On the eve of the Indian cricket team’s departure for Sri Lanka for a one-day series,dashing opener Virender Sehwag has sought to put the rivals on the backfoot,saying he had done his homework against mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis and would not hesitate to attack him.
Sehwag said his knowledge of the nuances of the game made it easy for him to deal with mystery bowlers like Mendis.
“I am exceptionally aware of the nuances of the game. I know what’s happening,who is where and how to take advantage of him in the field. I studied him (Mendis) during the Asia Cup in Pakistan. Even at non-striker’s end,I kept following his methods. His style when he is bowling off-spin,googly,or pushing it through middle finger.
“So I have no problem in attacking him. A bowler is demoralised if he knows that a batsman has read him completely”,Sehwag said in an interview.
He said a bowler like Mendis preferred to keep three or four fielders close to bat. “It means there are open spaces in the field. Even a mis-hit can give you boundaries,” he explained.
“Unlike the accepted norm,I find hitting against the spin more profitable. It allows one to free one’s arms,” he said.
The explosive right-hander,who claimed that he never looks back in regret,said his big knocks won’t count anything for him if the team had not won ultimately.
“I never look back. I have never looked back on those innings. What is gone is gone,it’s over,” he asserted.
Asked whether his two triple centuries in Tests mean anything special to him,Sehwag replied,”They don’t. Surely not as much as winning a match for your team. All of us play to win. Nothing is more thrilling than winning a match for your team.”
Sehwag also recalled how an advice from former India captain Sunil Gavaskar helped him correct his stance.
“Once Sunil Gavaskar asked me look to take middle or off-stump guard. And I think it has suited me. With a leg-stump guard,you could be chasing a wide delivery. Or leaving a gap. With a middle-and-off stump guard,the bowler doesn’t know where to pitch his stuff.
“If it is in stumps,you could whip it to onside. If it is outside the off-stump,he is allowing you to play your favourite shots. I always take middle stump guard,” he said.
Sehwag also had a unique way of keeping focussed at the crease.
“I want my mind to be absolutely free while facing up to a bowler. I try to hum songs,bhajans,Sai Baba bhajans,Kishore Kumar songs,especially those pictured on Amitabh Bachchan,till the bowler is about to deliver,” he said.
“I then tell myself: Watch It. I try to sing songs as perfectly as possible in order to keep my mind completely uncluttered,” the 30-year-old batsman said.
On whether it would be tough to find a replacement for Anil Kumble,Sehwag said,”Kumble was in a league of his own. It’s impossible to get a bowler like him.”
“In his absence,Harbhajan Singh is our frontline spinner. On foreign pitches,it would be three pacers and Harbhajan. So there would be added responsibility on him. He is now sufficiently experienced and one hopes he would rise to the occasion.