Sehwag: It hurt being dropped

"I was thinking I would get a couple of more opportunities to perform"

“I was thinking I would get a couple of more opportunities to perform”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Former India batsman Virender Sehwag has admitted that the way in which he was dropped from the national team in 2013 made him feel “hurt”.

Sehwag, who announced his retirement from international cricket in October, also revealed that he found out he had been dropped via the newspapers as none of the selectors, team management of members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had told him anything.

“I hadn’t scored runs in two Tests against Australia,” Sehwag told ESPNcricnfo in an exclusive interview. “So, I was thinking I would get a couple of more opportunities to perform well in the last two Tests [of the series] and then get dropped if I didn’t perform. If the selectors would have given me that option to play two more Tests and then retire.”

Sehwag was axed from the Indian team after the second Test against Australia in Hyderabad in March 2013 as he was in the midst of a scoring drought, during which he hadn’t made a half-century in eight innings.

Sehwag began playing domestic cricket again as he was determined to regain his spot in the national team, but he failed to convince the selectors that he deserved another chance despite scoring 1269 runs, which included three centuries, in 20 Ranji Trophy matches at an average of just under 40.

The 37-year-old conceded that it took him time to get adjusted to domestic cricket life as he had been part of the national team for a long time before he was dropped.

“When I got dropped, I was thinking that I’m a good player and can get back into the Indian team but I was still living in the mindset that I am an aggressive opener and can score runs but I did not realise that domestic cricket is totally different to international cricket and I was still playing in the same way,” he said. “I did not score runs that [2013-14] season and my highest was 50-odd [56] and I was struggling to cope up with [conditions in] Delhi.

“I then changed my thinking next year and batting style by giving myself a little more time and I scored 500 plus runs, but I needed to score that in the previous season and maybe I would have gotten back into the team. It was too late but I was playing because I wanted to play the game.”

Sehwag is widely considered as one of the best and most entertaining openers to ever play the sport, but after years of wooing fans all over the world with his aggressive batting approach at the top of the order, Sehwag admitted that he was open to the idea of dropping down and batting in the middle order towards to the closing stages of his career.

“I told the management [about wanting to bat lower down] but they felt that I was still good enough to play as an opener and they didn’t want to take chances with the opening pair. I tried my best but could not get an opportunity in the middle order,” he said. “When I played my last series, Tendulkar was still there, Kohli and Dhoni were there. Pujara was playing as the No. 3 batsman. Tendulkar was playing at 4, Kohli at 5 and it meant that I had to bat at No. 6 after Tendulkar as you could not ask him to bat at No. 3 or 5. So, there was no chance for me to bat in the middle order.”

Sehwag also conceded that one of his biggest disappointments was the fact that he couldn’t match up to his team-mates when it came to scoring runs outside Asia. During his illustrious Test career, Sehwag averaged 35.84 in 36 Tests and made only five of his 23 centuries abroad.

“You don’t think of these things when you play,” he said. “When you retire, you look back and see that my Test average outside Asia is 40 and it is 49 overall. If I can change something, I’d like to change that average outside Asia. I tried as hard as I could outside Asia but I couldn’t do that. I gave my best but didn’t score as much as I can. [Rahul] Dravid, [Sachin] Tendulkar, Sourav [Ganguly] and [VVS] Laxman did it and scored hundreds as well.”

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