"Told me not to board the flight" - Virender Sehwag on why he couldn't make his India debut in 1999

India v England: Group B - 2011 ICC World Cup
Virender Sehwag finished his career with 8273 ODI runs (Pic: Getty)

Virender Sehwag recently revealed that he was slated to make his ODI debut for Team India during the Sharjah Cup in 1998. He stated that he got a call from the selectors after several Indian players had fallen ill during the tour.

Sehwag mentioned that he packed his bag and reached his airport to board the flight. He recalled that he was later informed that he didn't need to board the flight as the players had recovered by then.

The swashbuckling batter made these remarks during an appearance on the show "Breakfast with Champions". The former opener said:

"In the year 1998 during the Sharjah Cup, around six Indian players fell sick. I got a call to take a flight to Sharjah the next day. I got the ticket, packed my bags and went to the airport. As soon as I entered the airport, Ajay Duggal from Trade Wings called and told me not to board the flight as the players have recovered. I was like, 'A kid was about to make his debut, damn!."

Sehwag eventually made his ODI debut on April 1, 1999, against Pakistan in Mohali. The right-handed batter scored just one run in the encounter before falling to Shoaib Akhtar.

"Sit down. You won't become Tendulkar" - Virender Sehwag recalls how his brother mocked him in childhood

Virender Sehwag further spoke about how he started watching cricket during the 1992 World Cup, which took place in Australia. He stated that he was mighty impressed to see a young Sachin Tendulkar play in such an important tournament.

Sehwag recalled that he would watch Tendulkar's bat and then try to initiate him. The right-handed batter suggested that he was mocked by his brothers for the same, adding:

"I had no idea I would play cricket when I started watching him. I started watching cricket from the 1992 World Cup. It would go live at 5 AM. Even my brothers were fond of playing and watching cricket. We'd go to the neighbour's house, as we didn't have a cable connection.
"My neighbour told me about his boy, Sachin Tendulkar. He was quite young, around 19 years old. A 19-year-old boy was playing the World Cup. I was like, "Wow". He would bat, and I would watch on TV and copy his shots. My brothers would mock me saying, 'Sit down. You won't become Tendulkar'.

Notably, Sehwag and Tendulkar shared the Indian dressing room for several years and also went on to become very close friends off the field.

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Edited by Anirudh
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