New Delhi: We always heard that Virender Sehwag doesn’t believe in taking advice but now it is revealed that there was a small group of people who had some influence on him and he used to turn to them if he needed an advice on any cricket related issue.
Sehwag, speaking to Hindustan Times, revealed how two stalwarts of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, helped shape his 14-year-long successful career.
Considered to be one of the most successful opening batsmen for India, Sehwag probably had the worst debut possible, when he got out for just one run and spent 35 runs in his three overs in an ODI against Pakistan in Mohali in 1999.
“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 (Akhtar) 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 team me aaye (If you get dropped, score so many runs that you can come back to the team)’,” Sehwag revealed.
Inspired by Ganguly's words, Sehwag returned to domestic circuit scored heaps of runs for Delhi – 757 runs at an impressive average of around 58 during the 2000-01 season. Sehwag was selected for the 2001 tour of South Africa. He made his Test debut in Bloemfontein, where he scored a century in his very first innings.
The 37-year-old recently retired Delhi cricketers also revealed what Sachin Tendulkar told him when he came into bat in his first Test.
Tendulkar asked Sehwag, “Gudgudi ho rahi hain paet mein? (Are you feeling butterflies in your stomach)."
To this, 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 said.
Sehwag stated that Tendulkar told Sehwag that the bowlers would try and bounce Sehwag out.
The Nawab of Najafgarh, who played for Sachin's Blasters in the All-Stars tournament, also revealed another incident that shows the kind of influence Tendulkar had on him.
“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)'. 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 said.
Sehwag lived up to his word and hit Saqlain over deep mid-wicket for a six to become India's first triple-centurion in Tests. It was yet another example of his audacity and he career was full of such incidents.