Virender Sehwag, the dazzling opening batter, has stressed on the need for India to not carry the pressure of playing World Cup knockouts.
Sehwag, who was formally inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame here on Tuesday evening, recalled how the team kept negative thoughts away during India’s triumphant run in the 2011 World Cup.
“When we were chatting before the games, everyone was telling each other to give your best. Just go out there, give your best. No praising amongst each other,” Sehwag said in a chat with Ian Bishop.
“Gary Kirsten (head coach) also ensured there was no negativity in the dressing room. He just told us to go out and play the best cricket that we can. That worked for us.”
While interacting with mediapersons after his induction, Sehwag played down the luck factor, something that India captain Rohit Sharma had pointed out during the pre-match interaction with the media ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal against New Zealand.
“You need a bit of luck in knockout games, but you also need to play well. I remember against Pakistan in 2011, we had only score 260 odd. But our bowlers bowled to win the match,” Sehwag said. “The team is definitely playing good cricket. Thoda luck bhi mil gaya to sone pe suhaga hoga (A little bit of luck will be like icing on the cake).”
Sehwag was all praise for Rohit, the captain, for leading the aggressive way of batting. “He has been batting freely for a while. But now that he is the captain, he is taking more responsibility to good starts and score lot of runs. It’s amazing how he is taking care of Shubman Gill,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag also narrated how Zaheer Khan suggested to Sourav Ganguly to promote him as an opener for India. He recalled a Duleep Trophy game between North Zone and West Zone on a green top where he scored 180-plus. “It was a green top and they had Zaheer, Ajit Agarkar and Santosh Saxena as pacers. Once I scored, Zaheer told Sourav I should open for India, that’s how I started opening in ODIs,” Sehwag said.
“Later on in England, Ganguly told me I am batting so well in the middle order, I should open in Tests. I told him why can’t you or Sachin Tendulkar do it and I need written assurance about being made to bat in the middle order should I fail. He wrote it on a paper and the rest is history.”
Sehwag, former Sri Lanka captain Aravinda de Silva and former India women’s captain Diana Edulji were inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame at a star-studded gathering. The event was attended by legends of the game, including Sir Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting and Shaun Pollock. Also in attendance were Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, and Mpumelelo Mbangwa.
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