Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi were one of the fiercest and most aggressive openers the game has ever seen. And in tons of India-Pakistan encounters, the duo has competed at the highest level. On the sidelines of the second T10 League in Dubai both Sehwag and Afridi talked about everything starting from the dressing room secrets to what India Pakistan rivalry is all about for them.
When I saw Viru for the first time Irealised that this guy has changed the Indian batting line-up completely withhis game. Before him, I had never seen such an attacking and aggressive Indianopener. I had said that time that if Sehwag clicked at the top, India was nolonger going to lose a Test.Shahid Afridi on Virender Sehwag
Both Sehwag and Afridi gave a sneak peek into the Indian and Pakistani dressing room.
I believe all Pakistani cricketers were fun-loving and jovial. This helped you to deal with pressure. There were also a few cricketers who used to joke a lot but never liked it when they were at the receiving end.Virender Sehwag
Talking about the India Pakistan rivalry, Sehwag shed some light on what India vs Pakistan was all about.
“If we say there is zero pressure involved in an India-Pakistan fixture. Tension and pressure might be involved in these matches, but it is interesting and fun to play these matches. You as an Indian cricketer always want to score runs against Pakistan or take wickets in case of bowlers,” said Sehwag.
My first series against Pakistan was very good. We had gone to Pakistan after 16 years in 2003-04. We won the Test series and the ODI series. On the field, we used to fight and sledge a lot but off-field we used to eat together a lot.Virender Sehwag
Afridi recollected an interesting story when he had invited the entire Indian team for dinner at his place.
“When India were touring Pakistan in 2003-04 I had invited the Indian team to my place. The entire team had come to my place along with Sangeeta Bijlani and Azhar Bhai. I had prepared Pathani non-vegetarian fare for the evening,” said Afridi
When we sat down to eat we realised that most of them were vegetarian. So, immediately I started preparing vegetarian dishes.Shahid Afridi
After Afridi’s story, Sehwag also mentioned about Shoaib Akhtar’s hospitality and why he believed Misbah ul Haq was better than the entire Indian team.
“Shoaib Akhtar had once brought mutton for the entire Indian team in Pakistan. During our time we had many non-vegetarians in the side. VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble were the only vegetarians,” said Sehwag
We could only finish a fraction of the mutton. When Shoaib found out we couldn’t finishthe mutton he was very disappointed. He said Misbah ul Haq alone would have finished it and wondered how the entire Indian team couldn’t.Virender Sehwag
Sehwag continued to spill beans and this time he revealed the secret behind his modus operandi of reaching milestones and centuries with sixes.
When you have reached 94 it means you had already handled pressure well. The pressure is there when you start batting at 0. So, at 94 you instead release pressure on the opposition.Virender Sehwag
According to Sehwag all formats have their own charm, and for him it never mattered which format he was playing since he was only interested in playing cricket. But, if he was asked to choose his favourite format, he said he was clear about it.
My favourite format was Test cricket.Virender Sehwag
I don’t think Test or ODI cricket will stop existing despite the surge o T20 and T10 leagues. So, the charm of Test or ODI cricket won’t fade away. We will continue to have batsmen, bowlers and cricketers who will uphold the charm of Tests and ODIs,” Sehwag signed off.
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