Virender Sehwag and Ravichandran Ashwin played 36 match together for team India across formats © Getty Images and AFP
Virender Sehwag and Ravichandran Ashwin played 36 match together for team India across formats © Getty Images and AFP

No story can be serious if Virender Sehwag‘s name comes into it. This time, India’s ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed an interesting anecdote involving him and Sehwag, terming the latter “had a very demoralising effect on him.” The story was revealed by him in the first episode of second season of famous comedian Vikram Sathaye’s show What the Duck 2. Ashwin spoke about the incident when he was on the sidelines of Indian team and trying to ensure his place in the XI.

Ashwin started the conversation by saying Sehwag was never complicated but had a demoralising effect on him and continued, “I had successful stints as a bowler in the IPL. I had won a couple of Man of the Series awards in T20 competitions. I had sat out of the Indian team for a good couple of years. Learning the trade. My only motive when I was sitting on the sidelines for the Indian team was to trouble every single batsman, I bowled in the nets to.”

Further, Ashwin opens up about the famous incident on him with Sehwag by saying, “There was an incident in Dambulla, where every ball that I bowled, first ball I bowled outside off stump, Sehwag cut me. Next ball I bowled on off stump, he cuts me. Next ball I bowled on middle stump, he cuts me. The next ball I bowl on leg stump, he again cuts me. So I said, ‘what the hell is happening?’ So I just bowled a ball fuller, he stepped out and slugged out me for a six.”

Then Ashwin started doubting his own abilities and questions himself. He added, “So I said to myself either I am just not good enough or this guy is just way too good which he was. But to the greater Sachin Tendulkar also, I didn’t struggle bowling so much in the nets too. I was very inquisitive. I observed this for a few days. But then I couldn’t hold myself back, I went to him [Sehwag] and asked, ‘so what should I do to improve?’ If I had ask to Sachin, he would have give me some tips. If it were MS, he would have given me a perspective.”

Continuing to what Sehwag answered to him, Ashwin expressed, “Viru said, ‘You know what, I don’t think off spinners are bowlers. They do not trouble me at all. I just find it easy smashing them.’ I said, ‘Sir you are cutting me.’ He sad, ‘Yeah, I hit off spinners against the spin on the off side and for left arm spinners, I will hit against the spin on the leg side. I said, ‘okay, fine!’ The next day I tried something in the nets he again started hitting me in different zones. He was actually treating me like a road-rag. Like how I would treat a 10 year-old kid, if I was batting against him.”

After being on the wrong end in the nets several times, Ashwin finally got to know how to exactly trouble Sehwag with his bowling and revealed, “I realised one fine day that it was his ego that you needed to bowl against. Because he gave me a very interesting story. He said he had fever in a game at Rohtak. And smashed Harbhajan for 12 sixes. ‘You know Harbhajan is a good off spinner.’ I said, ‘Yeah Harbhajan is a good off spinner.’ But that doesn’t mean you smoke him for 12 sixes with fever. I even asked him for the story behind it. He said he opened the innings and hit him for 2 sixes and came back due to fever. He went in at number 10 and smashed for another 10 sixes. The wicket was spinning square, you know. I asked, ‘Sir, what did you do?’ He said, ‘Every ball because it was spinning, I decided to smack him over the leg side. He said that he hit even him from outside the pitch. Outside off stump and hit him for a six on the leg side.”

Ashwin then revealed the master plan to dismiss Sehwag by saying, “So basically for Sehwag, It was very simple, he hit people on good balls. So my simple strategy to Sehwag was to bowl rubbish balls. And it worked. Because when you start bowling rubbish balls, he starts dictating the pace to you with your rubbish balls or your so-called against him. So the best possible plan against Sehwag was to bowl every single single ball as best rubbish ball that you can give. And I got him out a few times in the IPL that way. Because what he expects is not what you dish out. Because he expects you to bowl good balls on our part.”