)

Well done, leading by example MS, absorbed the pressure and played a captain's innings. Sri Lanka froze, not sure - no confidence, as seen in their selection of 4 greenhorns in a mega-final. What India did in 2003. Old Indian team mindset evident in Sehwag and even Tendulkar, playing for themselves and to the gallery?? Time for a new opening duo.

Posted by vipinchaudhary2325 on (April 3, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

Vinod Kambli will be da happiest man..... He was really crying in 1996, dont worry Vinod, we won it now... u dont have to cry nymore....

Posted by mjroyal on (April 3, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

An amazing fact is that in this cup, India won last 4 matches against the last 4 world champions and also in that order. i.e. Windies (1st champion 1975), Aus (3rd champion 1987), Pak (4th champion 1992), and Srilanka (5th champion 1996). And like the EPL football , Cricket world cup also has been dominated by 5 teams only.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (April 3, 2011, 11:34 GMT)

The best thing about India's victory is they had the tougher tournament, having to beat Australia and Pakistan in the finals to make the final, whereas Sri Lanka only had to beat England and NZ. I do think Sri Lanka were indeed the second or third best team but it does highlight though the stupid finals fixture which didn't have all the top teams play each other. Worst fixturing ever, but saved by probably one of the greatest World Cup finals ever.

Posted by Smahuta on (April 3, 2011, 9:58 GMT)

Well done India. Worthy winners indeed!

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 9:52 GMT)

Congratulations from whole Pakistan to our Indian neighbors. Your team really played very well. And I really hope that while you guys continue rocking, our Pakistani team too can draw inspiration from the amazing hard work you guys have been doing since the last few years. We too really need a good board management, a group of good coaches (for batting, bowling, mental conditioning and even fielding) and dedicated disciplined and talented players. All the best!

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

Dhoni had a point to prove and there was no better way to do it. I will cherish the six for a long time in my life... Congratulations team India..Sri Lanka played really well too and deserve a word of mention for their cricketing spirit.

Posted by SachinLara1 on (April 3, 2011, 8:56 GMT)

@StJohn :even malinga went over 10 runs in his last over that he bowled...also i think dat lankans dont need murali 2 b expensive in his last over of his career....

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

Tears of Joy is the result of sweat of blood is it not?well done India..gives a billion indians to soak up the delight vicariously forgetting mundane hash realities and irksome earthly wories fora fleeting while thouigh!

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 7:41 GMT)

The Indian team had always been endowed with truly gifted players, but it has been the mental toughness which had been found lacking..and has been the primary reason of us not permforming when it mattered...but the current team with the perfect blend of experience and youth ably guided by a remarkable leader whose calmness and poise has converted a group of half belivers to pack of deadly wolves which has never let go the faintest scent of victoy till it has been hounded and devoured...I salute these brave men in BLUE for making a billion indians proud...as quietly savour this moment of greatness bestowed upon us.

Posted by mjrvasu on (April 3, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

More than a billion supporters of the Indian cricket team are delirious with joy. And no arguments with success, as they say. However, Indian cricket selectors should now do a reality check. One, half the side that has won the World Cup yesterday, would be soon on their way to hanging their boots; even if they do not, they cannot be fit for future competitions at the global stage. We salute the seniors for their contributions, but they can do a real service if they took the trouble of identifying youngsters to fill in their shoes. The second reality is - when you look at the Indian team, with all 7 specialist batsmen in the eleven, there is not even one on the reserve bench. You may have had Y Pathan, an 'all-rounder', but no real batsman of the calibre of the first 5 or 6. India needs to identify strong batsmen to fill the vacancies that will fall very soon, when Sachin and Sehwag leave. Right now selectors will have to begin their search to complete the next batch of 15.

Posted by S.T.Zamindar on (April 3, 2011, 6:47 GMT)

Yes We Can Dhoni and his Men in Blue have reaffirmed our faith in the famous slogan of Mr. Barack Obama " YES WE CAN" It was the self belief of this team in it's ability and confidence to lift the 2011 World cup that prevailed over difficult situations. Kapil's Devils too passed the difficult examinations on the way to the 1983 World cup win with a similar self belief after defeating the mighty West Indiesin Berbice on their home turf. There were several eye catching instances in the 2011 final to announce to the whole world that YES WE CAN. Zaheer's initial miserly & incisive bowling, Gautam Gambhir's grit & courage to swim against the current & of course Captain Dhoni's steely resolve to weather the storm. Dhoni's Men In Blue has given a message to the youth of the entire nation YES WE CAN, Have self belief , go out there & fulfill your dreams …… Impossible is Nothing.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

Hats off to Dhoni & co for the great victory

Posted by Q72941 on (April 3, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

Congratz, after all the little master got there with his fellow's help. Cheers

Posted by SriramNatarajan on (April 3, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

@StJohn: If Vaas bowled 10 overs? If Aravinda played this match? If Ranatunga was the captain for this match too? Malinga, Murali, Randiv everyone bowled 8 or 9 overs and they cudn't do anything.. another 1 over wudn't have mattered.. the only good thing happened for SL in this match is the wonderful century of Mahela..

