Given the small size of the grounds in New Zealand,an individual double century in an ODI is quite a possibility,reckons India’s swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag,who hammered the fastest ODI century by an Indian in the fourth match against New Zealand on Wednesday,was of the view that the milestone is well within reach of the batsmen provided the match was played in the smaller grounds of New Zealand.
“It is achievable in New Zealand because of the small grounds. Sachin (Tendulkar) was very close to achieving it (in the third ODI in Christchurch),as he still had five overs left in the innings before he retired hurt. If someone bats 50 overs on small grounds,he could possibly score a double. Matthew Hayden batted 50 overs and made 180 plus. So he was very close to it,” said Sehwag,who blasted a 60-ball ton today to eclipse Mohammad Azharuddin’s 62-ball century against the Kiwis in 1988.
Sehwag,however,refused to call himself the most destructive batsman in contemporary cricket and said,”I don’t think so. You have Brendon McCullum and (David) Warner. There are a couple of other batsmen as well.”
Asked about Wednesday’s blistering knock,Sehwag said he went after the Kiwi bowlers after getting a go-ahead from the team management.
“My coach and captain gave me full freedom to go and play my natural game. They asked me to go and hit the ball. So I was not worried about getting out. I knew if I could provide a quick start,then the middle order can finish the game,” said Sehwag.
Describing it as one of his best ODI innings,Sehwag said,”This is one of my best innings as I remained not out. I played some good shots. I never thought I could play the hook and pull shots on this track. I don’t how it comes or where it comes from,but I managed to hit the ball well.”
Asked if he was aware of Azaharuddin’s record,Sehwag said,”I knew Azharuddin had scored a century off 62 or 63 balls. But I think I mistimed the ball when I completed my 100 with a six.”
Elated after playing a crucial role in securing India’s first ODI series win in New Zealand,the Delhi batsman said,”We couldn’t do any better than this. We also celebrated Holi on the ground and off it. We’re happy we won on Holi and made history winning a series for the first time here.”
The right-hander also echoed the view of Sachin Tendulkar and reckoned the present batting unit was best India ever had.
“We are a very young and talented side. We can chase anything because we believe in ourselves. Even if we chase targets of 330 or 340 or 350,we have batsmen who can hit the ball hard and score 50 in 30 balls or 100 in 60 balls.
“We are not worried about getting out. If you worry about getting out,then you will not make runs. We know our strengths and weaknesses and we back ourselves to play our shots,” he said.
Looking ahead,Sehwag felt India would have edge over the Kiwis for the rest of tour.
“They will carry a psychological scar as they are now worried about our opening partnership. Gautam (Gambhir) and me will be opening the innings in the Test matches. So they have to think twice or thrice about where to bowl to us.”