Describing Virender Sehwag, who on Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket and IPL, as one of the finest timers of the cricket ball, former India skipper and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar said the Delhi stalwart changed the way the game was viewed.
“Sehwag was one of the finest timers of the cricket ball that I have seen. He completely changed the concept of cricket (with his swashbuckling batting) and what was said before him. He was a real match-winner in every sense,” said Vengsarkar whose selection panel picked him out of the blue for the Australia tour in 2008.
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“He could play on any wicket and was very strong square of the wicket on the off side. That’s the reason he could do well on the bouncy Australian pitches. His two triple hundreds were fantastic efforts. I was a big fan of his,” said the 116-Test veteran.
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“When we selected him for Australia he was not getting runs even in domestic cricket, but we were confident he would do well in Australia and will score runs at a fast pace and put Australia on the back foot. And that’s exactly what happened. Our stand got vindicated,” said Vengsarkar.
Sehwag was not picked for the first two Tests of the series, in which Anil Kumble led India, and then was introduced in the third Test at Perth, after the unsavoury incidents of “Monkeygate” at Sydney in the second Test.
He gave the team good starts by making 29 and 43 and India went on to score a historic first-ever Test win at the WACA.
Later, Sehwag really came into his own and slammed 63 and a totally out of character 151 – in 354 minutes and off 256 balls – in the fourth and final Test at Adelaide that ended in a draw and helped Australia clinch the rubber 2-1.