On a remarkably slow news day, thank god for Virender Sehwag.
Harsha, while talking to me recently of the phenomenon of Indian players hitting the big time, tasting success, and then going off the boil to the point where they get dropped, mentioned Sehwag in that context, and then added “In my opinion, Viru is the most balanced of the lot — in fact among the most balanced in the team.”
Here’s an interesting interview with the man. In an interaction replete with interesting bits, this q & a is to my mind the most typical of his brand of thinking:
There is this story about you declining a nightwatchman, where you said you were not an able batsman if you couldn’t last 25 balls at the end of the day. Is that true?
It is true. What is the difference between batting at the end of the day or at the start? If you make a mistake you’ll get out. So I don’t think a batsman really needs a nightwatchman, but it is totally an individual decision. Whenever a captain or coach asked me for a nightwatchman I would say, “No, why? If I can’t survive 10 or 20 balls now, then I don’t think I’ll survive tomorrow morning.” I believe that’s the best time when you have the opportunity to score runs, when everybody on the field is tired and you can score 20 runs off those 20 balls.
Also check out the bit relating to Sourav Ganguly’s take on Viru. While on that, this is my favorite Sehwag story.
Incidentally, in case you missed it, here’s Sachin Tendulkar on a related theme:
“The toughest thing is to clear your mind. The mind always wants to be in the past or the future, it rarely wants to be in the present. My best batting comes when my mind is in the present but it doesn’t happen naturally, you have to take yourself there.
“I am not able to get in that zone as often as I would like but, when you are there, you don’t see anything except the bowler and the ball.”
As he grows older, Tendulkar feels, he has realised the importance of good breathing and relaxing while batting.
“You have to allow your instincts to take over, trust me, your instincts are 99 per cent right but, you know, the older I get the more I realise how important your breathing is to good batting. By that I mean, if you focus on breathing and relaxing, you can force yourself into a comfortable place to bat,” he declared.