Ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that former India opener Virender Sehwag had a ‘demoralising’ effect on him. Ashwin, in a chat show, recalled an incident when he was bowling to Sehwag and the latter was smashing him all over the place.
“There was an incident in Dambulla, where every ball that I bowled, first ball I bowled outside off stump, Sehwag cut me,” he said, “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,” Ashwin said.
It was the time Ashwin struggled to cement his place in the Indian team. “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.”
Ashwin then said that he asked the former Indian batting great how it is that he can improve himself to which he got a very typical Virender Sehwag answer. “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,” he said, “Viru 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 eventually found out a way to dismiss Sehwag and in the most unconventional manner possible. “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.”
Ashwin is currently in England with the rest of the Indian team playing the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. He was rested for India’s opener against Pakistan.