In a interview to Lallantop, the former India opener claimed that Dhoni’s advice distracted him from completing three figures. “I have been asked this question many times, on what happened when I was on 97. I tell every youngster and every person that before getting to 97, I never thought about my own individual score but looked at the target set by Sri Lanka,” Gambhir said in the interview.
He further stated that Dhoni reminded him of those three runs, which, according to Gambhir, distracted him. “Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka’s target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred," the cricketer-turned-MP added.
“That’s why, till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred. That’s why it’s so important to remain in the present. When I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn’t get those three runs,” Gambhir went on to say.
Gambhir was pivotal to India's win in the final after India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar cheaply. He featured in a 109-run stand with Dhoni, who promoted himself, before being dismissed by Perera. Dhoni, on the other hand, remained unbeaten on 91, and hit the famous six which won India the World Cup after 28 years.
Speaking of Gambhir, he was also India's top-scorer in the 2007 World T20 final with 75, which India won after a thrilling final against Pakistan. He was earlier critical of Dhoni’s rotational policy as well during the CB series in 2012.
--Renin Wilben Albert