India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Ahmedabad, 5th day

'We're enjoying our cricket', says Sehwag

Dileep Premachandran at Ahmedabad

December 22, 2005

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'I'm feeling a little pressure': Virender Sehwag had a poor run with the bat this time © Getty Images
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Virender Sehwag spoke to the media after India won the series 2-0 against Sri Lanka.

On leading the side

It was a great honour. It was also tough because I was sick and didn't play the Delhi game. But it became easy because the senior players - all the players, in fact - supported me very well. I was relaxed after the first day's play.

On how performances have improved

We had a bad phase last year, but have recovered well. We're enjoying our cricket. There's no secret to the success. We're working very hard, and we know that the winning habit is important.

On the poor start to this game

The pitch was slow and damp, and they bowled very well. But by the end of the day, we realised that a score of 250 to 300 would be enough. We did well to fight back, with Laxman's hundred, Dhoni making 40 and then Irfan.

On the contributions from the lower order

They're working very hard on their batting. There's been a lot of practice on batting skills. And they have spent more time in the nets.

On whether he thought Yuvraj now merited a place in the starting XI

You saw his innings. He made a hundred against Pakistan last year when we were four down for very little. He's a very talented batsman who has been getting runs consistently. So he deserves a place.

On what areas needed work before Pakistan

The opening partnership. But we're very confident that we can handle them as easily as we did last time.

On his own form

I've been in good nick. I've been getting 20s and 30s, but people have come to expect big hundreds. I have done that in the past. But I don't worry about it. I'm not much of a thinker, I just go and play. My mindset is very different from that of Dravid or Tendulkar. I'm pretty cool about it, but I'm feeling a little pressure. It's important that I get runs.

On Inzamam's request for fast and bouncy tracks against India

Our bowling is also good. If they give us pitches with good bounce, they will also struggle. Their batsmen are technically not that good. If the pitch supports the fast bowlers, we may play three of them.

On what had gone wrong for Sri Lanka

You'd better ask them. I think our bowlers did a great job.

On whether the SG ball had played a part

It starts to reverse swing after about 10 overs. And Harbhajan and Kumble get more turn with it.

On whether using the Kookaburra ball in Pakistan would affect India's spinners

They have played enough cricket with the Kookaburra. They know how to handle it. Kumble picked up wickets in Pakistan last time with the Kookaburra, and also 24 in Australia.

On the strategy against Murali

Our plan was to play positively when he came on. That made him open up the field.

On moving to No.2 in the ICC Test table

We're not looking at ratings. We're looking to win every match and series that we play. We'll concentrate on the matches, and if we win, the rating will improve.

On whether Sri Lanka had missed Sanath Jayasuriya

He's a great batsman who has made runs, both in Tests and one-dayers, against India. It was good for us [that he was not there].

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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