Virender Sehwag's frist triple-hundred at Multan in 2004 saw him average 35.84 in 36 Tests © AFP
Virender Sehwag’s frist triple-hundred at Multan in 2004 saw him average 35.84 in 36 Tests © AFP

One of India‘s swashbuckling opener of all time, Virender Sehwag, who announced his retirement from international cricket, following his axe from the Indian squad in 2013, revealed that he was indeed disappointed by the manner in which he was axed from the Indian squad. In an interview with espncricinfo, he stated that it was only through the newspapers he came to know about the axe from the Indian squad, while the sleectors and team management had hardly bothered to communivate the message to him. “I hadn’t scored runs in two Tests against Australia. So, I was thinking I would get a couple of more opportunities to perform well in the last two Tests [of the series] and then get dropped if I didn’t perform. If the selectors would have given me that option to play two more Tests and then retire,” he said.

It was in 2013, when he was dropped from the Indian side, after he failed to score a half-century in eight innings. Although he returned to the domestic platform, he couldn’t perform well enough initially that was goosd enough to earn a national recall. However, he recover and in 20 matches in Ranji Trophy, for Delhi and Haryana, he has scored 1269 runs along with three centuries, at an average of around 40. He also admitted that it took him a while to adjust to the domestic structure following a long international career.

“When I got dropped, I was thinking that I’m a good player and can get back into the Indian team but I was still living in the mindset that I am an aggressive opener and can score runs but I did not realise that domestic cricket is totally different to international cricket and I was still playing in the same way,” he said.

“I did not score runs that [2013-14] season and my highest was 50-odd [56] and I was struggling to cope up with [conditions in] Delhi. I then changed my thinking next year and batting style by giving myself a little more time and I scored 500 plus runs, but I needed to score that in the previous season and maybe I would have gotten back into the team. It was too late but I was playing because I wanted to play the game,” he added.

Sehwag, who is deeply regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen in Indian cricket, had an urge to play down the middle-order during the career end. However, despite the retirement of OIndian greats such as Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, he was never offered a chance.

“I told the management [about wanting to bat lower down] but they felt that I was still good enough to play as an opener and they didn’t want to take chances with the opening pair. I tried my best but could not get an opportunity in the middle order,” he said. “When I played my last series, Tendulkar was still there, Kohli and Dhoni were there. Pujara was playing as the No. 3 batsman. Tendulkar was playing at 4, Kohli at 5 and it meant that I had to bat at No. 6 after Tendulkar as you could not ask him to bat at No. 3 or 5. So, there was no chance for me to bat in the middle order,” he said.

Although he retired following a good home record, he had a shaky record overseas and performance were inconsistent. Few notable knocks like 195 at MCG in 2003, and his frist triple-hundred at Multan in 2004 saw him average 35.84 in 36 Tests, while 5 out of his 23 Test centuries just came outside Asia.

“You don’t think of these things when you play,” he said. “When you retire, you look back and see that my Test average outside Asia is 40 and it is 49 overall. If I can change something, I’d like to change that average outside Asia. I tried as hard as I could outside Asia but I couldn’t do that. I gave my best but didn’t score as much as I can. Dravid, Tendulkar, Sourav and Laxman did it and scored hundreds as well,” he concluded.