'Make runs today, else I will not be able to play you again': Sourav Ganguly to a young Virender Sehwag
- Aakash Chopra spoke about the backing received by Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh under Sourav Ganguly's leadership.
- Chopra also repented the fact that he didn't get big enough scores to get an extended run with the Indian team.
Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra recently revealed an incident when Sourav Ganguly pleaded with Virender Sehwag to make runs if the latter wanted to retain his place in the Indian team. He added that the dashing opener had responded in fine fashion by smashing a century.
Aakash Chopra talked extensively about his career as a cricketer and commentator on the latest edition of the YouTube show Cric Cast.
On being asked why he could not represent India for a longer duration, Aakash Chopra responded that it was his own mistake as he had not converted his starts to big scores.
"It was my mistake that when I was making 40's-50's, I should have been making hundreds, no one had held my bat. Although the team had given me a role to play in a particular manner, I took that role to heart. So I modified my game, that whatever task I have been given I need to perform that, because that is what all players should do."
The gritty opener further added that he had altered his playing style to adhere to the demands of the team and had forgotten that he had to make a significant contribution to secure his place in the team.
"So, I changed my batting style at that time to suit the team. I batted very slow actually, I generally don't bat that slow. Following that approach, I forgot that I have to do something for myself as well, I should have made 70s and 100s, which I didn't do. That is my only regret."
Aakash Chopra regretted not having got a chance to play his last few Test matches at a stretch.
"One more thing that could have dealt differently was that I didn't play my last 3 Tests at a stretch. I was playing every alternate Test. It would have been good if I had got 6 innings at a stretch because when there is a gap in between you don't get that momentum or rhythm."
He was further asked if he would have played longer in the current circumstances where players get longer runs, and Aakash Chopra responded by saying that even Sourav Ganguly used to back his players a lot.
"To be honest, I won't compare. Although in Sourav Ganguly's time lot of people got plenty of opportunities. Sourav was my captain."
He gave the example of Yuvraj Singh having an extended lean patch and still enjoying the backing of Sourav Ganguly.
"I remember that Yuvraj Singh had a stretch of 18-20 innings when he didn't score a half-century."
Aakash Chopra also narrated an incident when Sourav Ganguly literally had to beg Virender Sehwag to perform to retain his spot in the Indian team and how the Nawab of Najafgarh had responded with a timely century.
"Viru, after scoring lot of runs initially, had a big dry patch very early in his career. Sourav Ganguly had gone to Viru and told him to make runs that day else he would not be able to play him again. Fortunately, he scored a century in that game. So, Sourav Ganguly also backed a lot."
Aakash Chopra added that he was unfortunate that his bad form coincided with the bad run of the team and someone had to be made a scapegoat for the loss.
"Australia had come to India and defeated us in 2014, so someone had to go. So I went and along with me Parthiv Patel also went."
He added that even Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly did not have a great time in that series, but their superb performances in the past had helped them in retaining their places rightfully.
"The unfortunate fact is that everyone fails - even Sachin, Rahul and Sourav were failing - but they had done such huge things in the past that no one can touch them and they should not be touched also. They have earned the right to play for longer. So to correct the optics, some pawns need to be dropped and I was one of them."
Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh's careers under Sourav Ganguly
Virender Sehwag played a total of 104 Tests for India, amassing 8586 runs at an average of 49.34. His performances were even better in the 31 Tests he played under Sourav Ganguly, having scored 2519 runs at an average of 52.47.
Sehwag also played 103 ODIs under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy, scoring 3306 runs at an average of 35.17, which is slightly better than his overall average.
Yuvraj Singh played 304 ODIs for India, scoring 8701 runs at an average of 36.55, although he did not have a very long Test career. The dashing left-hander played 110 ODIs with Sourav Ganguly as the skipper, scoring 2640 runs at an average of 30.69, which is much lesser than his career average.
Published 29 Jun 2020, 14:50 IST