Ahmedabad: Veteran Indian cricketer and IPL superstar Virendar Sehwag was having breakfast at a 5 star restaurant where our reporter caught up with him for a short interview and discussed in detail about his hitting strategies for the upcoming IPL matches.
Reporter: Hello Viru
Sehwag: Hello ji hello
Reporter: Viru let’s get started. International cricket, as we know it, is very competitive today. And each match is a pressure match. Consequently prior to every match every batsman strategizes his shots selection and prepares himself against key bowlers from the opposite team. Well known batsmen have been known to watch detailed videos of their old innings to learn from their mistakes. How do “you” specifically prepare before international matches?
Sehwag: I generally prefer to have a big glass of lassi before the match, that’s a must. It should have loads of sugar for energy and a bit of mint for taste. And if hot samosas are available in dressing room I take one big bite into the aloo part of it. That’s it.
Reporter: No I did not mean that, I meant the night before the match, your batting strategy, analyzing old innings videos etc.?
Sehwag: Ye sab chhuchhundar baazi nahi karta main. Mera balla hi hai meri strategy. Bachpan se I have learned only one thing, that a batsman should not think who the bowler is, will he bowl an in-swinger or a leg-break? Will he pitch it short or right near the pads? I don’t pester myself with such inane questions. I just gotta swing my bat at whatever comes my way. After that either it’s my way or highway. That’s what years of gully cricket in streets of Najafgarh has taught me. And that’s why I hate spinners.
Reporter: You hate spinners, why so?
Sehwag: Abhi bola na? Ok let me explain. See, with pacers I can comfortably swing my bat at whatever they throw at me, because ball comes on the bat quickly. But spinners bowl so slow that I end up “seeing” the ball before it reaches me, I just hate that. That makes it even harder for me. To avoid that I generally keep my eyes closed when spinners or medium pacers bowl to me. Even if for some reason I really have to keep my eyes open then I keep looking at umpire’s hat or I keep on focusing on the crowd. That’s precisely why I also hate playing the game of soccer. In soccer you have to concentrate on one ball all the time, that’s what I hate to do.
Reporter: Wow, we never noticed that you keep your eyes closed till you hit the ball. But what about after you have swung the bat and hit the ball, then you do focus on where the ball is going, don’t you?
Sehwag: Well no, even then I am more concerned about how the crowd is reacting to my shot, that tells me where the ball went, and I act accordingly.
Reporter: What if you are batting at 99, then you would definitely look at the ball before hitting it?
Sehwag: (Laughs) You really think so? … 9 or 99 or 299 … I don’t care. If in future ICC starts some new format of 10 day matches and I am batting on 999, I won’t still look at the ball, I’ll just hit it. Batting with concentration is just not my thing you see. … Well I got to rush now to get some sleep, if you don’t have any more questions.
Reporter: Thanks Viru for this interview, we have brought a gift for you as a token of thanks for this interview.
Sehwag: Great, what is it?
Reporter: Here is a set of 6 red colored hand-made cricket balls, crafted with your name on each of them.
Sehwag: Oh no no don’t show them to me, I hate to see the cricket balls, just quietly keep them in my bag please. Thanks for the gift though.
Reporter: Ok thanks for your time and best of the luck for the next match.
As we left Viru’s table we saw Ravi Shastri joining Viru for breakfast and after a few minutes they got into a verbal spat. Among other phrases, ‘Cricket will still be a winner’ was one phrase we could clearly decipher as Shastri was repeating it multiple times.