Gambhir feels Dhoni's advice cost him his World Cup 100 in 2011

Gambhir was the highest scorer, but Dhoni was declared the man of the match

CRICKET-WC2011-IND-SRI-FINAL-MATCH 49 [File] Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) speaks to Gautam Gambhir during the ICC Cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011 | AFP

Veteran cricketer Gautam Gambhir is known to speak his mind, perhaps a trait that has proved decisive to him becoming a politician and a Lok Sabha MP. The BJP lawmaker has now courted fresh controversy over his comments on captain cool MS Dhoni. 

In a recent interview to an online portal, the former star batsman said that listening to Dhoni during India's match against Sri Lanka in the 2011 final may have cost him his dream World Cup hundred. "I have been asked this question many times, on what happened when I was on 97. I tell every youngster and every person that before getting to 97, I never thought about my own individual score but looked at the target set by Sri Lanka. I remember that when an over was completed, I and Dhoni were at the crease. He told me that 'these three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed'. Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka's target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred," Gambhir said. Gambhir was clean bowled by seamer Thisara Perera in the match.

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"That's why... till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred (took over). That's why it's so important to remain in the present... when I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn't get those three runs," he added. 

Incidentally, Gambhir was the highest scorer in the match that won India their second world cup. However, Dhoni's blitzkreig performance gained him the man of the match award in the game. Earlier, in the 2007 T20 world cup final against Pakistan, Gambhir had emerged as the top scorer with 75 runs, but the man of the match was awarded to bowler Irfan Pathan who scalped three wickets for 16 runs in four overs. 

This was not the first time that Gambhir has criticised Dhoni. Earlier, media reports had quoted him criticising Dhoni's rotation policy in the Indian cricket team. "I believe that one should follow the captain’s decision but it was complete crap. You started with the rotation policy, but played all the three in the must-win games. If you make a decision, back your decision, stick to it,” he said.