‘Drop ho jaoge team se’: When Sehwag advised opening partner Aakash Chopra to get a big score
In a recent chat with Gaurav Kapur on his ‘22 Yarns’ Podcast uploaded on Spotify, Chopra talked about how self-aware and honest Sehwag was about his game, and knew exactly where his strengths and weaknesses were.Updated: Aug 14, 2020 07:44 IST
Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra played a total of 10 Test matches for India and opened the batting alongside fellow Delhi cricketer Virender Sehwag. Chopra, with his solid defensive technique, was a perfect foil to Sehwag’s devil may care kind of batting style. While Sehwag went on to become one of he finest Test openers for India, Chopra became a domestic giant and has created a niche for himself as a cricket commentator and pundit post retirement from the game.
In a recent chat with Gaurav Kapur on his ‘22 Yarns’ Podcast uploaded on Spotify, Chopra talked about how self-aware and honest Sehwag was about his game, and knew exactly where his strengths and weaknesses were.
“His (Sehwag) strength is that he is brutally honest about what he could and couldn’t do. Even with all the bravado and aggression and ‘Viru’ style of playing, you won’t remember him actually taking on a bouncer. Now that’s discipline,” Chopra said.
“That tells you loads about what’s behind that exterior, that facade that we see, which is carefree, happy-go-lucky, see the ball hit the ball. He’s seen a bouncer, and he hasn’t attempted it in 8,000 Test runs. So that kind of discipline, understanding, and conviction in his own game was unbelievable,” he added.
“He would tell you, ‘Yaar ball zyada swing ho raha hai, aaj mera nahi chalega, tu wahi reh (ball is swinging too much, my shots won’t work),’ knowing fully well ke ‘ye meri strength nai hai (today is not my day)’. See, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is very important. Knowing what you can, and more importantly, can’t do. He knew that ‘abhi ball swing ho raha hai, phas jaunga. Chod na, abhi 5-7 over nikal jayenge to achha hi hai (Ball is swinging now, I will get stuck. Let us stick out 5-7 overs in the middle)’. He knew that if he stays there then he can put them to the sword,” he further recalled.
Chopra went on to recall how Sehwag was honest to him about his performances and kept advising him to play a big innings for India. “He would come and tell me, ‘Chopraji ye 40-40 run maar rahe ho drop ho jaoge team se. Set hone ke baad out hone se koi khelta nahi hai aage (Chopra ji, you are scoring 40-40 scores, would be dropped from the team. No one stays in the team if he gets out after settling down).’ And he would also say the same thing about himself,” Chopra recalled.