Lalchand Rajput.
Lalchand Rajput. Credits: BCCI Twitter.

The 2007 T20 World Cup completely redefined Indian cricket. The success of the young team led by the inexperienced MS Dhoni convinced the BCCI to start the IPL and the rest as they is history. After the selectors named a young side for the tournament, not many had given Team India a chance to progress far in the competition let alone winning it.

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However, the MS Dhoni-led side defied all the odds and proved almost everyone wrong to go all the way. The Men in Blue beat arch-rivals Pakistan in the final to win the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup. India have not won the tournament since then.

What made the win even more special is that it was won without the services of country’s top batsmen – Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. Many still think that all the senior players wanted to give the youngsters a chance to play the T20 World Cup.

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Team India after winning the 2007 T20 World Cup (Photo-AFP)

However, Lalchand Rajput, who was the team manager when India won the tournament, has revealed that Tendulkar was keen to play the competition in order to realise his dream of winning the World Cup. Few months before the T20 World Cup, India had suffered a heartbreaking exit from the 50-over World Cup.

But former India captain Rahul Dravid asked the likes of Tendulkar and Ganguly to give the tournament a miss. With Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly not a part of the squad, the likes of Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Yousuf Pathan and Joginder Sharma were given opportunities.

“Yes, it is true (Rahul Dravid asked Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to not play the 2007 T20 World Cup),” Rajput told Sportskeeda. “Rahul Dravid was the captain in England and some players came directly from England to Johannesburg (for the T20 World Cup) so they said ‘let’s give an opportunity to the youngsters’. But after winning the World Cup they must have repented it when we won the World Cup.

“Because Sachin always kept on telling me that I am playing for so many years and I have still not won the World Cup. Ultimately, he won in 2011, but he was dying to win that World Cup, and this team won on the first attempt,” he added.

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