India’s premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed in a interview that bowling at former Indian opener Virender Sehwag in the nets had a demoralizing effect on him.
When asked about his experience with Sehwag, the Indian off-spinner recalled an incident that took place in a net session a few years ago.
“Sehwag was never complicated. He had a demoralising effect on me actually,” Ashwin said.
“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, Sehwag stepped out and slugged me out for a six,” Ashwin said.
At that time Ashwin was still new in the Indian team and was trying to secure his place in the side. So, he was befuddled at this onslaught from Sehwag.
“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 with bowling so much in the nets too. I was very inquisitive. I observed this for a few days,” said Ashwin.
“But then I couldn’t hold myself back, I went to him (Sehwag) and asked, ‘so what should I do to improve’.
“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 said, ‘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,” he recalled.
After being thrashed in net sessions on multiple occasions Ashwin finally figured out a way to get the better of Sehwag.
“I realized one fine day that it was his ego that you needed to bowl against. 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,” said Ashwin.
Aswin further stated that Sehwag was the least active player in team meetings. He never had anything to add and neither was interested in team discussions.
“He (Sehwag) just wanted to see the ball and hit it. He used to be the least participating during team meetings,” said the Indian off-spinner.
“There used to be team meetings or huddles, followed by a short speech addressed by Gary (Gary Kirsten, former coach of the Indian side). MS (Dhoni) would then take over, would not utter a word and said everything is good. That was how team meetings would end,” revealed Ashwin.
Sehwag has thrown his name in the mix to become India’s next head coach. He made headlines by sending a 2 line C.V to the BCCI. He is known to be out spoken and has created quite a ruckus in the cricket world with his outrages and immature remarks. It will be interesting to hear Sehwag’s response on Ashwin’s comments.