MS Dhoni, the charismatic Indian captain, led his team to an iconic victory in the 2011 ODI World Cup. This monumental win in India wasn’t merely a testament to Dhoni’s leadership. The team boasted legends like Sachin Tendulkar and a young dynamo in Virat Kohli. With such a glittering lineup, India’s triumph seemed destined.
However, every victory has its backdrop of decisions and strategies. Years after this illustrious win, Raja Venkat, a former Bengal batsman, shared a revealing tale. Venkat, who was on the selection panel from 2008 to 2012, unveiled a significant selection choice in a conversation with RevSports.
The bombshell revolved around the exclusion of Rohit Sharma, an emerging talent at the time. Venkat stated, “Rohit was very much in our plans.” The selection process was intricate. At the time, while Yashpal Sharma and Venkat were in South Africa due to an ongoing tour, the other three selectors were stationed in Chennai. As they deliberated over the World Cup team, the first 14 selections went smoothly. Everyone, including then-coach Gary Kirsten, was on the same page.
But the 15th spot sparked debate. Initially, the panel, including Kirsten, leaned towards including Rohit Sharma. But then, as Venkat recalled, Dhoni expressed his preference for leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. Surprisingly, Kirsten quickly reversed his opinion in favour of Dhoni’s suggestion. That pivotal moment ensured Rohit Sharma’s exclusion from the 2011 World Cup squad.
While this selection created ripples, the World Cup witnessed other players stepping up. Yuvraj Singh, for instance, was the jewel of the tournament. His performances with both bat and ball were instrumental in India’s journey. Yuvraj’s stellar show earned him the coveted ‘Player of the Series’ title.
Reflecting on the past, Rohit’s absence from the World Cup-winning team undoubtedly stung the talented batsman. Yet, in the universe of sports, every setback often sets the stage for a stronger comeback. Rohit Sharma has since emerged as one of the game’s luminaries, establishing himself as a formidable opener and leader.
The 2011 World Cup Triumph: Dhoni’s Leadership and the Big Reveal on Rohit’s Exclusion
There’s a poignant saying: “Everything happens for a reason.” This sentiment echoes in Rohit’s journey. His initial World Cup setback might now serve as a fuel for future glories. If India clinches another World Cup title with Rohit playing a pivotal role, it would be nothing short of poetic justice.
“When we sat to select the team, Rohit was very much in the scheme of things. Yashpal Sharma and I were in South Africa at that time because India was touring South Africa, and the other three selectors – Srikkanth, [Surendra] Bhave and [Narendra] Hirwani – were in Chennai. So, when we were selecting the team, numbers 1-14, every name was accepted by the panel. No. 15, we suggested the name of Rohit Sharma. Gary Kirsten also felt it was a perfect selection. But the captain wanted Piyush Chawla. So immediately, Kirsten somersaulted. He said: ‘I think that’s a better choice.’ So, that is how Rohit Sharma got left out,” Venkat said on RevSports.
Such a triumph would not just be a testament to Rohit’s resilience but also to the unpredictable nature of sports. It would narrate the tale of a player who, once overlooked, returns to script a fairytale ending. And for Rohit’s fans, it would be a heartwarming full-circle moment, completing his World Cup journey with the glory he deserves.
The 2011 World Cup will always be etched in history as Dhoni’s masterclass. Yet, behind the scenes, the choices and revelations like the one shared by Raja Venkat add layers to the narrative. It’s a reminder that sports, beyond the glitz and glamour, is a saga of choices, chances, and comebacks. And in this saga, Rohit’s potential future success might be the most heartwarming chapter yet.