Posted by Latha2620 on (April 3, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

While we all congratulate d players let us not forget d support staff in this melee. d support staff has done an excellent job & it shows in the way in which d younger guys handled the situation after India lost d openers early & were in a precarious position @ 31/2. well done Gary, Upton, Simmons & d rest of d support staff. fantastic win for India. let d party begin.

Posted by pontingkhan on (April 3, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

India deserved it this time. Well played Sri Lanka though !

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 5:04 GMT)

Congratulations are not enough for the brilliant victory against Sri-Lanka in World Cup 2011 Final. Specially Dhoni and Gambir did the damage for Sri-Lanka. A fantastic innings from Jayabordone will be historic as well.

Posted by pincheater on (April 3, 2011, 4:58 GMT)

Kohli's comments summed up the emotions of 1 billion..Just like Rasool pookutty's comments about "OM" at Oscars.. great feeling and tears..

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 4:48 GMT)

ITS WEL PLANNED VICTORY..........

Posted by cricketlovee on (April 3, 2011, 4:14 GMT)

FROM AUSTRALIA :::::CONGRATS INDIA....YOUR TOP 7 BATTERS ARE WORLD CLASS.. NO ONE CAN MATCH THEM...BUT STILL NEED BOWLERS WHO CAN HIT 140Kmp TO DOMINATE CRICKET.....A LOT DEPEDNDS ON ZAHEER PROVIDING WICKETS... INDIA STRUGGLE WITHOUT ZAHEER..WHAT IF HE IS INJURED.... STILL NEEDS TO IMPROVE BOWLING...BUT WHEN IT COMES TO PLAYING IN SUB-CONTINENT... NO ONE CAN MATCH INDIAN BATTING...NOT EASY TO GET THROUGH TOP 7...DESERVING CHAMPIONS

Posted by Sachin-all_time_hero on (April 3, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

Sachin U deserve this man...

Posted by Ali_Eorse on (April 3, 2011, 2:55 GMT)

Cannot believe that SL lost to India. It was sure victory given the over-ratedness of Sehwag and no discipline of Sreesanth. What happened? I cannot believe it.

Posted by Balumekka on (April 3, 2011, 2:54 GMT)

@ STJohn: Yes we can argue that way also. But lets forget all those and lets give full credit for the Indian team for playing like champions. Chasing 275, 32-2 with Sehwag and Sachin gone, only a class batting line-up at middle order like India could chase that against a good bowling unit. As Sri Lankans we have to admit the truth and SL have not handled the pressure well. Mind you, Dhoni was under tremendous pressure (perhaps 100 times than Sanga) because the loads of expectations, but still he handled the pressure and carried the team towards victory. We must be proud of our team and the same time must accept that India was the better team. Congrats team India!

Posted by dpkr on (April 3, 2011, 2:50 GMT)

No Controversies ..No sledging..No gossips .. Did not reply back to critics...No media attention...No emotions or reactions to any onfield diecision..Adorable sport hero...Money , Fame and Power at his disposal...All records at his feet...but still feet on the ground....He got to be human god.....We love you SRT...Learnt a lot from you.

Posted by abuu_cricinfo on (April 3, 2011, 1:58 GMT)

i'm not an indian, but i couldnt stop my tears either!! well done men in blue.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 1:09 GMT)

There was no way we would have not won. Not just all the planning and the nerves, the Gods were with us. Sachin would have been left unenlightened this lifetime with any other result. And that was not to be. The whole country turned kids. People were on the roads at midnight racing and honking their bikes and cars :-)

Posted by RJHB on (April 3, 2011, 0:56 GMT)

Well done India, congrats, a worthy winner. Don't feel as bad that Australia lost to the eventual winner now. I never felt like Sri Lanka were quite good enough to deserve being WC champion 2011 but they fought hard anyway. So India, all you have to do now is win the next two WC and you'll be up with Australia!! hahaha not likely!

Posted by pankaj7tripathi on (April 3, 2011, 0:44 GMT)

Having backed India since before the start of the tournament and having argued the case for India against all comers, even I left to "brew up" at 31-2. Thank God that India had such a determined team with true character. Well done the management team and the players for you have made the country proud.. With tears of joy...Thank you

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 0:28 GMT)

St. John

Too many IFs don't you think ? Well played SL though.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 0:28 GMT)

St. John

Too many IFs don't you think ? Well played SL though.

