Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq has lavished praise on Virender Sehwag and credited the former India batsman for changing the landscape of Indian batting with his style of play. Sehwag, India’s first triple-centurion in Tests, definitely changed the way opening the batting in Test cricket was looked at with his brash, arrogant and aggressive style of batting.
In fact, Sehwag had a strike rate of 82.2 in Tests, 104.3 in ODIs and 145.3 in T20Is, and Saqlain believes the heights at which Indian batsmen of today have reached has to do a lot with what Sehwag did for Indian cricket with his ‘style of play’.
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“Keep in mind that the impact Virender Sehwag had on the world, the style in which he played, the brand of cricket he played, a lot of players from India benefitted from it. The manner of batting he showed the world, changed Indian cricket’s mindset and that of its cricketers,” Saqlain said on his YouTube channel.
Saqlain, the inventor of the ‘Doosra’, weighed in on the comparison between Sehwag and star India batsman. Saqlain feels that even though Rohit may have a slightly better record that the former India opener, but it wouldn’t have been possible without following the template that Sehwag set. Saqlain added that the brand of cricket which Sehwag played was one that only a handful of cricketers displayed before him.
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“Sehwag lifted the bar and showed the way with his self-belief. Sehwag scored a double century in ODIs so players believed it could happen, like Rohit Sharma. In fact, Rohit must have learnt a lot watching Sehwag bat,” Saqlain added.
“Rohit’s stats may look prettier than Sehwag but Viru he had a role behind it. He played for himself, the country and changed the thinking of the players that came after him. Before Viru, only 1-2 players like Sir Viv or Zaheer Abbas who used to play that brand of cricket in ODIs and ruled over the world. They ruled the world and similarly, Sehwag also dominated world cricket.”