Virender Sehwag reveals how inputs from Ganguly and Tendulkar shaped his career
Virender Sehwag was the most destructive Indian opener and his record in international cricket is paramount. He was the first Indian to score a triple hundred in Tests. He ended with a career with 49 Test average and 82 strike rate. In ODI become the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to a hit a double hundred.
After his retirement from international cricket, he played All Stars Twenty 20 league for Sachin Blaster and was recently felicitated by BCCI during India versus Feroz Shah Kotla Test.
He revealed an interesting facts about his cricketing journey, right from the time of his first day to final days in international cricket.
Sehwag made a horror ODI debut against Pakistan in 1999 in Mohali. He scored just one run and conceded 35 runs in three overs. He remembered that day like it was yesterday. But, he recounted how dada (Sourav Ganguly) came to him said, “”Agar drop hota hain toh itne run maarna ki vaapas tam me aaye (If you get dropped, score so many runs that you can come back to the team),” when he was sitting alone in the bus.
Sourav Ganguly’s inspiration
“I could not see the ball which got me out. It was that quick. Shahid Nazir ki ball par edge lag gayi and jaise taise ek single mil gaya (I Got an edge of Shahid Nazir’s ball somehow), but Shoaib was really quick. I was sitting alone in the team bus when Sourav Ganguly approached me and said, “Agar drop hota hain toh itne run maarna ki vaapas tam me aaye (If you get dropped, score so many runs that you can come back to the team)”.
Ganguly advice changed Sehwag’s career as he blossomed to his to his full potential in the next seasons. In 2000/01 series he blasted 757 runs at an average of 58 for Delhi and that impressed selectors who recalled in the South Africa tour in 2001.
Coming to bat with India 68 for 4 on a green bouncy pitch in Bloemfontein. Tendulkar, who was at the crease asked Sehwag, “Gudgudi ho rahi hain paet mein? (Are you feeling butterflies in your stomach)” . Sehwag responded, “Woh sab chhodo sir, yeh batao kya ho raha hain pitch par (Leave all that, tell me how is the pitch behaving).”
Sehwag recounted that Tendulkar tol d him to alert of South African fast bowler, who will try to give him a bouncer.
The advice worked like a tonic for Sehwag as he smashed 105 on his Test debut which paved the way for his 12 year dominance in international cricket.
In his prime, Sehwag revealed another interesting conversation with Tendulkar during the Test series against Pakistan in 2004.
In the Multan Test Sehwag was close to triple hundred, which Indian batsmen never achieved. During his partnership with Tendulkar, Sehwag said, “After I had my fourth six, Tendulkar came up to me and said ‘Mai tere ko bat se marunga agar tune phir six maara toh (I will hit you with the bat if you hit a six again)’.” Sehwag did not hit any six till he reaches 295. “I did not hit a six till I reached 295 and when I reached that score, I told Tendulkar, “Agar Saqlain (Mushtaq) aayega to mai chhakka marunga (If Saqlain comes into the attack, I will hit a six).”
Sehwag lived up to his word and smashed Saqlain over deep midwicket for a six become India’s first triple-centurion in Tests. His confidence bordered on the audacious and he lived up to it plenty of time.
Sehwag’s illustrative career was immensly benifited from Ganguly and Tendulkar’s inputs. Thanks to these two legnds, who gave the world a destructive batsman like Virender Sehwag.
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