Former India Mental Conditioning and Strategic Leadership Coach Paddy Upton shed light on Gautam Gambhir’s contribution to India’s historic 2011 World Cup. Gambhir slammed 97 runs in the final of the mega tournament against Sri Lanka to laid the foundation of India’s win.

Gambhir is often considered as one of the greatest left-handers in Indian cricket history as his opening partnership with Virender Sehwag was hailed by many in all three formats of the game.

Upton claims that Gambhir spent most of his career as Sehwag’s sidekick and said that then head coach Gary Kirsten referred the southpaw as a rock.

“There was that additional pressure and disappointment of having Sehwag and Tendulkar back in the change room. But the reality was, you had two of the best high-pressure players in the team one of them at the crease Gautam Gambhir. Gary Kirsten used to call him the rock. He spent most of his career as Sehwag’s sidekick,” Upton told

Upton further explained how Sehwag overshadowed Gambhir with his flamboyant playing style but claims that the southpaw was the blue that kept India’s great batting line-up together.

“Sehwag would be the guy who used to be on the highlights package and play the flamboyant cricket and get the crowd cheering. Gambhir would just squirt the ball with that square drive behind backward point. He wouldn’t get the crowd going and he wouldn’t make it to the highlights package, but Gambhir was the glue that kept the great batting line-up of that era together.”

The South African also talked about the crucial 91-run knock of MS Dhoni in the final which took India home at the Wankhede Stadium.

“Although he had not delivered with the bat for seven games until then, MS Dhoni was at that time, probably still is, the best in the world when it comes to second innings chase in white-ball cricket. So, we really did have, in truth, our two biggest guns or two biggest bullets still in the chamber,” he said.