Happy Birthday Joginder Sharma,
It’s nice to see you getting on with your life as the Deputy Superintendent Of Police in Haryana. It has been a little more than 10 years, but that last over you bowled to Misbah ul-Haq in the finals of the 2007 T20 World Cup, is still as fresh as a daisy in our memories.
India needed to defend 13 runs in the final over, and you were entrusted with the responsibility despite your inexperience at the international stage. It was a risky move from MS Dhoni, and those of us sitting at home, held our heads in our hands watching you bowl. We thought the game was over, and Misbah (who was looking way too inspired) was definitely going to dispatch you across the boundary and get those runs. You started off with a wide, it was clear that the nerves were getting to you. MS Dhoni, the cool and composed captain that he was calmed you down. But to no avail, as in the second legal delivery of the over, you conceded a six! It was just what we were scared about, and we thought that the only thing that could save us now was some supernatural intervention from God.
It happened in the next delivery. Pakistan needed 6 from 4 deliveries, and they could have got it easily had Misbah not got cheeky and tried to play a scoop shot. It was stupid, considering the nerves are jangling at such a time, and connecting a simple shot is not the easiest proposition. But, you were meant to be remembered in the books of Indian cricket forever. A slower delivery, and the ball went up in the air. S Sreesanth caught it, and the next thing we knew was that the entire country went through an adrenaline rush.
“A lot of people were surprised that Mahi gave the ball to me but I was actually waiting for it. Earlier also, Mahi and I had played together in the domestic circuit lots of times and he knew I could bowl well in the death overs. The choice was between me and Harbhajan. I’m glad Mahi showed faith in me because I was confident I would win it for India,” you said in an interview with TOI.
“My plan was to bowl outside off, and after the first ball swung, I gained confidence. Jab ball swing hoti hai, mujhe apne upar confidence rehta hai. Wohi uss din tha. As I was running in to bowl that delivery, I saw Misbah move to play the scoop shot and in the fraction of a second, I had to change my line and pace of the ball. I bowled a slower one and he mis-hit it. When the ball was up in the air, saans ruk gayi thi. We had a fielder there to catch it, but it was Sreesanth, who wasn’t known for his fielding skills. Mann mein aaya ki bhai bas pakad lena!,” you added.
Certainly, it’s fascinating to see that over from your eyes.
Even today, the replays give us goosebumps.
Thank you for that.