Mumbai: It might be astonishing to see Yuvraj Singh finish above Harbhajan Singh on the wicket-takers' list in the World Cup, but for Team India it was no surprise. The plan after all, was to use him as a second spinner in the team.
Yuvraj, the Man of the Tournament, finished as the second highest wicket-taker for India taking 15 wickets, including a fifer, in nine matches ahead of main spinner Harbhajan (nine wickets).
Former India leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani, who worked with the duo on their bowling during the World Cup, said the plan worked very well. "Batsmen looked to play Bhajji safely because of his reputation and attacked Yuvi.
So, when you are attacking there are more chances of losing your wicket. That is why Yuvraj was successful," Hirwani, who is also a national selector, told MiD DAY.
Yuvraj acknowledged Hirwani for his bowling success. "We don't have a proper left-arm spinner. So it was my job to do it. Narendra Hirwani has been helping me and I have been working hard," Yuvraj said after the final.
When asked what miracle change he brought about in Yuvraj's bowling, Hirwani modestly replied: "I have performed no miracles.
"I just did some counseling and fine-tuned his action. He tried it and felt good. I gave him the confidence that you are good bowler.
"Being a batsman you know what delivery you will not like to face. I told him to bowl in the areas where the batsman will not enjoy playing his shots. He figured that out really well.
"He flighted the ball and varied pace smartly. A batsman's footwork will be limited with change in pace. He will not be able to gauge your next ball and will always struggle.
"There were little things like balancing the body, not bending the body too much and keeping your head still, which I corrected," he added.
Hirwani also worked on the mental aspect of Yuvraj, who was in and out of the team before the World Cup. "I gave him the belief that you are a good cricketer and a good bowler. I encouraged him to do well," he said illustrating his own example. "I was not a talented bowler, but I worked hard. I spent a lot of time bowling in the nets, so I know exactly what the problem was. I too have encountered these problems in my playing days.
It is not necessary to spend a lot of time to rectify the problem. If you know coaching, you will be able to solve it in a few hours," he said.
On India's World Cup win, Hirwani said: "We (selectors) always had the belief that this team would win it.
"After the final, I told Sachin Tendulkar, aaj Bhagwan ne Bhagwan ki sunn li (God has listened to the cricketing God today)."