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How MS Dhoni’s sharp tactical change led to Jonathan Trott’s dismissal in tied 2011 World Cup game

Dhoni Trott
Aadya Sharma by Aadya Sharma
@Aadya_Wisden 2 minute read

Indian leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, speaking to Wisden India, recalled an instance from India’s 2011 World Cup match against England, when a typically astute fielding change from the recently-retired MS Dhoni helped him dismiss Jonathan Trott in the famous tied match in Bengaluru.

Dhoni has a reputation for his unique captaincy style, which includes unconventional field placements and sudden bowling changes. During that clash against England in 2011, Dhoni had spinners on at both ends in pursuit of a breakthrough, after England, at 111-1, reached a strong position while chasing 339. Trott, in at No.3, was laying a solid platform with Andrew Strauss, and the two had stitched a 43-run stand by the 17th over.

Chawla recalled how Dhoni asked him to make a sudden change to his field when Trott took strike, bringing the backward square-leg fielder closer to the square-leg umpire.

“I was having a 45 [short fine-leg] for Trott,” Chawla said. “He [Dhoni] told me to move that [fielder] from there and get it to square-leg. I said, ‘I don’t need that’. He said, ‘No, just do that and bowl.’ And I got a square-leg instead of 45, and two balls later, he got out because he tried to play too fine.”

Trott, trying to work the ball down to the now vacant fine-leg region, missed the line of the ball completely, and was caught lbw. As the Indian team huddled to celebrate the wicket, Dhoni could be seen on camera enacting the leg glance while chatting with his teammates. “He told me he wasn’t keeping that square leg to stop anything,” said Chawla. It was just to show him [Trott] that gap so he tries to play it fine, and he ends up getting lbw.”

Trott was dismissed for a 19-ball 16, one of only two times he was dismissed for less than fifty in seven innings in the tournament. While Strauss continued his charge, smashing a career-best 158, the scores were tied at the end of England’s 50 overs. It was the last match to be tied in a World Cup, until the England-New Zealand final last year.

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