Our batsmen lacked patience: Sehwag
Kolkata, Dec 8: After a roller coaster fourth day at the Eden Gardens that saw 13 wickets fall for 253 runs, India are staring at their second consecutive Test defeat at home, at the hands of England. If it wasn’t for R Ashwin’s determined unbeaten 83, the home team would have been facing an innings defeat by now. And had England finished the match with a day to spare, the gathered media personnel would have missed being treated with some refreshing gems of simplicity, honesty and confidence from Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag, who addressed the press conference after the day’s play, had no qualms in admitting that Indian batsmen’s lack of patience and application at the crease had put the team on the threshold of a defeat.
After he and Gautam Gambhir took the team into the lunch break at 86/0, the Indian supporters harboured dreams of a saved Test. Little did they knew what was coming on the other side of the break. It was a freefall to the tune of six wickets for 59 runs. So, did the wicket get possessed all of a sudden? Sehwag reckoned otherwise. “We’re very disappointed because the wicket was not such that we could lose six wickets in a session. We have to work harder in the coming game.”
Remarkably, it was Sehwag’s wicket off the first ball after lunch that triggered the downfall. His dismissal opened up the floodgates for the English to barge into India’s top and middle orders. But the impactful opening batsman refuses to believe that the team is over-dependent on him for runs.
“That’s how the media looks at it. Ours is a very good team and there are six batsmen who are capable of scoring hundreds and double hundreds. The team is not dependent on me at all,” he said.
But he did admit that his presence at the wicket has a huge impact on the opposition. “They give a lot of respect to my game and that’s why they put fielders in the deep when I’m batting,” he said.
“I’m used to it now. Every team that comes here puts fielders on the fence and try to stop my boundaries. But still I have to score runs and I manage that. The other batsmen don’t play the way I do and hence the field is up for them all the time,” Sehwag said while assessing the opposition teams’ changing mindset.
Even as the more celebrated batsmen of the team followed each other hurriedly back into the hut, No.8 batter R Ashwin restored some of his team’s pride with a 151-ball 83*. According to Sehwag Ashwin succeeded because he applied himself better than the rest. He also felt the lack of patience and crease occupation was the main reason for India’s plight in the series.
“I think our batting has let us down in both the Tests. If our batsmen put up 400-500 runs on the board, our bowlers would have something to play with. If we get out in 250-300, it’s difficult for the bowlers to defend and pick wickets.
“England batsmen have showed more patience than us. Our bowlers tried everything – they bowled slow, quick, flighted the ball, they bowled flat. But their batsmen batted well. We didn’t show enough patience,” he said.
Sehwag gave a tongue in cheek reply when asked whether the team is finding it difficult to cope with the retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
“When [Cheteshwar] Pujara scored that double century [in the first Test at Ahmedabad], you guys [the media] started saying that we’ve found replacement for Rahul Dravid. You didn’t wait for a couple of more matches. And now you’re saying that we cannot cope without Dravid and Laxman,” he said with a straight face.
“This is a transition period and you have to give time to the youngsters. They will bounce back and score runs. In this series we haven’t put runs on the board. The moment we have 500 runs on the board it becomes a different ballgame.”
The possibility of that happening in this Test is zilch. And Sehwag knows that. He echoed the sentiments of a billion Indian supporters when he said, “Only god can help us save this Test now.”