Virender Sehwag: 11 stunningly shocking statements made by the Delhi maverick

Diplomacy is not Virender Sehwag’s forte. His approach to life is as simple as his batting — uncomplicated and shocking. He is jaw-droopingly straightforward. Sehwag has consistently made outrageous statements, which other cricketers wouldn’t dare.

Nishad Pai Vaidya lists 11 such instances:

1. “Beta beta hota hai aur baap baap.”

Virender Sehwag was at his candid best while sharing the stage with Shahrukh Khan at a mega function. He narrated an incident that supposedly took place during an India-Pakistan game. Sehwag said that Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistan speedster, kept banging it short and provoking him to play the hook shot. In reply, Sehwag said, “Joh non-striker end pe khada hai, woh tera baap hai. Usko bol, woh maarke dikhayega.” (The guy at the non-striking end is your father. Tell him, he will hit). Sehwag said a while later Tendulkar hooked Shoaib for six. As Shoaib walked back, Sehwag taunted him, “Beta beta hota ha, aur baap baap.” (Son is a son and father is a father). While records do not support Sehwag’s version, nevertheless, it makes a good story.

2. “Bangladesh can’t [beat India in Tests]. They are an ordinary side.”

On the eve of the first Test between India and Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2010, Sehwag addressed a press conference that left the world stunned. When asked the predictable question about Bangladesh’s ability to surprise India, Sehwag’s answer was terse: “No. They can’t beat us in Test matches. They can surprise you in ODIs, but not in Tests because they can’t take 20 Indian wickets… Bangladesh can’t. They are an ordinary side.”  Sehwag had almost put his foot in the mouth as India were reduced to 213 for eight the next day and were ultimately bowled out for 243. However, they recovered to win the game by 113 runs.

3. “Everyone had a good match except Sreesanth.”

On winning the Man of the Match award, you would generally expect players to heap praises on their teammates, ignoring the odd man having the bad game. Not Sehwag! When India opened their ICC World Cup 2011 campaign with a big victory against Bangladesh, Sehwag praised the efforts of his teammates, but did not mask his opinion about Sreesanth, who conceded 53 runs in his five overs in India’s 87-run victory.

4. “Have you seen my catch?”

During the tour to Australia in 2012, skipper MS Dhoni and the team management had controversially instituted the rotation policy, whereby only two out of the three seniors — Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir — would play a match, with change of combinations throughout the series. Dhoni’s reasoning was to give the youngsters a chance. Dhoni also added that the three seniors are slow on the field. When Dhoni was banned for one game, Sehwag led the side and took a magnificent catch at mid-wicket. When asked about Dhoni’s opinion about the slowness of the seniors, Sehwag asked the person asking the question: “Have you seen my catch? MS [Dhoni] will come for the next match; you can ask him the question.”

5. “Kya farak padta hai?”

An itinerant Indian cricket writer asked Sehwag’s opinion about the wicket during India’s tour to England.

Sehwag replied, “No”.

The journalist asked him, “Why?”

Sehwag replied, “Kya farak padta hai?”

6. “I don’t consider a spinner as a bowler. I never did.”

This was Sehwag’s stunning response to a question author Vikram Sathaye how he was the only Indian batsman who dominated Sri Lanka’s wily spinner Ajantha Mendis during the tour of Sri Lankan. Sehwag said, “Bhaisaab, spinner ko spinner batsmen banata hein! Agar use aap ball spin hi naa karne do, aur pehli hi over me use bahar pheink do, who zindagi bhar spin nahi karenga!” [A spinner is made by batsmen. If the batsman does not allow the ball to spin and throw him out of the ground, he will not spin the ball all his life!] Sehwag then added that he never considered spinner a bowler!

 7. “I found no one difficult today.”

On his day, Sehwag is unstoppable. Think about the poor bowlers? The least Sehwag could do is perhaps appreciate a small challenge posed by them. However, when he worked his way to a double hundred during the Bangalore Test against Pakistan in 2005, he beamed with confidence that none of the bowlers posed a challenge to him that day.

8. “I would smash him [Sunil Narine].”

There was a huge difference in class between Sehwag and some of his other Delhi Daredevils teammates. When they faced Kolkata Knight Riders during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2012, he said that new spin bowling sensation Sunil Narine won’t work against him, though he may pose a challenge to others. Sehwag was perhaps referring to his 219 against West Indies in December 2011, where Narine was one of the victims of his assault.

9. “Cricket is not like a government job where retirement age is fixed at 60. A cricketer can retire at 30 or 60; it’s up to the player. Jayasuriya played till 42″

In 2012, Sehwag was dropped from the Indian team for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. There was a lot of talk about some of their senior players and their possible retirements. While others normally use the cliché, “Age is only a number,” Sehwag went on to tell MiD-DAY that cricket is not a government job and there is no set age to call it a day.

10. “I don’t believe in technique; I believe in performance. If you are tough, whether you have technique or not, you’ll survive.”

Yes, he doesn’t move his feet! But, those 8,000-plus runs in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs) bear testimony to his belief that runs can be plundered with minimal or nil footwork. Having said that, Sehwag maintained that he never believed in technique, but only on performance.

11. “Dhoni’s captaincy alone didn’t win World Cup for India.”

Even if it’s the obvious answer, players prudently avoid saying to prevent controversy or differences about the team-mate. Sehwag does not hesitate to say what he feels, even if the comment is about his captain. When asked his opinion on MS Dhoni’s captaincy, Sehwag said bluntly: “I don’t know what others feel. But by the time Dhoni took over, India already had a very strong team. So his captaincy alone didn’t win World Cup for India. We had a very strong team already so we won the World Cups — T20 and World Cup. If you have a good team, you win. It’s simple.”

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)