India batsman Virender Sehwag, who announced his retirement from international cricket and the IPL on Tuesday, said Sourav Ganguly sacrificed his opening spot for the swashbuckling cricketer.
“Ganguly sacrificed his opening spot for me. He loved me and had confidence in me. So, thank you, Sourav,” Sehwag said. “An opener’s job is to score and I was fearless because I had Dravid, Ganguly, Sachin and VVS behind me in case I failed,” he added.
Sehwag, one of only four players to score two triple-centuries in Tests, retired from international cricket on his 37th birthday, more than two years after he last played for India.
He said without Ganguly, he wouldn’t have become a Test cricketer. “Credit to Ganguly to pick and back his players and give them time,” Sehwag said.
A batsman whose strike-rate was more than 82 in tests, Sehwag started as a middle-order batsman playing for Delhi in domestic competitions but became famous for his flamboyance at the top.
His superb hand-eye coordination enabled him to dominate both pace and spin with ease despite minimum footwork.
“Sehwag leaves his signature on the game with his tremendous achievements. Loved his instinctive approach to batting and life,” Sachin Tendulkar said after Sehwag’s retirement.
Sehwag scored 309 against Pakistan in Multan in 2004 and 319 against South Africa in Chennai in 2008 to join Donald Bradman, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle in scoring two triple-centuries in tests.
Not afraid to clobber the first ball he faced in an innings, Sehwag often got to a half-century or century with a boundary hit. He even reached his Multan triple-century with a six.
A handy off-spinner and a good slip fielder, Sehwag brought belief to the side and formed a famous batting lineup along with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.
Sehwag was part of the teams that won the World Cup in 2011 and the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007, both under Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He was also in the Ganguly-led side that made the final of the 2003 World Cup.
Sehwag, who moved to Haryana from Delhi this season, is expected to play domestic games for the state side this season.
With inputs from AP