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HomeSPORTSVirender Sehwag talks about how Kumble saved his career and Harbhajan's career

Virender Sehwag talks about how Kumble saved his career and Harbhajan’s career

One of the country’s greatest Test openers ever, Virender Sehwag revealed the role of former Indian captain Anil Kumble in the Indian Test team ahead of the 2008 tour of Australia and credited him for putting his career on track. Sehwag was in poor form and the former Delhi batsman was dropped from the Indian Test squad despite averaging around 50. After playing his 52nd Test in January 2007, Sehwag played his 53rd Test in Australia in 2008.

Sehwag admitted in an interview, “Suddenly, I realized I was being dropped from the Test team, it hurt me.” “I would have scored more than 10,000 Test runs if I had not been knocked out at that time,” he added. Sehwag’s inclusion in the Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the 2007-08 tour of Australia came as a surprise to many. However, Sehwag, encouraged by skipper Anil Kumble, did not play the first two Tests. The team went to Canberra for a practice match before the third Test in Perth.

Recalling his captain, Sehwag said, “Kumble said he scored 50 runs in this match and you will be selected for the match in Perth. Sehwag scored a century before lunch in the match against ACT Invitation XI. As promised, Sehwag got off to a good start at the top in both innings playing in Perth and took two wickets. But it was Adelaide when he announced his arrival. After scoring 63 in the first innings, Adelaide scored an unusual but match-saving 151 in the second innings.

Sehwag recalled, “Those 60 runs were the most difficult of my life. I wanted to stand on Anil Bhai’s faith. I did not want anyone to ask him to bring me to Australia. Sehwag showed a masterclass of batting in the fourth innings. Despite losing his teammate, Sehwag continued to bat in his own style. “I was on the striker’s end, on the other end I talked to the umpire while singing my favorite song, which relieved my pressure,” Sehwag said of the 151 runs.

After the tour, Kumble made a promise to Sehwag. Recalling Kumble’s statement, Sehwag said, “As long as I am the captain of the Test team, you will not be dropped.” He further said, “A player longs for the trust of his captain. I got it from Ganguly in my early years and later from Kumble. The Nawab of Najafgarh scored seven Test runs at an average of over 62 under Kumble after the tour of Australia.

The Karnataka leg-spinner led Sehwag’s best performance, including a career-best 319 against South Africa and an unbeaten 201 against Sri Lanka. Sehwag bowled his best in the 5/104 Test in Kumble’s last Test as captain and player. For Kumble, Sehwag’s honor is not only because he was selected for the tour, but also because of how he handled the controversy in the second Test in Sydney. Sehwag said, “Had Anil Bhai not been the captain, the tour would have stopped and perhaps Harbhajan Singh’s career would have ended.


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