Yuvraj Singh is hailed as the hero of India’s two World Cup wins in recent times as he was a major contributor to the 2007 T20 World Cup win and then ended up as Player of the Tournament in India’s 2011 World Cup win at home.
Though he rose in ranks after making his debut in 2000 and reached the vice-captaincy post in the Indian national team, Yuvraj couldn’t become the captain of the team and the closest he came was when the BCCI needed to choose a new leader after Rahul Dravid quit in 2007.
The great all-rounder has now opened up on the reasons why MS Dhoni was chosen over him for the 2007 World T20 despite him being the ODI vice-captain in the preceding tour of England.
Yuvraj said that some BCCI officials were not happy with him siding with legend Sachin Tendulkar during a tumultuous period in Indian cricket under coach Greg Chappell and hence didn’t want him becoming the Indian team captain.
Australia’s Greg Chappell, considered to be one of the all-time greatest batters, was the India coach from 2005 to 2007 which is considered to be a tumultuous time in Indian cricket history. He had spats with both Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar which resulted in Ganguly losing his India captaincy and later spot in the playing XI for well over a year.
In his biopic, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’, Tendulkar said: “A number of senior players disagreed with the manner in which Chappell was handling our side. Just before a month from the World Cup, he made drastic changes in the batting order that affected everyone in the side.”
Yuvraj Singh said that his stance in the incident and siding with Sachin Tendulkar led to him never becoming a full-time Indian cricket team captain.
“I was supposed to be the captain. Then the Greg Chappell incident happened. It had become Chappell or Sachin. I was probably the only player who supported…that I support my teammate. And there were a lot of people in the…Some of the BCCI officials did not like that. It was said that they should make anybody the captain but not myself. This is what I heard. I am not sure how true it is. Suddenly from vice-captaincy, I was removed. Sehwag was not there in the team. So, out of nowhere Mahi (MS Dhoni) became captain for the 2007 T20 World Cup. I thought I was going to be the captain,” Singh told Sanjay Manjrekar during an interview on Sports18.
He added: “Viru was senior but he was not on the England tour. I was the vice-captain of the ODI team while Rahul was the captain. So, I was supposed to be the captain. Obviously, it was a decision that went against me but I have no regrets about it. Today, if the same thing happens, I will still support my teammate.”
Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh further said that MS Dhoni was the right guy to lead the team and as he was struggling with injuries during that time, even if he had become the captain, he would have missed significant time to deal with them.
“After a while, I thought Mahi was getting really good in captaincy. He was probably the right guy to lead in ODI cricket. Then I started getting injured a lot. Even if I was made the captain, I would have to go. Injuries were taking a toll on my body for a while. Everything happens for the best. I actually don’t regret not having the captaincy of India. It would have been a huge honour. But I would always choose my teammate, if bad things have been said about his character, I would always stand up for my teammate,” he said.