Posted by intcamd on (April 3, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

Good report. Usually, even reports which start in a complimentary manner on Indian cricket around here end up giving back handed compliments to the Indian team. So it is refreshing to finally read something that is not mealy mouthed. And the author does a good job of describing the preparations that went in, and the mental stress this team was undet.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2011, 0:10 GMT)

this article bought tears to eyes... most of us, me included, have no frigging clue what it takes to succeed .... We can use this moment to inspire ourselves to become better at anything we want to become better at... and as a friend of mine believes - it's not the kill - it's the chase that matters ....its not the destination .. its the journey. Happy Chasing.

Posted by espnsatish on (April 3, 2011, 0:07 GMT)

StJohn has a good point. Also it is surprising that Dhoni did not give any reason for not selecting Ashwin. It would have been an easy match if he was selected instead of Sreesanth.

Because only the match result matters, congrats Team India!

Posted by vattettan on (April 3, 2011, 0:05 GMT)

@StJohn: My friend, different bowlers bowl at different times in the innings. AS you mentioned, if spinners bowl at death to Dhoni India would have won much earlier. They did not concede so much just because Indians were consolidating and were not needed to take any risk. Keeping wickets was primary those times. Look at the figures of Indian bowlers. From figures one (like you) would think there wasn't much difference between Zaheer and Sreesanth. But, if you watched, you would know what kind of DIFFERENCE was there between them!

Posted by Hyderabadikhiladi on (April 2, 2011, 23:35 GMT)

As they say, being talented is not enough, you gotta believe, and that's been the difference between this Indian team and those in the past. Good job Paddy!

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 23:31 GMT)

No IFs , No BUTs , its all part of the game .. Congratulations to Team INDIA , and SL played well too .. its just not their day.. Mahela played superb .. Very good to watch a competitive game than a one sided World Cup Final .. Keep Going India..

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

Well done India. Dhoni captancy through out the world cup showed similarity to Imran Khan. In character, game plan and calmness he was similar to Imran Khan when he led his team to glory in 1992. Hats off to captain Dhoni and his team.

Pakistani fan.

Posted by indianu on (April 2, 2011, 23:27 GMT)

i love my india Congrats India team i prode of u

Posted by Crictragic1 on (April 2, 2011, 23:22 GMT)

I agree with St John. Malinga and Dilshan should have bowled more. Let the batsmen get the runs off SL's best bowler - Malinga. I think the occasion got on to the Lankan captain, and even the senior advisers didn't quite advice him correctly. However, what a wonderful game, and the better team on the day won. SL selector's certainly got it wrong. Playing Randiv ahead of Herath and Mendis - were both injured? Randiv bowled some crap, and in my view, hasn't got the mettle. Anyway, well done both teams....

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 23:17 GMT)

Siddharth, we didn't boo him. This never happened. It was a misunderstanding, please don't bring up this matter again

Posted by Sudhi-CA on (April 2, 2011, 23:05 GMT)

Sidharth, last year during the India-Srilanka test series, Youvaraj Singh was taunted him by calling him 'water boy'. Yuvaraj tuned up to be the champion! I think the Srilnkan fans contributed to resurgent Yuvaraj Singh which should go in to that preparation period. What a way to claim the top honor of WC 2011.

Posted by multipack on (April 2, 2011, 23:01 GMT)

gary kirsten, paddy upton, eric simons and all the other back up staff, the indian diaspora salutes you. thank you for making so many of us so happy.

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 22:57 GMT)

Sidarth - As usual an elegant capture of a Great Triumph!

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 22:54 GMT)

Wow.. The match, commitment and discipline were simply incredible. Will be interesting to see who succeeds Kirsten.

Posted by laliit on (April 2, 2011, 22:46 GMT)

Now...after next world cup...it would be like they planned it after 2011 IPL,,, as they have tasted the cup victory so the hunt will be continued and INDIANS will have their head high when they feel low

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 22:44 GMT)

Oh....ho.......! What a blinder of a match....What a pressure match....Congratulations to Team Indian.....Simply Fantaaaastic Win....We are ICC Cricket World Champions 2011......!!! Fantaastic Win....!

Posted by StJohn on (April 2, 2011, 22:41 GMT)

Well done India! But it's not for the first time in this World Cup a team's most economical bowlers haven't bowled their full quota. Maybe Murali couldn't have bowled more than 8, but if his injury wasn't preventing him bowling another couple of overs then he should have bowled his full 10. Instead, Kulasekara, SL's most expensive bowler, was given the penultimate over and Perera, the second most expensive, bowled 9. If Malinga, Murali, Randiv and maybe Dilshan too had bowled more overs, and Kulasekara and Perera about 5 overs or so fewer between them, then who knows? Maybe SL would have won - it would certainly have pushed it into the final over, and with Malinga bowling that anything could have happened. Clearly less than perfect use of SL's bowling resources by Sangakkara.

Posted by   on (April 2, 2011, 22:39 GMT)

Team India take a bow, you made our dreams come true!!

Posted by drsankalp on (April 2, 2011, 22:39 GMT)

For first time sensible and informative post doing justice to Indian win.

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