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Virender Sehwag Credits Anil Kumble for Opener's Revival: 'Didn't Want Anyone to Question Him for Bringing Me to Australia'

Virender Sehwag looks back at Australia tour 2007-08.

Virender Sehwag looks back at Australia tour 2007-08.

Then India captain Anil Kumble helped revive Virender Sehwag's falling Test career.

By the time the Monkeygate happened, India were 0-2 down in the four-match Test series which was taking place in Australia. Crushing defeats at Melbourne and Sydney made sure that Anil Kumble-led side was always playing catch up against the mighty Aussies. The first two games also saw one of the most prolific Indian openers on the bench—Virender Sehwag. Despite scoring triple ton just 4 years ago, Sehwag was dropped in the aftermath of the World Cup 2007 debacle. He didn’t play a Test for a year starting Jan 2007. At this crucial juncture he got the support of then skipper as he told him these words at a practice match ahead of the third Test match in Perth. “Score a 50 in this match, and you will be picked for the match in Perth.”

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He scored a hundred and was drafted into the side at Perth as promised where India made history, beating Australia by 72 runs. But Sehwag’s best(151) came in the final Test match in Adelaide as he helped India save the game. One thing is for sure, after Ganguly who helped him in the initial phase of his career, Kumble helped revive his career.

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 in a chat to ‘Sports 18’. “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 says.

Sehwag said he played to his full potential as his failure would have put question marks on Kumble the captain. It was a slow innings very uncharacteristic of Sehwag.

“Those 60 runs were the toughest I scored in my life. I was playing to repay the faith Anil Bhai put in me,” Sehwag recalls. “I did not want anyone to question him for bringing me to Australia.”

Watch the second part of Virender Sehwag’s interview on ‘Home of Heroes’ on Sports18 at 7:00 PM on May 27th

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first published:May 24, 2022, 13:12 IST