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Friends, on and off the field

"Our friendship is very strong. We back each other. It’s a relation which comes dil se," says Virender Sehwag on his bond with Gautam Gambhir as both players have a candid chat with Gaurav Kalra.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2009 00:00 IST

As openers, what is your mindset together?

Sehwag: I hardly knew Gautam before he made his debut in international cricket because we had hardly played together in the domestic circuit.

I backed him a lot, but he took a little time to perform in international cricket. Once he performed, he told everyone that I am here and I can rule.

How is it that you have succeeded in all forms of the game?

Gambhir: We look to score runs. We have heard stories that openers should give the new ball time and later capitalise. But I believe whenever you go in to bat, you should look to score runs.

Sehwag: When I was growing up, I was playing a lot of 10-over, 15-over, 20-over games in Najafgarh. I didn't want to waste a single ball because there are only 90 or 120 balls.

Do opening batsmen necessarily need to be good friends?

Gambhir: It makes a lot of difference to me, both on the field and off the field. I can just walk up to him and tell him what I am feeling. I can share things with him and that's one big difference that has made me score a lot of runs in the year.

You come from different parts of Delhi. Gambhir is a Modern school boy and you are from the outskirts of Delhi. Was that ever a hindrance in your friendship?

Sehwag: I don't think so. Our friendship is very strong. We believe in each other, back each other and can do anything for each other. That's the most important thing. It's a relation, which comes dil se.

What difference do you see in Gautam's batting since he made a comeback?

Sehwag: When he first came into the team nobody was backing him. I was convinced because I got to know about him from Aakash Chopra and Mithun Manhas that he is very talented. I backed him a lot but I was not the captain or the coach. I told them to stay with him but they refused and after he flopped in three-four innings, they dropped him. Then he scored six consecutive first class centuries and got back into the side. In my opinion, after Sourav Ganguly he is the best left-hander India have.

One shot of Gambhir that you would like to play.

Sehwag: I am very scared to step out to fast bowlers and he does that against people who bowl at 150 kmph. He just steps out against them and hits boundaries at mid wicket and mid on.

Viru, your favourite Gautam Gambhir knock in 2008?

Sehwag: The 200 against Australia in Delhi.

Gautam, your favourite Sehwag's knock in 2008?

Gambhir: I will have to mention two of them. His double hundred at Galle against Sri Lanka and the second one is Chennai; no one could have played that kind of an innings, not just in the Indian team but in the whole world.

Gaurav Kalra is Sports Editor, CNN-IBN

First Published: Jan 23, 2009 23:53 IST