World T20 triumph: Dawn of new era in Indian cricket

With a new captain in M.S. Dhoni, the team embarked on a roller-coaster ride, spurring the emergence of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), No. 1 ranking in Tests and a 50-over World Cup win after an arduous wait of 28 years.

India’s epoch-making win at the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa has been etched in memory, as much for its on-field euphoria as for the sea of change it ushered in Indian cricket in the following years.

With a new captain in M.S. Dhoni, the team embarked on a roller-coaster ride, spurring the emergence of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), No. 1 ranking in Tests and a 50-over World Cup win after an arduous wait of 28 years.

Watch: Dash of colour in rainbow nation to usher in T20 era

It has been a decade since a young Indian side got the better of Pakistan to create history, and the then national selector, Sanjay Jagdale, believes that it was the need of the hour to bring in young guns.

Blast from the past: T20 World Cup 2007 - Memorable triumph frozen in time

“It was a new format, and for that we were looking to have good fielders and such players who could run well between the wickets. The focus was also on picking the shot-makers,” Jagdale told Sportstar from Indore.

The five-member selection committee, headed by Dilip Vengsarkar, had decided to bring in a young captain in Dhoni after the three seniors — Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly — decided to pull out. “I have always felt that a team must have young players in this new style of cricket. Instead of having players who could not run or field, it was better to pick youngsters, who were hungry for success. In a new format, we had to take this call,” Jagdale, who represented the Central Zone in the selection committee, added.

“I have always felt that a team must have young players in this new style of cricket. Instead of having players who could not run or field, it was better to pick youngsters, who were hungry for success. In a new format, we had to take this call.” — Sanjay Jagdale, former national selector

 

While many feel that the decision came as an aftermath of India’s disastrous outing at the World Cup earlier that year, Jagdale claims that the youth policy had started even before the 2003 World Cup. “Before the 2003 World Cup, there was an India A tour to South Africa, where we wanted some specific cricketers. Some of the people were not in favour of them. But the idea was to give the youngsters a chance, keeping the future in mind,” he said.

Read: Yuvraj Singh looks back at his historic six sixes in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup

Even after the Vengsarkar panel’s term was over, the next selection committee with Krishnamachari Srikkanth as the chief, ensured that the transformation was smooth and progressive.

Maharashtra stalwart and national selector from the West Zone in Srikkanth’s panel, Surendra Bhave, too has very fond memories of the win. "I think the memories are outstanding. That Twenty20 World Cup was just something else."

An unbelievable achievement

“I think during the tournament also, nobody believed that we will win the big thing and suddenly to rise from that and become the champion was simply amazing,” Bhave told Sportstar from Rajkot.

“And now everyone remembers how M.S. (Dhoni) led the team and how Jogi (Joginder Sharma) bowled that last over and Misbah-ul-Haq had that mishit — it's all part of the folklore now," he said. "It was an astounding performance from a pretty young team if I remember correctly."

Also Read: WT20 title victory - ‘It will stay with us forever’

Four years later, India clinched the 50-over silverware at home. "To have then gone ahead and won the 50-over World Cup also and become the first nation to have won it at home — that was also outstanding and that happened during our tenure (2008-12)," Bhave reminisced.

“Now everyone remembers how M.S. (Dhoni) led the team and how Jogi (Joginder Sharma) bowled that last over and Misbah-ul-Haq had that mishit — it's all part of the folklore now. It was an astounding performance from a pretty young team.” - Surendra Bhave, former national selector

The IPL frenzy

Riding on India's World Twenty20 win, the BCCI conceptualized a Twenty20 league — IPL which nine years down the line, has become a breeding ground for exciting talent. And Bhave concurs. "Absolutely, it expanded the talent pool. That was a very exciting period. 2007 Twenty20 win, 2011 World Cup victory, IPL doing exceptionally well — there was a lot of excitement in Indian cricket and rightfully so since it had reached the heights which it had not seen since that 1983 win," Bhave said.

But the selectors at the time treated the league as “a pointer to the talent of a particular player.”

“We (Selectors) still felt that you need to give those players time to do well in first-class cricket before being considered for selection. If it was only Twenty20 cricket, you could certainly be considered because of your IPL performances but otherwise, our feeling at that time was — ‘you need a decent track record in first-class cricket and then you do well in the IPL, you're certainly a candidate after that.’ That's the view we took at that time."

WATCH: 

Jagdale, who later took charge as the secretary of the BCCI, continued his youth policy in the new role too. “After I became the secretary, I spoke to Suru (Nayak) and asked him to conduct more ‘A’ tours. Players like Virat (Kohli), Murali Vijay got benefited from those tours. Ultimately, even you need to give time to players,” Jagdale said, indicating that with their successors maintaining the ‘catch them young’ policy, Indian cricket has only had an eye on the future!

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :