Decision to carry Tendulkar pre-decided: Harbhajan
Jallandhar: It may have appeared to be a spontaneous gesture, but Sachin Tendulkar being carried by his teammates on their shoulders after India`s World Cup win was not so.
The decision to carry Tendulkar around the Wankhede stadium was taken much earlier but was not known to the batting maestro, Harbhajan Singh disclosed today.
"We had decided to chair him around the stadium if India won the World Cup," said the off-spinner who is personally close to Tendulkar.
Harbhajan has vivid memories of the stand-out moments in Indian cricket`s greatest triumph at home and Tendulkar`s role in them.
Recalling the team`s triumph against Pakistan in the semi-final at Mohali last week, he said that the players were drained after the high-pressure match but had a sense of triumph.
However, Tendulkar was asking his teammates in the dressing room to "cool down", reminding them "the next three days (to the final against Sri Lanka) are the most important days of our lives and so cool down and keep focus".
Harbhajan candidly admitted that for the first time in his career he was tense, almost scared, before the match against arch rivals Pakistan.
"Everyone from a doorman to a billionaire, was urging us on. The pressure had begun to get to me", he said.
But then, the offie went on to play a key role in Pakistan`s defeat by getting rid of dangerous Umar Akmal and skipper Shaid Afridi.
He disclosed how Akmal`s downfall was plotted.
"I had seen videos of Akmal. He likes to go for his shots. If the ball hurries on to him, he sometimes finds himself in a tangle, either rushed for the shot or finishing as a lbw candidate.”
"This ball was an angled delivery but went straight on. It got us a crucial wicket at a critical time, as was the case with Afridi," he said.
Recalling tense moments in the final against Sri Lanka last Saturday, Harbhajan said that he was padded up to come in at number 8.
"Sachin, who got out early, was sitting in a chair, clearly praying. And so was Viru (Sehwag) sitting next to him, hands clasped. Obviously, in prayer too".
"As Dhoni hit that six, we fell in each other’s arms. We were crying, shouting, laughing. I have no idea what I did. Tears flowed freely.”
"The unbearable pressure of six weeks was finally off our chest", Harbhajan said.