Losing your best player in a final can turn out to be a big blow. But Portugal did the unthinkable by getting past Cristiano Ronaldo’s loss due to injury and winning the Euro 2016 final by 1-0 margin against France.
In cricket too, there have been incidents where a key player has had to bow out due to an injury or some other reason ahead of the final. Although Ronaldo’s injury happened during the final, Team India has had to face a few occasions when one of their important players was ruled out just ahead of the all-important final or match. Cricwizz looks at a few occasions when Team India has to go through a Ronaldo-like situation.
2007 World T20 final: India made a dramatic entry to the World T20 final, by winning a hard-fought semi-final against Australia. But bad news awaited Team India as key player and opener Virender Sehwag got injured and had to miss out on the final against Pakistan.
Yusuf Pathan replaced Sehwag in the final as opener and scored 15 runs. India shrugged off Sehwag’s loss and let it not play on their minds as they went on to beat Pakistan to lift their maiden World T20 final.
TVS Cup final at Eden Gardens in 2003: India defeated New Zealand by a big margin in the last league game in the 2003 TVS Cup to set up the final with Australia at Eden Gardens. But Ganguly’s thigh injury forced him to miss out on the final against Australia. Rahul Dravid was given the charge to lead the team. India did well to restrict Australia to 235/5, and was on course to victory before a familiar batting collapse saw them bowled out for 198, losing the match by 37 runs.
Zaheer Khan’s injury during England tour in 2011: This was India’s first assignment after the 2011 World Cup triumph. India toured England for a four-match Test series with Zaheer Khan expected to lead the bowling attack. But on the opening day of the first Test at Lord’s, Zaheer suffered a hamstring injury which ruled him out of the match and series. India lost the series 0-4.
Anil Kumble’s injury in Antigua Test in 2002: On the slow Antigua track, Indian spinners were expected to do well, even as West Indian cricketers showed great fight to stave off the challenges from Indian bowlers. Kumble, however, was hit on his jaw while batting which ruled him out from bowling. It was a big blow for Team India. However, Kumble returned to bowl with a bandaged face and took the prize wicket of Brian Lara as well.