Melbourne: Former Australia cricket captain Ian Chappell on Wednesday heaped praise on recently retired India batsman Virender Sehwag, terming him as someone unique with great mental strength, also adding that he will miss the 37-year-old's "like it or lump it" style of approaching the game.
Sehwag on Tuesday announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket and Indian Premier League (IPL) with immediate effect. In a career spanning over 15 years in international cricket, Sehwag featured in 104 Tests and scored 8,586 runs at a staggering average of 49.34. In 251 One-Day Internationals (ODI), he amassed 8,273 runs at an average of 35.05. He also scored 38 international hundreds.
“Sehwag is amongst the most entertaining batsman I have ever seen. It has been many hours of pleasure watching Sehwag batting. He is a player of great mental strength. He just listens to you and then goes to the field the way he wants. And to be so successful in it was amazing,” Chappell was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.
Sehwag also smashed his highest ODI score in 2011 against the West Indies at Indore, slamming 219 runs off only 149 balls. This is the third highest score in ODIs, after Rohit Sharma (264) and Martin Guptil (237 not out).
“The specialty about him was he said this is the way I play, you can say what you like about it but this is how I play. This suits me best. There are not many guys who are so mentally strong like him,” he said.
It was in Tests that Sehwag went on to establish himself as one of the very best in the game. He is still the only Indian to have a triple century in his name, having done so twice against Pakistan (309 in Multan) and South Africa (319 in Chennai).
The 'Nawab of Najafgarh' last represented India in a Test against Australia in March 2013 and his spot was subsequently filled by the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay following a string of low scores.
When asked if Sehwag should have changed his style of playing and approach during the latter part of his career, the 72-year-old said: “I think players need to change their approach as they get into the latter part of the career. But Sehwag is different. He says this is not the way I play. He plays by his own style."
"Quite a few say like this, but not many have become what Sehwag has achieved. He might have prolonged his career, but he might not have been Sehwag. I like it that he said, this is how I play, take it or leave it,” he said.
Chappell also shared an incident when then India chief coach John Wright told Sehwag to be cautious ahead of playing shots and Sehwag replied to it with just a smile.
“I remember, I met John Wright during his coaching in India. He said to me after Sehwag got out cheaply off a bad stroke, he told Sehwag to be a bit cautious. When I asked John what was Sehwag's reply, John said Sehwag just smiled and did not reply. I am going to miss Sehwag, as I really enjoyed his batting,” Chappell concluded.