Former Pakistan spin legend Saqlain Mushtaq has hailed his Indian counterpart Virender Sehwag for redefining the attacking style of play. Virender Sehwag was amongst the elite openers produced by India, having dominated almost all oppositions in Tests and ODIs. Saqlain Mushtaq acknowledged that the Delhi-born cricketer lifted the bar and paved the way for the Indian batsmen to play similarly.
Virender Sehwag was one of the few batsmen who used to put pressure on the opposition bowlers from the get-go. The 41-year old, who featured in 104 Tests, 250 ODIs, and 19 T20Is, making over 16000 runs, maintained a strike rate of 82.23 in the longest format and 104.34 in 50-over cricket. The former right-handed batsman is one of the few batters to smash two triple-centuries in Tests and holds the record for the fastest triple-ton in the format.
Saqlain Mushtaq believes that Virender Sehwag’s attacking brand of cricket benefitted plenty of Indian batsmen. Mushtaq underlined that it entirely changed Indian cricket’s mindset, claiming that more batsmen started playing freely by looking at Sehwag. The 44-year old, who invented the “Doosra”, also claimed that Rohit Sharma, who has three double-centuries in ODIs, might have learned a lot by watching the former Indian opener.
“Keep in mind that the impact Virender Sehwag had on the world, the style in which he played, the brand of cricket he played, a lot of players from India benefitted from it. The manner of batting he showed the world, changed Indian cricket’s mindset and that of its cricketers. Sehwag lifted the bar and showed the way with his self-belief. Sehwag scored a double century in ODIs so players believed it could happen, like Rohit Sharma. In fact, Rohit must have learnt a lot watching Sehwag bat,” Mushtaq said in his Youtube channel.
Rohit’s stats may look prettier than Virender Sehwag but Viru, he had a role behind it: Saqlain Mushtaq
Saqlain Mushtaq went on to say that Virender Sehwag had a massive role to play in Rohit’s rise as an opener, encouraging everyone after him to play fearlessly. The Lahore-born former off-spinner highlighted that before Sehwag, Sir Viv Richards and Zaheer Abbas were the ones who dominated cricket and ruled the world.
“Rohit’s stats may look prettier than Sehwag but Viru he had a role behind it. He played for himself, the country and changed the thinking of the players that came after him. Before him, only 1-2 players like Sir Viv who used to play that brand of cricket in ODIs and ruled over the world, and Zaheer Abbas. They ruled the world and similarly, Sehwag also dominated world cricket,” he added.