Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood has claimed that India were focussed on ODIs and Tests and that the team wasn't too interested in T20 cricket before the inaugural T20 World Cup. Mahmood, who last played for Pakistan in March of 2007, a few months before the World Cup in South Africa, reckons the win opened the gates for T20 cricket in India, eventually paving the way for the T20 phenomena, the IPL.
"India were not keen [playing T20s] before the T20 World Cup. They were concentrating more on Test match cricket and one-day cricket. It was a massive boost for Indian cricket to win the T20 World Cup, which eventually led to the birth of IPL. It was great to see," Mahmood said on Wisden's The Greatest Rivalry podcast.
Mahmood, who never played T20 international in his career, felt Misbah Ul Haq could have perhaps prevented playing the scoop shot in the final, the last Pakistan wicket to fall. With 13 needed off the final over, Misbah struck a six off the second ball of the over from Joginder Sharma to bring the target down to six off four. Off the third ball, Misbah went for a cheeky scoop, which he did not time well and the ball landed down S Sreesanth's throat.
"Unfortunately, Pakistan was on the losing side. Misbah Ul Haq was playing so well but in the end, he tried to play that scoop shot. He could have hit a straight six off Joginder Sharma but he tried to go with a fancy scoop. I jumped on my sofa, when I saw, but then when the catch was taken, I was like 'what's happening'," Mahmood added.
However, more than anything else, Mahmood feels the biggest takeaway from India winning the T20 World Cup was the rise of MS Dhoni as captain of the Indian team. Appointed skipper of a young T20 World Cup team, Dhoni succeeded Rahul Dravid as India's limited-overs captain the same year before taking charge of the Test team following Anil Kumble's retirement.
In a captaincy career that spanned 10 years, Dhoni led India to the 2011 World Cup win and the 2013 Champions Trophy title along with taking India to the No. 1 ICC rankings in Tests.
"It was a great game of cricket, especially for Indian cricket. It was the birth of a great leader in Indian cricket - MS Dhoni. He changed the mindset and a lot of things in Indian cricket, for which he deserves credit," Mahmood said.