Mumbai: Indian opener Virender Sehwag has conceded that his axing from the Indian team four years ago forced him to look inwards and make changes in his game which eventually paid him rich dividends.
“When I got dropped from the team in 2007, nobody expected the selectors to drop me but they did because of poor form. That’s when I changed my game both in terms of thinking and playing style. I started thinking on how to make my way back into the team,” Sehwag was quoted as saying in a media release.
The swashbuckling batsman, who very nearly scored a Test triple ton in a single day’s play after his comeback, was responding to a query about ‘Change the Game moment’ in his career as part of soft drinks major Pepsi’s World Cup campaign.
“I got a chance and that’s when I proved myself again; I saved a test match for India when I scored 150 not out in Adelaide against Australia.”
“I had just scored 20 runs in 2 hours...can you imagine Sehwag scoring 20 runs in two hours? That was not how I played, but I changed my game just to save the Test match,” he pointed out.
Sehwag, who was dropped in early 2007 from the ODI squad and later from the Test team too before storming his way back into the team, mentions improvisation as the key to his altered game.
“Change The Game for me is the self belief and self confidence that pushes one beyond the limitations. To changethe game, one has to think beyond the limitations and improvise.”
“I have that confidence and the self belief that I can do whatever is needed to be done and change the game on the field, especially in the crunch situations,” according to Sehwag.
The upper cut or “upar” cut, the slash that sends the ball over the slip cordon to the third man region, has been mentioned as by Sehwag as one of the game changing shots though he had not practised it in the nets.
“There are things that come naturally to you and the Upar Cut is one of them. I never practised this shot in the nets and have always gone with natural instincts while hitting the ball.”
“With the Upper Cut, I could easily hit third man six off a fast ball that would surprise the bowlers. Since, it came to me naturally, that made it easier for me to perfect it. I always try to think beyond the limits and the Upar Cut, especially has been a true game changer for me”.
The India opener has also recalled the Chennai Test match against England when his pyrotechnics when chasing an imposing total of close to 400 helped India rocket off.
“I remember once we were chasing around 387 runs against England and I scored a quick-fire 85 off just 50 odd balls. Those quick runs particularly changed the game in favour of our team. And eventually we had to chase less than 200 runs on the last day of the Test match with six-seven wickets still in hand.”
Sehwag, in fact, made 83 off only 68 balls with 4 sixes and 11 fours before Sachin Tendulkar scored a brilliant, unbeaten 103 and Yuvraj Singh got 85 not out that piloted India to a six-wicket victory on the final day of the first match of the two-Test series in December, 2008.
He mentions captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Tendulkar among the game changers he admires.
“MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir are few players who change the game beyond the ordinary. Their thinking on and off the field helps achieve success and also excel in any format of the game”.