‘It felt as if we had committed a big crime’


India ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has credited his team’s shock exit at the 2007 World Cup for his success thereafter, saying the return to India changed him as they were treated like criminals.

India were one of the favourites for the title in the Caribbean, but could only beat Bermuda as they crashed out in the group stage. Upon returning home, they needed police escorts off the plane, and Dhoni became determined to never have that happen to him again.

Dhoni said at a promo event for a biopic on his life: “At that point of time, when we landed, we had to get out in a police van. I was sitting next to Viru [Virender Sehwag] paaji.

“It was evening or night time. We were travelling at a decent speed – 60 or 70kph – and that’s quite a bit for India, that too on the narrow roads.

“And, you know, media cars around us with their cameras and the big lights on top, it felt as if we had committed a big crime, maybe like a murderer or terrorist or something.

“We were actually chased by them. After a while, we entered a police station. We went there, we sat for a while and then we left in our cars after 15-20 minutes.

“That actually had a big impact on me and I channelised the aggression to become a better cricketer and a better human being.”

India went on to win the next edition of the tournament, at home in 2011.