NEW DELHI: That Virender Sehwag had an uncomplicated, unfettered approach to batting, which resulted in over 17,000 international runs, is the stuff of Indian cricket legend. But did you know that the man who helped change the face of opening in Tests was not one for tactical discussions in team meetings?
R Ashwin, India’s premier spin bowler, has revealed a few insights into how Sehwag was behind closed doors when it came time to formulate team plans. Speaking to stand-up comedian and cricket humourist Vikram Sathaye in the first episode of his digital premium show ‘What The Duck 2’, which streams today, the 30-year-old narrated an incident from the 2011 World Cup.
Apparently, Sehwag used to hate team meetings as he did not believe in playing as the team wanted nor as per any strategy. “During the team meeting in 2011, when we were playing England at Bangalore, Gary (Kirsten, former India coach) had scheduled a meeting at 10am. Prior to the meeting, Sehwag had told Gary that he wanted to discuss something at that meeting. While everybody thought that Sehwag wanted to contribute tips or discuss learnings from the previous game, Sehwag, his usual witty self, began discussion around the complimentary passes that every player was eligible to receive,” said Ashwin.
“Everybody at that meeting was thrown off by initiation of this discussion. Sehwag mentioned that he got to know that all players were eligible for six passes, but were being given only three. So he decided to take matters in his own hands and mentioned that come what may, before the toss, the team must be handed over their passes. This was the first meeting that went on for a whole 20 mins. Viru had also threatened to not play the game if the passes were not given to the players!”
“He just wanted to see the ball and hit it. Thus, Sehwag used to be the least participative during such team meetings,” added Ashwin, who then highlighted that the Indian team meetings generally would go on for a grand two minutes. “There used to be a presentation that would run, followed by a short speech addressed by Gary. MS (Dhoni) would then take over, would not utter a word and that was how the meetings would end.”