Sehwag is taking steps to ensure that he does not get out cheaply any more
He is known to be one of the cleanest hitting batsmen in world cricket today, but India opening batsman Virender Sehwag has admitted that he still feels nervous and has butterflies in his stomach when facing the first delivery of a match.
Even though Sehwag has jitters before the first ball, he stated that he tries his best not to show it to the bowler since he believes it could be perceived as a sign of weakness.
“Every time when I go to the crease and prepare to face the first ball, I am nervous and there are butterflies in my tummy. I never show it because if the bowler senses it, hell come hard at me and try to put me under pressure, I have to send across a message to the bowler, I am here to face you with a lot of aggression and confidence, whether I play a defensive shot or an attacking one,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag noted that his mental strength and self-confidence have played a major role in allowing him to be one of the most dominant and must-see batsmen in international cricket.
“I think its the mental strength. I have the self confidence and the belief that I can play well against any team and score against any bowling attack, international cricket is all about mental toughness. If you’re strong in your mind and can control your mind, you can perform against anybody. That’s my biggest strength,” Sehwag added.
However, the flamboyant Indian batsman has revealed that he is starting to change his style of batting, whereby he will allow himself to get comfortable at the crease before playing any of his aggressive strokes.
“Now I am a little more careful about how the wicket is behaving, whether the ball is swinging or not and how the bowling attack is. I give a little more time to myself to understand the conditions and situation well and then plan my innings accordingly. Having said that, if somebody bowls a half-volley on a green top, I’ll still go after it and Ill still play my square cuts if the ball is pitched short outside the off-stump,” Sehwag said.
With international bowlers being quicker and much more accurate nowadays, Sehwag explains that he cannot just go after them from the first ball since it will result in him getting out more often.
“But if a bowler is bowling in good areas, I have to give respect to the new ball rather than the bowler. If I do that and play 10-12 overs with caution, the ball gets old by the time and the bowlers start to get a bit tired. Then, I can take them on,” Sehwag added.
When asked what the difference was opening with Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir, Sehwag stated that opening with someone of Tendulkar’s skill allowed him to relax more and be under less pressure.
“When Im batting with Tendulkar, there’s very less pressure on me because the opponents are all concentrating on getting him out. With Gautam, the bowlers are worried about getting me out rather than him. Hence I have to be careful. Also, Gautam and I are very good friends, and the communication between us is very good,” Sehwag said.
During every match, Sehwag mentioned that he always give it everything he has and the best thing is just to concentrate on what you do best and try not to worry too much about the result.
“The important thing is to be happy, whether you score a zero or a 300. You just go out there and give your best; sometimes you click, sometimes you don’t. One should always be happy, irrespective of what you achieve in a match or in life,” he said.
When asked if anyone hits the ball cleaner than him, Sehwag said: “There are a lot of players whore better (hitters) than me. In my team, there’s Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh they hit the ball harder than I do. In other teams, there’s David Warner, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen. In every team there are a couple of such batsmen who can hit long sixes.”
When Sehwag gets out to a rather rash shot, he will always go back and watch the replay, and think about what shot he should have played instead in order to ensure that he does not succumb to the same mistake again.
“Most of the times (when) I throw my wicket away, be it a limited-overs game or a Test match, I go over the top trying to hit a four or a six, mistime it and get out. That’s my game. As long as my team and the coach are happy with how I play, I don’t have any problems with getting out like that,” he said.
When asked what the one thing he wanted to take from Tendulkar’s game was, Sehwag said: “The straight drive. I don’t think anyone can play that shot better than he does”.