What If Flintoff Kept His Cool to Yuvraj Singh?
Today’s Scenario: Freddie Flintoff Keeps His Cool To Yuvraj Singh
England vs India, 19th September 2007, Durban, South Africa – Super 8s (2007 T20 World Cup)
After crashing out of the 2007 ODI World Cup, India had sent a young team to South Africa under MS Dhoni. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Sourav Ganguly had opted out with India experimenting with a younger team. New Zealand and South Africa were sitting comfortably in the Super 8 group, England were already out, and India needed to win to stay alive.
Andrew Flintoff exchanged a few words with Yuvraj Singh prior to the 18th over, when Yuvraj was still playing on 14 runs. India – 171/3.
What Actually Happened:
Enter the young lad, Stuart Broad. Next, we witnessed history. With the adrenaline rush, Yuvraj hits 6,6,6,6,6, and 6. Smashes it to all parts of the ground, with Ravi Shashtri’s iconic commentary in the background. Yuvraj scores the fastest T20 half century in 12 balls, and India end up with 218/4. England come close with 200/6. Yuvraj carries the form in the semi-finals a couple of matches later and destroys Australia with 70 (30). As an underdog team, India are crowned the world champions in the inaugural T20 World Cup.
If Andrew Flintoff had kept his cool and not said anything to Yuvraj Singh, what would have happened?
18.1 – Stuart Broad to Yuvraj Singh, hits it in the air and gets caught at long off.
India scratch their way up to 185/5. England chase comfortably. India crashes out of the 2007 T20 World Cup. Australia win yet another world cup in the decade, this time the T20 World Cup.
The proposed Indian Premier League (IPL) is discarded. Stuart Broad becomes a star and goes on to take 500 wickets in limited overs cricket. Andrew Flintoff captains England to the the 2010 T20 World Cup win. This starts a new cricket revolution in England which attracts the best players from all over the world—The Hundred. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni are dropped post-2007, never to make a comeback. Without a spinning all-rounder, a world-class finisher, or a Captain Cool in their side, India fails to win the 2011 Cricket World Cup at home.
Ominous, isn’t it?
Well, these are just my thoughts on the importance of that moment.
As mathematician Edward Lorenz implied in his remarkable work that is now known as the “Butterfly Effect,”— even a flap of a butterfly’s wings can cause a tornado in another part of the world. Every single action, no matter how big or small, may have an immense impact down the road.
But anyway, what do you think would have happened had this match turned out differently?
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Check out our next article in the Just Imagine series regarding Carlos Brathwaite in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Inspired By Conversations with Vandit and ESPNCricinfo’s Alternative Universe Series.
Image Courtesy of Aavtar Singh, CC via creative commons license, some rights reserved.