Sehwag reveals he wanted to bat like Tendulkar when he joined the Indian team
The former Indian opener also reveals why he likes to score off every ball
Virender Sehwag's first ever international match did not go as he would have hoped as he got out in just the second ball he faced in the Pepsi Cup Match against Pakistan in 1999. It took nearly two years before he came up with a score – 58 off 54 balls against Australia – that would help him keep his side in the Indian side.
In his first 20 innings, Sehwag had an average of just 27 and was only occasionally coming up decent scores. He was played in all positions of the Indian batting order, yet still, was not able to bat in a free-flowing manner.
In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Sehwag revealed how he ironed out his initial flaws in batting and was able to finally bat naturally, the way all cricket fans have seen him bat.
Sehwag tells how he tried to imitate Sachin Tendulkar's batting style at the start of his career and had to finally give up and try and be himself.
“I was just playing my game and not thinking that I have to score quickly or do something different except when I joined the team and wanted to bat like Tendulkar. I realised there could be only one Tendulkar and I changed my stance and backlift. I realised I should change my game and I did it. After that, I was playing with my own technique,” he revealed.
The 37-year-old also explained how he began to bat the way he did throughout his career – playing swashbuckling shots and entertaining every watcher. His strike rate in all three formats is evidence of how Sehwag liked to play shots off almost every ball he faced.
“When I was growing up, I played a lot of 10- and 12-over games, I would bat in middle order. I got only 10-odd balls to face and I tried to score as much as I could. I applied the same approach in domestic and international cricket and people were appreciating my strike rate being more than 80 or 90 in Test cricket,” Sehwag said.
Playing more than 100 Test matches, Sehwag is indeed one of a kind with a phenomenal strike rate of 82.23. He also believed that there would be only one Sehwag just like there would be only one Tendulkar.
“Yes, because of my mindset and the impact I had on the team but there was only one Tendulkar.”
Sehwag was critical of the way the domestic schedule was planned and felt it had to be more organised in order to allow players to get enough rest. He blamed the schedule for being the cause of Mohit Sharma's injury which ruled the bowler out of the Indian team.
“I would give suggestion to BCCI. If they can consider this, and give respect to domestic cricket and the same rest period as international cricket, players have a chance of
“You can start in October and finish in March or February. Let's have a five-match window for domestic cricket. You have eight games, followed by the quarter finals, semi-finals and the final, and give proper rest periods, which will keep players fresh,” the former Indian opener suggested.
During Sehwag's felicitation, many media reports suggested that the batsman had missed out on thanking MS Dhoni in his farewell speech. However, Sehwag cleared that up telling that he had a great relationship with the Indian limited-overs captain.
“We had a good relationship. People complained that I didn't thank him (during his retirement speech) but I thanked all my colleagues. So that includes him,” Sehwag explained.