Ahead of next month’s T20 World Cup 2024, former India spinner Harbhajan Singh delved into the details of ex-captain MS Dhoni’s leadership skills that made Men in Blue the inaugural champions of the format back in 2007. In the nail-biting summit clash between the two arch-rivals — India and Pakistan, the result was decided on the final over as Dhoni-led side won the match by five runs in Johannesburg, South Africa. The veteran spinner credited Dhoni for his decision-making and involving team members before taking the final call.

“Not many people know, Dhoni was a very new captain, so he needed that support from all of us. Before matches against teams like Australia, New Zealand, and England, our core group would get together during the game to strategise for the next few overs.

“For example, in a match against Australia, I bowled the crucial 17th or 18th overs because if we managed to give away only 4 runs, it saved us a lot,” Harbhajan said in a special Star Sports Press Room.

Defending 157, India was in a crunch situation in the match after Harbhajan leaked 19 runs in his 17th over as Mishbah-ul-Haq slammed three sixes. With 35 runs needed of the last three overs, Dhoni gave the next over to pacer S Sreesanth in which he conceded 15 runs and a wicket of Sohail Tanvir.

The equation was 20 runs in 12 balls for Pakistan with two wickets in hand. Harbhajan was again given the crucial 19th over as Dhoni saved medium-pacer Joginder Sharma for the final over.

Harbhajan proved his captain right by only giving seven runs and a wicket of Umar Gul. Then Joginder scripted history for India in the third ball of his over with a wicket of Pakistan captain to take the side over the line in the high-octane encounter.

Recalling the memory, the-43-year old complimented Dhoni’s collective leadership skills behind picking the right bowler for the final over of the summit clash.

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“Back then, batters didn’t score 25 runs in an over unlike today. The decision-making was always a team effort. When you play together as a united team, you win more competitions. Dhoni was a great listener, taking collective decisions that benefited the team. It was never about individual performances but about playing as ‘we’,” he said.

“Similarly, the question now is can Rohit Sharma do it? Rohit is not alone; it’s about ‘we’. If we play as a united team, thinking about collective success rather than individual achievements, then we can win. But if we only focus on personal goals, things become difficult. It’s all about the ‘we’ mentality, and that’s when things come to life,” the veteran added.

The two Asian cricket heavyweights are set for another thrilling clash in the upcoming T20 World Cup in New York on June 9.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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