“I was planning to retire in 2007”, says Virender Sehwag: Virender Sehwag alias ‘The Nawab of Najafgarh’ called it a day in international cricket on his 37th Birthday on October 20. But the news of his retirement could have come 8 years had a certain Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar not forbidden him from bidding adieu to the international circuit after the former was dropped from the Indian team in 2007. In an interview given to Zee News yesterday, the 37 year old retired cricketer discussed the causes behind his retirement and the various obstacles that forced him to ponder on his retirement plans in his 15 year-long international career.
The rumbustious opener last played an international match in March 2013 during the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy played on home soil. He was dropped from the Test squad following the 2nd Test of that series and was never considered again by the selectors for the national team.
The melancholy echoed in Sehwag’s words when he said, ‘’The selectors did not ask me about my future plans before dropping me during the Australia series in 2013. Had the selectors told me about their decision, I could have announced my retirement in that series’’.
He further added, ‘’ Every player wants to retire at the top of his international game. Had I also retired while playing international cricket, I could have given a retirement speech. But fate had something else in store for me’’. His slowing reflexes resulted in his poor form and while the easy-going opener was always optimistic of making a comeback into the national set-up, the constant laxity of the selectors enchanted him of his idealistic views of donning the Indian jersey ever again.
That said; he may get a chance to deliver a farewell speech at the Feroz Shah Kotla with the BCCI contemplating to give the experienced campaigner an official farewell during the fourth and final Test match between India and South Africa scheduled to be played from December 3 to December 7.
The explosive opener on the field has always been a gentle family man when off it. It is needless to say that the announcement of his retirement has disheartened his family, who kept supporting him relentlessly during his numerous ordeals. ‘’My sons Aryavir and Vedant are upset. But it doesn’t matter to me’’, said Sehwag.
Probably, the most stunning disclosure of the entire tete-a-tete came when Virender Sehwag revealed that it was Tendulkar who consoled him to carry on with his game and endure the ‘bouncers’ thrown at him by destiny. He commented, ‘’ I was planning to retire in 2007 when dropped from the team but Tendulkar stopped me from doing so’’. Thanks to Tendulkar’s reassurance, the swashbuckling opener made a strong comeback in 2008 and blasted a triple century against South Africa at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in March that year (the 2nd triple century of his career and the fastest triple hundred hit in the history of international cricket). Since making his comeback, he scripted several other records such as the scoring the fastest 250 in Test history, reaching the highest score in ODI (219 against the West Indies at Indore in 2011) history and so on.
He has always confessed that he shares a cordial relationship with Tendulkar and owes a lot to his erstwhile opening partner in ODIs. The aforementioned statement is just one of the many acknowledgements that testify to the fact. The ‘Sultan of Multan’ also shared an enviable partnership with the ‘Master Blaster’ on the 22 yards. The pair opened India’s batting on 93 occasions and amassed 3913 runs at a startling average of 42.13 with 18 fifty and 12 hundred run stands to their credit. The pair stands on the 4th position as far as the most prolific opening partnerships in ODIs are concerned.
Virender Sehwag played under as many as 5 Indian captains in his 15 year-long international career, but rated Anil Kumble as the best skipper he had played with. ‘’Anil Kumble was the best captain I have played with. He used to boost our confidence level’’.
When asked about his post-retirement plans, he replied jovially with a slight grin on his face, a likeness of how he used to improvise his game with the upper during his playing days. ‘’ I will always be connected with this game. If I get an offer from the BCCI or commentary offers, I will consider it. My commentary would we straight forward like it’’, emphasised Sehwag who can be a good fit for the commentary box if he gets an opportunity as he is known to be a person who to speaks his mind.
The ‘former’ Indian opener has represented India in 104 Tests and 251 ODIs and scored 8586 (at an average of 47.35) and 8273 runs (at an average of 35.05) in Tests and 50 overs cricket respectively. He is currently captaining Haryana in their 2014-15 Ranji Trophy campaign after parting ways with Delhi earlier this year. He will later take part in the Masters Champions League T20 involving retired stars in the USA; a tournament which happens to be the brainchild of former international superstars Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar, which is likely to be held in February 2016 ..