Sehwag 'honoured' to have a gate at Kotla named after him

Inaugurating the Virender Sehwag Gate at the Feroz Shah Kotla here, the right-hander said it was a huge honour to have a gate named after him at the ground where he started his journey to become a great cricketer. 

Virender Sehwag is congratulated by India head coach Ravi Shastri after one of the gates at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was named after the former Delhi batsman.   -  BCCI

Virender Sehwag was in a celebratory mood on Wednesday. The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), under the guidance of Administrator Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen, named Gate No. 3 after the legendary opening batsman, who has two triple centuries in Tests.

In a first at the Kotla, Justice Sen fulfilled the promise made to Sehwag by the then DDCA top brass to name a gate after him when he scored 309 against Pakistan at Multan in 2004.

The proposal was put in cold storage before the Sen-appointed Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) took the decision to bestow the honour on Sehwag on the eve of the India-New Zealand T20 match.

“I was very happy when I got to know that a good start has been made in Delhi. A gate has been named after me and I hope in the coming years, more cricketers will get to have a similar honour.

"I hope later we can have the dressing room, stands and other things named after cricketers. It’s a good thing and positive move from DDCA,” said a beaming Sehwag.

Surrounded by some former international cricketers hailing from Delhi, Sehwag revealed, “I had a wish that whenever such a function happens, we should call all the cricketers who have represented Delhi and India, all the people I was connected with.”

Accompanied by his sons – Aryaveer and Vedant – and close friends Raju Sharma, Mahesh Bhati, Rajat Bhatia, Amit Bhandari, the former India opener took care to ensure his coach, A. N. Sharma, didn't feel left out even as the media glare was on him.

“It is a happy occasion that players who played with me, taught me or I played first time with, in Ranji Trophy, are here.  Those who couldn’t be here were not here (in Delhi).”

Prominent among those present were Prakash Bhandari, the first player from Delhi to play a Test in 1955, Madan Lal, Sunil Valson, Yashpal Sharma, Chetan Sharma, Sanjeev Sharma, Gursharan Singh, Hari Gidwani, Atul Wassan, Vijay Dahiya and Nikhil Chopra.

The CAC, comprising Madan Lal, Valson, Saba Karim, G. S. Vivek and Amita Sharma, came in for praise for its commendable job.

Sehwag fondly remembered his early days at the Kotla. “Bishan Singh Bedi was my first Ranji coach and he used to motivate me a lot to play good and for India. Then I got a lot of batting tips from Jimmy pa (Mohinder Amarnath). When we used to go to Baroda and Goa, he would come and talk to us.”

The naming of the gate should inspire others, observed Sehwag.

“Any young cricketer will get motivated by reading the name and knowing that Virender Sehwag played here as a kid and when he left, there is a gate named after him.

"The kid can feel if I can also play U-19, U-16, U-23 or Ranji Trophy for Delhi and then represent India, then possibly a gate, stand or something will be named after me,” he said.

India coach Ravi Shastri, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, Ashish Nehra, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav and Manish Pandey too congratulated Sehwag personally.