Kolkata: Amidst the air of uncertainty lurking over the appointment of the new Indian coach, ace Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reveals that former Indian opener Virender Sehwag had a ‘demoralising effect’ on him.
Sehwag is an applicant for the post for the job of the Indian coach. At a chat show named, ‘What the Duck 2’ the all-rounder narrated an incident in a net session involving him and Sehwag some few years back.
He said, “There was an incident in Dambulla, where every ball that I bowled, first ball I bowled outside off stump, Sehwag cut me. Next ball I bowled on off stump, he cuts me. Next ball I bowled on middle stump, he cuts me. The next ball I bowl on leg stump, he again cuts me. So I said ‘what the hell is happening’. So I just bowled a ball fuller, Sehwag stepped out and slugged me out for a six,”
This left the 30-year old from Tamil Nadu bamboozled and clueless as he was finding it difficult to find a place in the team back then.
“So I said to myself either I am just not good enough or this guy is just way too good… which he was. But to the greater Sachin Tendulkar also, I didn’t struggle with bowling so much in the nets too. I was very inquisitive. I observed this for a few days” he continued.
Finally, he went up to him and had a chat about this. “But then I couldn’t hold myself back, I went to him (Sehwag) and asked, ‘so what should I do to improve’. If I had ask to Sachin, he would have given me some tips. If it were MS, he would have given me a perspective,” Ashwin said.
Sehwag then answered back with an intimidating reply as he said, “You know what, I don’t think off-spinners are bowlers. They do not trouble me at all. I just find it easy smashing them’. I said ‘Sir you are cutting me’. He said, ‘Yeah, I hit off-spinners against the spin on the off side and for left-arm spinners, I will hit against the spin on the leg side.”
Ashwin further recalled, “I said, ‘okay, fine’. The next day I tried something in the nets he again started hitting me in different zones. He was actually treating me like a road-rag. Like how I would treat a 10 year-old kid, if I was batting against him,”
But the off-spinner did not lose heart and finally found out a way to dismiss the attacking batsman. He said that the best possible way to dismiss Sehwag is to bowl bad balls.
“So the best possible plan against Sehwag was to bowl every single ball as best rubbish ball that you can give. And I got him out a few times in the IPL that way. Because what he expects is not what you dish out. Because he expects you to bowl good balls,” he said.
He also explained as to why such a strategy was fruitful against the batsman from Delhi. “So basically for Sehwag, it was very simple, he hit people on good balls. So my simple strategy to Sehwag was to bowl rubbish balls. And it worked. Because when you start bowling rubbish balls, he starts dictating the pace to you with your rubbish balls or your so-called against him,” he said.
But what he went on to say could be a major setback for Sehwag, given that he is one of the favourites to replace Anil Kumble as the coach of the Indian team.
The off-spinner said that Sehwag wasn’t quite interested in discussing strategies during team meetings. “He (Sehwag) just wanted to see the ball and hit it. He used to be the least participative during team meetings,” said Ashwin.
He added, “There used to be team meetings or huddles, followed by a short speech addressed by Gary (Kirsten). MS (Dhoni) would then take over, would not utter a word and said everything is good. That was how team meetings would end.”
This interesting revelation coming from one of the main members of the Indian team is likely to cause obstacles in the way of Sehwag becoming the coach. The former cricketer in his two-line application for the coach’s job had said that he had ‘played with these boys.’
But these comments goes on to show a different side to the story as it is only on the future to say as to whether these comments would be taken into consideration by the Cricket Advisory Committee while examining Sehwag’s application for the post or not.
(With inputs from PTI)