India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore

Sehwag blasts fellow batsmen for Bangalore defeat

Cricinfo staff

March 31, 2005

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Virender Sehwag: lone wolf in a pack of sheep? © Getty Images
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Virender Sehwag has said that he was the only batsman capable of leading India to a win in the third Test against Pakistan at Bangalore. In his syndicated column, he has also criticised his fellow batsmen for playing for a draw, and has said that there are many lessons to be learned from it.

Speaking about his run-out, the only wicket of the morning session, he has written, "I was upset at that point because I knew that my dismissal meant that we would not win. I saw myself as the only batsman who could score at four-an-over since the rest of our batsmen are more correct and conventional Test cricketers. In my mind I felt that the rest would be able to draw the game but I was the only one capable of winning it."

The Indians abruptly went on the defensive after Sehwag was out, and this was a key factor in Pakistan's ascendence. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain, was later to say, "This [India's change in tactics] helped me to set attacking fields. I did not have to worry about giving away runs, and could concentrate on wickets."

Sehwag elaborated, "Perhaps playing for a draw was not such a good idea since most of our batsmen are cast in the strokeplaying mould. Even at tea, the general mood was that we would scratch out a draw. The possibility of defeat dawned on us when Sachin Tendulkar got out. There were still 20 overs left and we knew that the remaining batsmen would not be able to play out time with umbrella fields in operation."

Sourav Ganguly had come under a lot of criticism for both his captaincy and his batting. Sehwag, however, defended him. "I have always found Sourav to be a positive captain," he said. "Whatever his personal form, whatever the media writes about him, he has always been strong, focussed and aggressive at team meetings. Perhaps these are the qualities that make him India's most successful captain."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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