As a batsman, Virender Sehwag had only one philosophy,”See ball, hit ball”. Simple,uncomplicated,direct! His retirement announcement was similar too- no long speeches, no array of drama and eliciting a response of surprise,familiar to his range of stroke play. One would imagine such a batsman would want top end his career on the 22 yard strip but Sehwag took to Twitter on October 20, his 37th birthday, to announce to the world that he was hanging his boots.
“Every player wants to retire at the top of the international games. Had I also retired while playing international cricket, I could have given a retirement speech. But fate had something else in store for me,” Sehwag told Zee News in what was his first interview after his retirement from international cricket.
He didn’t dwell on it much but he did mention his disappointment at not being given a long rope by the selectors in 2013 after only a few failures. “The selectors did not ask me about my future plan before dropping me during Australia series in 2013. Had the selectors told me about their decision, I could have announced my retirement in that series”, added Sehwag who hasn’t donned the Indian jersey ever since the second Test against Australia in March 2013.
With his retirement the era of the Fab-5 is drawn to a close. He was the last remaining member of the group which comprised of Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman.
One revelation that he did make during this interview was that this wasn’t the only time he had thoughts of retirement in mind.”I was planning to retire in 2007 after being dropped from the team but Tendulkar stopped me from doing so,” said the former India star. Had he actually gone through with that thought, Sehwag would have never had made that monumentous 319 against Sri Lanka in 2009 which put him in the rare company of being only the fourth batsman ever to score two triple hundreds and only the third to have two triple hundreds and 290+ score.
Talking about his family’s reaction, he added that both his sons were upset but he was at peace with the decision. He also made sure he didn’t stir up a new controversy when asked about whether he had approached the BCCI for a farewell match. “I don’t want to create any controversy after my retirement. I don’t want to speak on this issue,” said the Delhi dasher.
He rated Anil Kumble as the best captain he had played under and also divulged details about his future.
“Anil Kumble is the best captain I have played with. He used to boost our confidence level”.
“I will always be connected with this game. If I get an offer from the BCCI or any other commentary offers, I will consider it. My commentary would be straightforward, like my batting.”
He will continue to lead Haryana in what will be his final Ranji season. Infact he scored a century just the day after he announced his retirement. Also he will be seen in action during the Masters T-20 league organised by Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar in the US which will also feature fellow retired legends.
His statistics in Tests, his favourite format, read 8586 runs at an average of 47.35.