Lucky to have got the chance: Sehwag
Indore, Dec 9: Virender Sehwag, India’s audacious opening batsman, became the highest run-scorer in One-day Internationals after he slammed 219 runs off 149 balls against the West Indies in Indore. His phenomenal innings powered India to their highest ever ODI total of 418 runs which helped them seal a 3-1 win in the five-match ODI series.
Speaking to the media in the post-match press conference, Sehwag said he was happy to have overtaken Sachin’s record as the highest run-scorer and become the second player to score a double-ton in ODI history. The Indian skipper also lauded Rahul Sharma for claiming three wickets on debut.
On the congratulatory messages pouring in after his feat
I have just switched on my phone and there are some 700 to 800 messages already but I still haven’t got the time to read them. But I have spoken to my wife and my mother and both are very happy. The selection committee Chairman, [K] Srikkanth called; he is very happy and has [offered his] congratulations. After this press conference I will have to attend more phone calls.
On the credit for the big score
Yes, first of all I would like to thank Mr. Ranbir Singh Mahindra who called me after the Vizag game and said, ‘You spent a lot of time [at the crease] and you threw your wicket [away] when the spinner came’. So I said, ‘Sir, the next time I get a start, I will try to make it a big one.’ While I was batting I kept telling myself, ‘Make it a big one’ and in the end I got 219.
On achieving the rare feat of an ODI double-century
[…] I said at the presentation when you [step] into your 30s, you [have] more experience, you have matured and you know what to do. [After] you have played almost ten years of international cricket, you [know] you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. You have to apply yourself so I think it’s the right time […] People were expecting that I could score a double-hundred and I did it [so] I am pretty happy.
On being back amongst the runs
I was telling Gautam Gambhir if both of us spent some time [at the crease], we could give a good start to the team. If we tried to bat for 15-20 overs, [we] would give [the team] a good start and then our young middle-order, which is very talented, [could add runs] and we could set the West Indies a good target. While batting we felt that the wicket was very good so we thought we should bat for 30-35 overs and not just 15-20 overs. After that we kept playing our shots and did not think about anything else.
On how he felt after surpassing his idol Sachin Tendulkar’s record
Although I am happy I have broken my role model’s record, that is no parameter. I don’t think anyone can make 200 [runs] again and again because in so many years only two double-hundreds have been scored in [one-day] international cricket. But there are other exciting players who can do this, like Chris Gayle [from West Indies] and Shane Watson from Australia. If they play [all] 50 overs [of an innings], they can score the runs. However, I was happy I surpassed Sachin’s score.
On who he would dedicate the innings to
I will dedicate the innings to my dad because today he is not with us. If he was with us today he would have been the happiest person.
On the pitch’s role in his innings
We have played on better pitches but scoring 200 runs is not easy; you have to play at least 150 balls and the opposition attack tries everything to get you out. Opportunities like this come only once in anyone’s life. So many players have retired without ever getting such an opportunity so I consider myself lucky that I got the chance to score 200 runs.
On whether this was one of his best innings
I think this is one of the best innings that I have played in one-dayers. In Test cricket you have a lot of time, you have five days, [of which] at least two or three days you can bat, pace your innings. But in one-day cricket you have to maintain the run-rate and you have to play really well to achieve these kinds of scores […]
On whether India had thought they could post a mammoth score of over 400
We had not thought we would be able to post such a big score. We were first thinking that we would field first after winning the toss because there would be dew here which would probably help our spinners. But some of our players said that they had played the Challenger [Trophy] here and none of the teams was able to chase down the totals. So five minutes before the toss I changed my decision and decided that if we won the toss, we would bat first. I did not know we could put up such a big score here but when we started playing we felt it was a good wicket for batting. If Gautam and I applied ourselves and tried to see the first 10 to 12 overs through, [we could then] decide what to do. In 10 to 12 overs we had made 60 [-odd] runs but after that we started playing more positively.
On Gautam Gambhir’s run out
I think it happens when you have a good understanding with any player; you call wrongly and your partner gets out. I was very upset when Gautam got run out. I apologised to him, said sorry at least ten times in the dressing room and still I say I am sorry for [the] Gautam Gambhir [run out].
On Sachin Tendulkar’s impending hundredth ton
He can do it anywhere anytime; it is just a matter of time.
On debutant Rahul Sharma
Rahul Sharma impressed [me] a lot. We had seen him in the IPL but the way the wicket was and [considering the] target, it seemed like all the West Indies batsmen would go after him; but he bowled well. I think he will be a good bowler for India in the future.
On whether he felt the need for a runner
I was fit; I was running well till the 47th over. I don’t think I missed a runner.
On the forthcoming tour to Australia
Australia will be a different tour. When we go there I will do my preparation and will try to do well there also. During the last two tours [there] our team has put up a good performance; [we] will try to do well this time too.
On performing similarly in Australia
It is difficult to say what we will or will not do there. But every player tries to give his best in any series that he plays […] It is important to give your best.
On the crowd support
The crowd was good and supported Team India till the last ball […] I am happy with it.