Suresh Raina Credits Zaheer Khan For Impressively Leading India's Bowling Attack in 2011 World Cup

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Suresh Raina Credits Zaheer Khan For Impressively Leading India’s Bowling Attack in 2011 World Cup 

Suresh Raina Credits Zaheer Khan For Impressively Leading India’s Bowling Attack in 2011 World Cup
Zaheer Khan (Image Credit: Twitter)

The veteran Indian cricketer Suresh Raina, who was a member of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup-winning team, has recently talked about his experience during that tournament and the final.

MS Dhoni-led India won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 trophy on 2nd April 2011 after beating Sri Lanka in the final of the tournament at Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai). It was country’s second Cricket World Cup victory while they first time won that trophy in 1983 under Kapil Dev’s leadership.

Recently, the country recalled the memory of winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 trophy in the ninth anniversary.

Suresh Raina, India
Indian players with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 trophy (Photo Credit: AFP)

Talking about that tournament win, Suresh Raina told PTI, “Every year, we celebrate. Like the way we celebrate Holi and Diwali.”

Talking more about that tournament success, Raina credited the left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan who finished that tournament as the joint-most wicket-taker with 21 wickets. The 33-year-old Raina called Zaheer as Sachin Tendulkar of that Indian bowling attack. Raina also mentioned the all-rounder Yuvraj Singh‘s impressive bowling performances in that entire tournament. The Player of the Match award winner Yuvraj not only scored 362 runs with the bat but also the left-handed batsman finished as the joint fourth most wicket-taker in that tournament (15 wickets).

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Raina said, “Whatever decision we were taking, it was all going in our favour. Zaheer bhai led the bowling attack. Everyone was talking about our strong batting line up but I would say he was the Sachin Tendulkar of the bowling department, getting us the breakthrough every time. Then the biggest contribution came from Yuvraj, who took wickets and finished games.”

Even though Sri Lanka put up a challenging total, everyone was calm in the dressing room: Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: BCCI)

In the final match of that tournament, though Sri Lanka managed to score a challenging total in the first innings (274/6), the Indian players were still confident of winning that match.

Raina claimed, “Even though Sri Lanka put up a challenging total, everyone was calm in the dressing room. Someone was in the shower, someone was taking ice bath, someone was eating, yet everyone was thinking about the trophy, everyone in their zone and no one was talking to each other.”

Though India lost both their openers (Virender Sehwag 0 and Sachin Tendulkar 18) at the very early stage of that chasing, which hugely hurt the Indian cricket fans, the Indian dressing room remained calm. While India’s highest run-scorer in that final Gautam Gambhir (97) entered the field with the bat confidently, skipper MS Dhoni decided to bat ahead of Yuvraj due to his confidence against the legendary Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir
MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir (Image Credit: Twitter)

Raina added, “There was just one goal and that was to win the trophy. There was pin drop silence when Sachin paaji got out but we remained calm. You should have seen the way Gautam Gambhir (who made 97) entered the field after Sehwag’s dismissal. He was so confident.

“Seeing his body language, I thought he would win us the World Cup. Dhoni (who made 91) came ahead of an in-form Yuvraj, that was a big call but Dhoni told Gary Kirsten (coach) that he could play Muralitharan well so he went in. I still remember everything so vividly.”

India won that final by six wickets as they chased down the target in 48.2 overs after losing four wickets. Captain Dhoni (91*) finished that game in style by hitting a sixer at the long-on to the Sri Lankan pacer Nuwan Kulasekara.

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