Virender Sehwag is known as someone who changed the concept of opening the batting in Test cricket. But former India opener says even he had to respect the new ball when playing in England and his hundred during the 2002 tour bears testimony as the batsman hit 106 off 183 balls in the second Test of the series in Nottingham.
Now as the Indian team gears up for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and the five-match Test series against England, Sehwag believes attacking opener Rohit Sharma too needs to be cautious to begin his innings. Speaking to ANI, Sehwag threw light on how Rohit Sharma should approach the upcoming contests in England, his advice for skipper Virat Kohli, and how he would tackle Bumrah if he was at the batting crease.
"I think when I opened in England for the first time, I was not that attacking. I scored the century off 150-160 balls because in swinging conditions you have to respect the new ball and conditions and I got success. The conditions remain the same so it also depends on the wicket. If you are playing on a flat track or a grassy wicket, there is a huge difference. If the weather stays good there is less swing else there is a lot of swing. In England, a lot depends on the condition. The ball can do anything if clouds come in and if there is sunshine it is easier to bat," he said. Commenting on how attacking opener Rohit should approach the Dukes ball in conditions that can suit bowlers, Sehwag said: "Absolutely respect the conditions and wait for the bad ball. He has played a lot of cricket in England, so he is experienced and knows what needs to be done. But my advice would be to respect the new ball and then he will get the bad balls for which he has to wait. Once he is set after seeing off the first 5 to 10 overs, then it will be easier to play aggressive cricket."
India skipper Virat Kohli will undoubtedly look to bank on pace spearhead Bumrah to make early inroads. Asked how he would have played Bumrah, Sehwag said: "I would like to pick his action and assess which is the action for the slower ball, the bouncer, the outswinger. It is important to pick the ball from the hand in Test cricket and if you can do that, the job becomes that much easier. So, I would watch his videos and see when he bowls in-swingers or out-swingers." Finally, any discussion on cricket with Sehwag cannot be complete without discussing run-machine Kohli. Asked how he would want the India captain to approach the swinging conditions in England, Sehwag said Kohli should get the bowlers to bowl at him and leave anything that is bowled outside the off-stump.
"I think Kohli should show patience and he should leave a lot of balls. They must be made to pitch in the line and then he can score. He has to show patience and I am sure he knows that. I remember in 2014 when he didn't score runs, he came back and spent time with Sachin Tendulkar and went back and scored a lot of runs. It helps. Similarly, we put together the CRICURU app so that if someone wants to learn from experienced international cricketers, they can follow the app and website to understand the skillset and mindset required," he explained. CRICURU is a combination of demonstrations and interviews where your CRICURU shares his experience and learning with you. Each class includes extensive pre-recorded video content and the videos can be paused, fast-forwarded, and re-watched as many times as you would like.