Idol Worship

Yahoo Cricket Interviews

He is not simply a legend. He is God. He is the god of cricket and it has been an absolute privilege to be able to share the dressing room with him and play with him.

He has been mentored by Sachin Tendulkar since his debut in South Africa when he scored his first hundred while batting with the maestro and has since formed one of the most devastating opening pairs in world cricket. Here's Virender Sehwag's very special tribute to his hero.


When you two bat the synergy is excellent. What do you guys discuss while batting?


We enjoy each other's games, have fun in the middle and push each other on. When I play a good shot Sachin speaks to me and often tells me that he knows I can hit more of such shots and I do the same. We just stay focussed and enjoy our time out there in the middle.


Sachin is a legend, isn't he? For 20 long.. (Sehwag interrupts)


He is not simply a legend. He is God. He is the god of cricket and it has been an absolute privilege to be able to share the dressing room with him and play with him.


Talk a bit about the famous centurion partnership in the 2003 World Cup in SA?


Pakistan had scored 273 and the Indian dressing room was completely quiet. Sachin was only listening to music and wasn't even talking to anyone. When the umpires walked out to the middle I went up to him to tell him that we need to go out and we did so. The moment we stepped out to the middle he said he would take first strike. This was because Wasim Akram was bowling and I hadn't faced him before. In the very second over he tore into Shoaib Akhtar and hit the fantastic six over point. He followed it up with three boundaries and we raced off to a blistering start. The Pakistanis were abusing us in Hindi and I urged him to continue hitting them. That was our retort for their behaviour. Also, let me say that the hit over slip or point is a stroke I learnt from Sachin and have used it ever since.


Sachin has now said that he will play the 2011 World Cup. Your thoughts.


Why only 2011 he is fit enough to even play the 2015 World Cup. See his innings in Hyderabad. He fielded for 50 overs and then came out to bat and played for 47 overs. Not many Indian players have been able to do that over the years. He still practices more than any youngster and he is fit enough to play for many years. After practice Gary throws balls at him for over 40 minutes and he continues to knock them around.


His dedication is infectious. Off the field he is a fun-loving guy. He loves playing video games and enjoys going to the movies with us. I am fortunate to be able to spend time with him and it is fantastic that he will play the 2011 World Cup.


He is Sachin's best buddy. He has been presented with eight bats by the master over the last two years and thinks Sachin was well capable of picking 350 wickets had he been a bowler. Sachin completing his 20 years in international cricket is a very special occasion for this sardar from Jalandhar. Harbhajan Singh shares his views about Sachin.


Bhajji, Sachin completing 20 years is a special moment for you as well. Isn't it?


Absolutely it is. And to remain at the very top for all these years makes it all the more special. He is an extraordinary man and a truly great friend who I can turn to at any point in time in my life.


Tell me about your first meeting with Sachin?


I met him for the first time in Jalandhar. India was playing Sri Lanka and I was asked to come and bowl at the nets to the Indian batsman. By the time I reached the ground the practice session was over. Sachin came out and spoke to me for two minutes. It meant the world to me.


Tell me about sharing the dressing room and anything in particular that you have learnt from him?


I have learnt a lot from him both on and off the field. Off the field I'd only eat Indian food when we travelled out of India. Sachin was the one who told me not to restrict myself to makai ki roti and chicken (laughs). He has introduced me to a wide range of cuisines and I have now learnt to adapt to all conditions and palettes. On the field I learnt the outswinger from him ,which I use if I have to bowl early in the innings. I have picked many wickets with this ball.


He is blessed. I haven't seen many who can spin the ball as much as he can. Had he wanted to be a bowler he could easily have picked 350 wickets. Not many remember that it was Sachin with the ball who won us the famous Kolkata Test in 2001 against Australia. The two of us bowled in tandem and he picked up three crucial wickets on the last day of the match.


Did he give you anything after that special performance of yours?


He gave me a pair of spikes. Had it been today I'd have asked for his Ferrari! But those spikes are invaluable for me. Over the last two years he has given me 8-9 bats of his own. I have been batting with them ever since and my batting has improved considerably over the last couple of years.


Sydney remains a Test match I must ask you about. Did it help you during monkeygate that Sachin was out there with you?

Of course it did. Had Sachin not been there the situation could have gone completely out of control. He was a calming influence and did much for me all through the controversy. He is a special man and I wish him all the best with everything he does even after he retires from the game in a few years.