‘Lucky to have played in era of great cricketers’
37-year-old Sehwag, who donned India colours from 1999 to 2013, said that he learnt a lot from the likes of Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble.
“I am lucky that played for the country with great players like Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Anil Kumble, V V S Laxman, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, M S Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj. I learnt a lot from them, the way they played and the way they prepared for games,” Sehwag said.
The only triple centurion Indian in Test cricket, Sehwag said he did not see his game only in terms of statistics, though he did possess at least a feat even a Tendulkar or a Sunil Gavaskar does not boast of. “I don’t see my career like ‘I am the only triple centurion in Test cricket’. My role models were Sachin, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. I grew up watching them play and I also learnt a lot from them,” said Sehwag, who scored 8586 runs from 104 Tests (average 49.34) and 8273 runs from 251 ODIs. He said he was happy to retire from international cricket.
“I played my game. My funda was to score on every ball and bowl a bit if I can. I want to hit every ball, it’s see the ball and hit it. I always had positive mindest. That is how I played the game. Because of the positive mindset, I was able to score a lot of runs,” said Sehwag, who last played in India colours in a Test against Australia in Hyderabad in March 2013.
“I have scored a lot of runs and I am pretty happy with my career. I can’t say that I have achieved less or achieved more. I am happy to retire from international cricket. I will miss cricket, the bat and the ball but I think it is the time to retire. Thanks to all my fans, the BCCI, my coaches, friends, colleagues and team-mates who supported me always,” he added. Sehwag described his debut Test in South Africa in 2001 as the most memorable moment of his career since he was considered a one-day player and not suitable to play the longest format.
“Scoring my first 300, winning the World Cup in 2011, scoring 201 against Sri Lanka were my most cherished moments. But the most memorable moment in my career was when I made my Test debut. Before that I was considered as an ODI player, my style suited only for the one-day game.
“I went on to play Test cricket. When I scored my first Test 100 (in his debut Test), people started thinking that I can play Test cricket. So, my Test debut was my most memorable moment,” he said.
He thanked former captain Ganguly for his faith in him to name him in the team for the first Test in Bloemfontein in the first Test against South Africa in 2001. “Ganguly sacrificed his opening spot for me, he loved me and had confidence in me. So, thank you Sourav, I am grateful to you. You saw me as a Test player. Had I not played in Tests, I would not have scored these so many runs,” he said.
I had the best seat during most of his superlative performances on field. I am sure Viru will do much more to bring joy & smiles to our faces - Sachin Tendulkar
Over the years he has been a great example for his peers and youngsters alike. He has given cricket lovers a lot of joy with his batting - Shashank Manohar
Most of us have self doubts when we face crisis but Viru never felt that he needed to change anything. He always stuck to his self belief - Gautam Gambhir
Didn’t see Viv Richards bat in person but I can proudly say I have witnessed Virender Sehwag tearing apart the best bowling attacks - MS Dhoni
Pleasure to have played with you @virendersehwag bhai. What an amazing career. Thanks for the guidance and the memories. Modern day legend - Virat Kohli
Salute to the Legend Sehwag, wish you and family the best for future. Go well brother. Modern era’s Viv Richards, Sehwag a top player - Harbhajan Singh
Sehwag: ‘Sultan of Multan’
Bestowed the sobriquet of ‘Sultan of Multan’ after his triple ton in Pakistan, Virender Sehwag carved a niche for himself with his great hand-eye coordination to become India’s most destructive opening batsman of the modern era.
A fierce cutter of the cricket ball, Sehwag, 37, made a place for himself in the Sachin Tendulkar era with minimum footwork and maximum intent, a genius that was a delight on the field. Making his international debut in an ODI against Pakistan, Sehwag went on to play 104 Tests and 251 one-day matches for India, scoring 8586 runs at an average of 47.35 in the longest version and 8273 runs in the 50-over format. But it was his strike-rate of 82.23 in Tests and 104.33 in ODIs is what set him apart from his contemporaries.
Sehwag has registered 23 hundreds and 32 fifties in Test matches, while his 15 tons and 38 fifties were also delightful knocks in ODIs. He might have been trapped LBW for 1 in his ODI debut against Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar, a man against whom he won many battles in years to follow, but Sehwag scored a brilliant ton in his first Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein, while batting at No.6.
India lost the match by 9 wickets but Sehwag’s 220-run fifth-wicket partnership with Sachin (155) is what stood apart making it clear that the boy from Najafgarh was here to stay.
Having instilled fear in opposition bowlers, Sehwag’s crowning moment came in 2004, when he blasted a 309 against Pakistan and became the first Indian to score a triple ton in cricket history. His voracious appetite for runs continued as four years later he scored the fastest triple century -- in 278 balls -- in world cricket after hitting an unbeaten 319 against South Africa in Chennai.
Sehwag also holds the distinction of being one of the four batsmen in the world to have surpassed 300 twice in Test cricket, and the only one to score two triple centuries and take a five-wicket innings haul.
Sehwag also notched up six double centuries in his 11-year-old Test career during which he made a distinct place for himself in a batting line-up comprising big names like Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. In April 2009, Sehwag became the only Indian to be honoured as the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for his performance in 2008, subsequently becoming the first player of any nationality to retain the award for 2009.