India was 0-2 down in the four-match Test series against Australia when the Monkeygate incident occurred. Anil Kumble’s squad was always playing catch-up against the strong Aussies after crushing defeats in Melbourne and Sydney. Virender Sehwag, one of India’s most prolific openers, was on the bench for the first two games.
Despite scoring a triple century only four years ago, Sehwag was discarded following the World Cup 2007 disaster. Beginning in January 2007, he went a year without playing a Test match.
“Score A Fifty And You Will Be Picked In The Side”: Anil Kumble To Virendra Sehwag
At this critical moment, he received the backing of the then-captain, who told him these words during a practice match prior to the third Test match in Perth. “If you score 50 in this game, you’ll be selected for the match in Perth.”
He hit a century and was brought into the side in Perth, where India created history by defeating Australia by 72 runs. Sehwag’s best innings (151), though, came in the last Test match in Adelaide, when he helped India preserve the contest. One thing is certain: following Ganguly, who aided him in the early stages of his career, Kumble aided in the revival of his career.
Following the trip, Kumble made a pledge to Sehwag, “As long as I am the Test team captain, you will not be dropped from the side,” Sehwag recalled Kumble making him the promise. “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 on Sports 18.
“Those 60 runs were the toughest I scored in my life. I was playing to repay the faith Anil Bhai put in me, I did not want anyone to question him for bringing me to Australia”, Sehwag further added.
Virendra Sehwag retired from Test cricket in 2013.