I believe this is Indian cricket’s greatest triumph, mainly because this team was not the strongest Indian team ever but played like the best Indian team ever. It is quite incredible when you look at India’s bowling attack and its general fielding ability. Those were two massive weaknesses that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had to contend with right through the six-week-long tournament. India’s bowling was about just one world-class bowler in Zaheer Khan, while the rest, more or less, just rallied around him.
Indian Pacer Zaheer Khan during the ICC CWC 2011 Final at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. (Photograph by Apoorva Salkade)
Harbhajan Singh, as senior spinner, will be the first to accept that he could have contributed a lot more in this World Cup team. If it were not for Yuvraj Singh’s impact as a left-arm spinner, India would have severely malfunctioned in the World Cup. Yuvraj, interestingly, became this talismanic bowler for India as the tournament went on, so much so that if he bowled well, India won.
Zaheer was always expected to bowl well, so he was that constant factor in the Indian bowling attack. This also showed Zaheer’s growth as a seamer in Indian cricket. After this World Cup, Zaheer has put himself right next to Kapil Dev as the second best seamer ever to play for India.