In an interview with The Indian Express, Sehwag speaks about the excessive demands of T20 on his batting, on how Ganguly was an example to follow during his comeback and how that gap from international cricket was a blessing in disguise. Excerpts from the chat...
It's been a hectic evening for Virender Sehwag. Wearing the red and black Delhi Daredevils uniform, with the legend 'Viru' inscribed on the back, the Indian opener has just rehearsed all the shots in his armoury for the camera. This is a vital part of the cricket entertainment unfolding that is the IPL. In an interview with The Indian Express, Sehwag speaks about the excessive demands of T20 on his batting, on how Ganguly was an example to follow during his comeback and how that gap from international cricket was a blessing in disguise. Excerpts from the chat...
Everyone says T20 is cut out for your brand of cricket. Do you enjoy the format?
Actually, I love playing ODIs and Test cricket more than anything. I have not done as well in T20 as in the other two formats despite the fact that T20 is completely tailor-made for batsmen like me because you have the license to hit. I'm looking forward to the IPL to get a few good scores in this version as well. I have been given a responsibility with the Delhi Daredevils - we have a good young side with a perfect set of foreign players.
Vivian Richards once said he wasn't sure if he would have been a hit in T20. Is this a similar sentiment?
Yes, there's lot of expectations from every stroke-player in this format. People have a set mindset about your style and you're expected to hit each ball for six or four.
You have to be careful about not making mistakes because you're facing the best of bowlers and you're trying to whack every ball out of the park. It's not difficult, but it's too demanding for a player like me. The sheer pressure and expectations sometimes gets to you.
You've always been proud of your natural playing style. At this stage of your career, are you changing your style to stay in the team?
No, I still haven't changed my style of play, but my way of thinking. I'm just trying to think about the responsibilities I have for the team and play accordingly. Like in Adelaide during my double century, I didn't get a single boundary between lunch and tea. I'm going to bat in the ODIs like I batted in Test matches. I am going to control my aggression, not play shots all the time and try and build my innings.
You were out of the side for some time. How did you spend the months in wilderness?
The months I was out of the side were a blessing in disguise. I got time to learn from my mistakes - I learnt that I was extra-positive in my approach, and that went against me. I got a lot of time to reset my batting. I spoke to a lot of cricket experts, and they also advised me to sit back and rethink my game.
You had a session with Paddy Upton before the triple century in Chennai...
Paddy basically asked me to think of what I was doing right in the past and what of those things I wasn't doing any more. After the triple ton, he asked me to note down all that I did right in a diary... it's basically like doing homework or revision - the next time I go out to bat, I can just read it.
Sourav Ganguly made a famous comeback just before you. Did you look up to him as an example?
Of course. Dada has been a constant source of inspiration. When I was out of the side, he used to text me quite a lot and I used to call him up as well. He always told me that I have the potential, talent and ability to make a comeback, he told me that I was good enough to be in the team and keep working hard. That was really encouraging.
During the Australia one-day series, when you were not part of the playing XI, there were reports that you weren't happy with the skipper...
That is absolutely false. I don't know where it came from. Dhoni and I share a good rapport and I had a chat with him. I didn't have any problem with anything. Dhoni was taking a decision that was favourable for the entire team rather than any particular individual.
For me, it was much more satisfying that the team performed and won. I wasn't going to brood over the fact that I wasn't part of the playing XI.
Your off-spin has been getting you some big wickets and at times you have looked as comfortable as the specialists. Why do you tend to be so casual about that aspect?
I have never been casual with my bowling. I have always taken it very seriously and have been bowling regularly in the nets and in domestic games. But I am still a part-time bowler and I can't be bowling more than the main bowlers.
The captain will almost always utilise his main bowlers more, so at times it might appear that I do not take it seriously. But I am dead serious about my bowling.