Former Indian batter Virender Sehwag says he owes big time to Anil Kumble for reviving his Test career after he was dropped for one year from the team. Sehwag was hurt and felt he would have scored over 10,000 runs had he not been dropped. He finished with 8,586 Test runs at an average of almost 50 and strike of 75+.
“Suddenly, I realised I was not part of the Test side; it hurt,” Sehwag said on of Home of Heroes on Sports18.
“I would have ended with 10,000+ Test runs had I not been dropped for that period.”
It was captain Anil Kumble who picked and took him to Australia for the 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy and this decision raised many eyebrows. It was a decision Kumble took on his gut.
Sehwag was not played in the 1st and 2nd Test. However, in the 3rd Test, he was given a chance by Kumble. But that chance was also earned by Sehwag. Before the 3rd Test in Perth, India were to play a practice game vs ACT Invitation XI and Sehwag was told by Kumble that a fifty in this game will guarantee his place in the playing XI.
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Sehwag took up the challenge and smashed a hundred even before lunch. As a result, he played in Perth. In Perth, he gave a good start to India but in the 4th Test at Adelaide, he came to his best.
A 63 in the first innings was followed by an uncharacteristic but match-saving 151 in the second at Adelaide.
“Those 60 runs were the toughest I scored in my life. I was playing to repay the faith Anil Bhai put in me,” Sehwag recalled.
“I did not want anyone to question him for bringing me to Australia.”
After the tour, Kumble made Sehwag a promise. “As long as I am the Test team captain, you will not be dropped from the side,” Sehwag remembers Kumble saying. “That’s what a player yearns for the most, the confidence of his captain. I got that from Ganguly in my initial years and from Kumble later,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag’s reverence for Kumble does not stop at picking him for the tour but for how he handled the controversies that headlined the second Test in Sydney. “If Anil Bhai had not been the captain, the tour would have discontinued and probably Harbhajan Singh’s career would have ended too,” Sehwag said.