2011 Cricket World Cup: How Mike Horn inspired Sachin Tendulkar and India's do-or-die mindset 

Not everyday you find someone who cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar would look upto but modern-day great adventurer Mike Horn was an exception in India's 2011 World Cup camp and an unsung hero behind their success.

Former Indian star Sachin Tendulkar won the World Cup in 2011 (Courtesy: BCCI/Twitter)
By Samrat Chakraborty | Apr 2, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Not everyday you find someone who cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar would look upto but modern-day great adventurer Mike Horn was an exception in India’s 2011 World Cup camp and an unsung hero behind their success.

For the uninitiated, Horn is regarded as great, because he climbed four 8000-metre plus mountains without even using oxygen. The South African-Swiss adventurer first came to light in 2001 for completing more than an year of solo journey around the equator without the assistance of motorised transport. 

And then there was Horn, in India’s 2011 World Cup dressing room, assigned to offer the squad some unique insights to prepare them mentally as a two-day consultant ahead of their major challenge. It was an opportunity no one could deny and everyone keenly looked up to him as he filled the historic squad with a do-or-die mindset. 

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2011 Cricket World Cup: How Mike Horn transformed Team India

Horn, first, arrived in Bengaluru to have a close look at the Team India squad and one major thing that he noticed is that they were far from being assembled as a team or unit. It was, incidentally, the second time Horn was serving at a role of Team India after his first stint in 2010 before the Men-in-Blue took on South Africa at Eden Gardens after losing the first Test. 

The adventurer-cum-explorer believes that a player can’t be affected by the outside world and needs to be strong and confident. 

“If people think you are strong and confident, and you are not, there is a big problem. To be honest to yourself and your preparation is the key to success,” he told espncricinfo. 

His stories and achievements left the entire team wondering about his mindset. Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was one of them who was deeply affected by his presence. “[I wondered] how he could cope with such extremities,” Harbhajan told espncrinfo. 

“Horn recalled how over 8000 metres the oxygen was minimal and he struggled to breathe. It took him 35 hours to climb up, but 56 to climb down, all without eating or drinking. He says when atop the mountain your mind doesn’t work as the brain cells are hardly functioning due to the lack of oxygen. He knew he couldn’t sit down or even stop because if he did, he would have frozen to death.”

And after observing each and every player at the nets, Horn said, “I saw all of you in the nets. You were enjoying practising, but what happens suddenly in a match situation: people get tight, people feel nervous, people feel pressure. Why? Because your mind is thinking too many things.”

His inputs and observations undoubtedly brought the best out of the Indian players and we know what they achieved during the marquee event. Now as we celebrate India’s 2011 World Cup triumph anniversary, let us also celebrate its unsung hero, Mike Horn.