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Winner is the team, not captain alone

Posted April 15th, 2022, 10:35 AM IST

Winner is the team, not captain alone

A comment by Harbhajan Singh regarding the tendency to give credit to a single individual for big achievements in Indian cricket has set both players and fans thinking.

Reacting to a remark by his former teammate Mohammed Kaif before the current edition of the IPL got underway, that Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer had taken his team to the final earlier, Harbhajan said, ‘Were the rest of the players playing gulli-danda?’ He went on to cite the example of the then Team India captain M S Dhoni being given credit for winning the 2011 World Cup against Sri Lanka, a title campaign which he himself had been part of. ‘Toh baaki ke 10 waha lassi peene gaye thhe?’ he asked sarcastically.

And now, many in the cricketing fraternity have come out in support of the former off-spinner.

“I absolutely agree with what Harbhajan has said. It was a complete team effort and Dhoni cannot be the sole recipient of credit,” Raja Venkatraman, who was a selector then, said. “Dhoni (91 N.O.) played well in the final and won the Man of the Match award. However, his contribution as a player in the other matches was not up to the mark,” he noted. “Gautam Gambhir (97 runs) played well. Ashish Nehra and Virender Sehwag contributed in other matches. Yuvraj played well throughout the competition and won the Player of the Series award. Everyone should be given credit for the win,” Raja Venkatraman added.

Another selector of the 2011 World Cup squad, Surendra Bhave, also credited team work and the support staff for the win. “It was great team work and the captain is a part of the team. Each member of the team contributed. The captain’s job is to get the other members to perform, and that’s how the goal can be achieved,” Bhave said.

Former fast bowler Karsan Ghavri, who played 39 Tests and 19 ODIs, has also seconded Harbhajan’s views. “I agree with Bhajji. One man (Dhoni) alone can’t take credit. Yes, he captained the team, set strategies for bowling changes, batting orders etc. but he can't be single-handedly held responsible for the World Cup victory. All members, including support staff, coach, trainer, physio and doctor contributed,” he stressed.

Ex-cricketer Saad bin Jung backs this assessment too. “The credit for winning the World Cup goes to the entire system, the selectors, the coach, the back-up team and the players. The ‘Man of the Match’ award is for that one game. It certainly paves the way for victory but it can never be assumed that the World Cup was won by a single player. Even in the1983 World Cup outing, it was the amazing team that won it for us.” he asserts.