'This opportunity will come only once in a lifetime' - Sehwag
Virender Sehwag has said that he was happy he took advantage of an 'opportunity of a lifetime' by scoring a double-century against West Indies in Indore. Sehwag had slammed 219 off 149 balls, a new record in one-day cricket, which set up India's win by 153 runs.
"I am happy to have broken my role model Sachin Tendulkar's record," Sehwag said. "It won't be easy for people to score double hundreds. Over the last so many years only two have done it. This opportunity will come only once in a lifetime and I am happy I have taken it. I dedicate this knock to my father who is no longer with us.
"It is one of my very best innings. Unlike in Test cricket when one can bat longer, in one-dayers you have to keep an eye on the run-rate. The wicket was very good for batting but the bowlers are also trying to get you out."
Sehwag said that he thought a big score was there for the taking at the Holkar Stadium. "While opening the innings, I told Gautam Gambhir that if we can show some patience on this track, we will be in for a big one. The outfield is fantastic and the distance of the boundary is only 50 yards."
He needed just 140 balls to get his double-century and his 219 broke Sachin Tendulkar's record for the highest individual score in an ODI. It included 142 runs in boundaries - Sehwag smashed seven sixes and 25 fours. "It was a true batting wicket. Whenever I hit the ball into the gaps, it would go for four. Whenever I decided to hit a six, I would hit with a straight bat and it would go for six."
The first time the double-century crossed his mind, he said, was during the batting Powerplay between the 35th and 40th overs. "I never expected to score a double hundred. It was only after the batting Powerplay started, I felt that I could reach double hundred. Also when Sammy dropped me [on 170], I knew that God was with me."
The record-breaking innings ended a string of underwhelming performances in spectacular fashion, as Sehwag and Gambhir - who returned to the opening slot with Parthiv Patel dropping down the order - gave India the fine start they had been looking for in the series. "In the last match I said our top order was not contributing and it was my job and the other guys' [in the top order] job to give a good start to the team," Sehwag said. "The moment you give this kind of start, you end up with 400.
"We [the openers] said to one another that if we can play together for 15 to 20 overs we could put up a good stand and give the middle-order the chance to build on it. But the wicket was so good, we decided we can bat till the 30-35 overs. I am sorry Gautam was run out [for 67]. I was very upset."
Sehwag did not take the field during the chase. Having batted for 46.3 overs, Sehwag said the innings had taken a toll on his body. "I'm very tired because I'm 33-years-old. I'm an old man and my back and glutes are tight."
Previously in the series, India had bowled first on all three occasions after winning the toss, with mixed results. India had initially planned on bowling in Indore as well, Sehwag said, but changed their plan at the last minute. "We had decided to field first but we were told by players who had played in the Challenger Trophy [a domestic one-day tournament] on this ground that the wicket had deteriorated in the second innings. That's why, I changed my mind."
Legspinner Rahul Sharma was very effective on debut, claiming three wickets off the last ball of each of his first three overs, to derail the chase. India went on to complete a comfortable victory to seal the series 3-1. Rahul's performance was very satisfactory, Sehwag said. "I was very impressed with his bowling. It was his debut. He has a very good future."