Viru preaches patience

Statistics make an easy understanding of India’s last tour to New Zealand.

Written by G.S. Vivek | New Delhi | Published: February 18, 2009 2:11:43 am

Statistics make an easy understanding of India’s last tour to New Zealand. Virender Sehwag was the only man amongst runs,scoring two centuries while the others struggled to reach double figures. As Team India are set to return to the country after a gap of five years,Sehwag’s form makes him one of the most dependable batsmen yet again. But surprisingly,the opener tells The Indian Express that his slam-bang style is not suited to those conditions,and that he wants to be more watchful at the crease this time around.

The last tour to New Zealand was almost five years ago but the memories are still fresh. What can you recall from that series?

The first thing I remember is that I scored two centuries. And,that apart,there was green grass all around. The Test matches were getting over in two to three days,and the fast bowlers were dictating terms. Hopefully,this time the games will be longer and wickets will be better for batsmen. We are a better bowling side now,and New Zealand will have to think twice before giving us the kind of wickets they dished out last time.

Is your brand of aggressive batting is the perfect antidote for the conditions?

On the contrary,my brand of batting is just not the way to bat in New Zealand (laughs). Honestly,it’s not suited for conditions in which the ball is seaming all over. In New Zealand,one has to hang around at the crease,understand the conditions,bounce and the bowlers before deciding to play the shots.

You are not known to hang around and play a quiet innings.

I’m learning it,and of late I’ve tried to bat according to the situation. I did that in the recent series against Sri Lanka — if you remember,we had lost two quick wickets before Yuvraj and I got together. Even in the England series before that,I was trying to last as many overs as possible and build my innings.

I’ve learnt to be more responsible now and I’m looking forward to give more examples of that on the New Zealand tour.

But your slam-bang style made you India’s only batting success on the 2003 tour.

I don’t think I was successful. I didn’t score much in the Test matches — Dravid was the one who played well on that trip,unfortunately Sachin Tendulkar was injured and couldn’t play four of the seven one-dayers. Luckily,I got runs in three of the seven ODIs and was able to gain some experience in those conditions. I just decided to play my shots and put some pressure on the bowlers. It just worked for me.

There was a short break between the Sri Lanka series and the New Zealand tour. Did you spend your time preparing or opted for a break?

I decided to take a break and get refreshed. I was following a strict fitness regime but will start my skill preparation — batting and bowling practice — once I reach there.

How much do you know about the current players in the New Zealand team?

I can name them if you want — there’s (Martin) Guptill,(Peter) Fulton,(Neil) Broom,(Grant) Elliot,(Ross) Taylor,(Brendon) McCullum — they all are good batsmen.

Their bowling attack is also very good — (Iain) O ‘Brien ,(Ian) Butler,(Daniel) Vettori of course,and then there’s Kyle Mills. I was watching the Australia-New Zealand ODI series on television and I can easily identify their first XI. That’s a good place to start from.

If we play to our potential,we’ll definitely win this time. We have a good streak in recent times and hopefully we can create a bit of history.

You and Harbhajan were fined by on your arrival at the airport last time because of dirty shoes.

(Laughs) I’m carrying everything brand new this time — from shoes to helmets.

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