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Inimitable Shewag -- both Mr. & Mrs!!
« on: January 16, 2006, 09:49:16 PM »

First the Mrs --**************************************************************************************************************************************************
Excerpt From Outlook India:

A young Pakistan journalist asked Arti Sehwag, watching the proceedings from the grand stand, to tell him to stop his plunder of the home bowlers. The demure Arti responded "You didn't tell your batsmen that on the first two days."

And then the Mr --

'Shoaib hasn't lived up to expectations' - Sehwag

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan at Lahore

January 16, 2006

 On a day when he bulldozed past several batting records, Virender Sehwag has said that Shoaib Akthar, Pakistan's strike bowler, "hasn't lived up to expectations". Despite the fantastic partnership he shared with Rahul Dravid, he unequivocally stated that a long-term stance of opening with Dravid wasn't an option and confirmed that would be an arrangement adopted "once in a while".

"We didn't lose a wicket in our innings and that must tell you something about their bowling," he said at the post-match press conference. "Shoaib didn't get a wicket and he hasn't lived up to expectations." Sehwag was candid in his response when asked to compare the two attacks: "At least we got seven wickets, they haven't got even one."

Hailing Dravid's century, his first as captain, Sehwag said it would not be a permanent arrangement. "Dravid is a very good No.3 batsman and he opened in this game because we didn't have another opener in the team." Having made just one fifty in his last nine innings, Sehwag was happy to have got out of the rut. "I have always said it was a matter of one big innings," he said. "I have got some 30s and 40s but an innings like this give you tremendous confidence."

Commenting that a result-oriented surface would have been a better idea, Sehwag said that India were prepared to play on any kind of pitch. "Pakistan probably didn't want to prepare seaming tracks," he said, "and thought that their bowlers will get us out on flat, hard wickets. But we fought back well and are ready to play on any sort of track. It's not a good wicket for a Test match and if we have to play a drawn series, there is no use coming here. I don't think it will produce a result and tomorrow will be more like batting practice."

He added that regular stoppages were a hindrance and that chasing a big total was always a uphill task: "It's never easy for a batsman to maintain his concentration when one is constantly going off for bat light. It's tough to sight the ball in the bad light. It's tough to come back after the break and play the same way. Our first task was to save the follow-on and we needed to have a positive partnership. The start was very important."

The 403-run opening stand was just 10 short of the world-record for the highest opening partnership of all time, set by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy almost 50 years back against New Zealand at Madras, but Sehwag said he wasn't thinking too much about it. "The world record really doesn't matter," he continued, "I didn't know we were close to the record until I came back to the dressing-room." He also added that he wasn't aware of beating Sunil Gavaskar's record for the fastest hundred by an Indian opener.


On & off pitch, Sehwag slices Pak
Lahore, Jan. 16: Having made an emphatic statement over the 22 yards at the Gaddafi, Virender Sehwag took guard afresh at an interaction with the media. He launched into the hosts yet again, this time over the first Test wicket.

So far, only five batsmen have fallen to the bowlers, with over a thousand runs totalled.

“It’s certainly the best I’ve batted on, but such wickets aren’t good for cricket.... In fact, it reflects the defensive state of Pakistan’s mind,” Sehwag boomed, as if authoring an unbeaten 247 (46x4, 1x6) wasn’t enough.

Just to redden the faces in the establishment and beyond even more, he added: “The unbeaten 403-run partnership between Rahul Dravid and I, for the first wicket, is meant to convey a message — we’ve come to win, not lose....”

The Team India vice-captain didn’t forget to take a dig at Shoaib Akhtar either. “His figures (none for 70) show he hasn’t met expectations.... There’s no need for me to comment.” Absolutely cheeky and we can expect Shoaib to aim for Sehwag’s ribs.

The poor light-affected Day IV saw Sehwag become the fastest Indian opener (eclipsing Sunil Gavaskar) to a Test hundred and the second quickest batsman ever (behind New Zealand’s Nathan Astle) to a double.

The Jat who has given Delhi’s Najafgarh an exciting identity, and transformed opening at the highest level, timed beautifully. It was a touch-innings from one out of touch in recent weeks.

“I needed one knock to get back to normal.... A big innings makes one comfortable,” Sehwag said. Given his appetite for Pakistan’s bowlers, even a swollen right ankle (owing to a fall last evening) was no handicap.

Sehwag isn’t far from another triple hundred at Pakistan’s expense. Then, if there’s no interruption on the final day and he continues to treat the bowlers as if they were in his benefit game, Brian Lara’s record of the unbeaten 400 could get erased.

“Kuch bhi ho sakta hai.... Who knows about tomorrow...,” Sehwag teased. What is set to get wiped off is Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad’s all-time opening best of 413, half a century ago.

Sehwag, incidentally, didn’t know he’d done better than Gavaskar. He also revealed neither he nor the captain was aware of their nearness to history. The flat wicket does dilute the makeshift pair’s effort, but not by much. Faisalabad has often been more batsman friendly and one can’t forget Colombo’s Premadasa.

Asked by The Telegraph whether he was excited being on the threshold of a big achievement, Dravid grinned: “Not really.... Actually, I’m not....” However, back at the Pearl Continental and in the company of Vijeta and Samit, he would have celebrated his first Test hundred (21st overall) as captain.

Dravid got the runs (128 not out) in only his ninth innings as opener in a decade of Test cricket. On the eve of the match, he’d given the responsibility to predecessor Sourav Ganguly, but changed his mind.

Mankad wasn’t a specialist opener either.

Sehwag, of course, feels Dravid shouldn’t open regularly. “He’s the best No. 3 and ought to open occasionally, if required....” Both have been on the field for all four days and staying till stumps is called for the last time can’t be ruled out.


'Who are Pankaj Roy, Vinoo Mankad?'



LAHORE, Jan 16: Virender Sehwag is probably not scared of anything. In the morning, he came to give a television interview even though he was on 96, and play was expected to start in a few minutes.

"I slept very well last night," he replied, when Dean Jones asked if he was anxious about getting through to his 100.

"My funda is simple: if a ball is there to be hit, I will hit it," he said. Later in the evening, when he addressed a press conference, he exhibited the same confidence and relaxed manner. Some gems from that chat:

Did you know that you were on the threshold of breaking the world record for the opening partnership?

No. I didn't know anything about it. It was only when we came out that we were told that we were 11 runs short of the record.

Do you know anything about Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad who hold that record?

No. I don't know anything about them. I haven't heard about them.

How would you say the Pakistani bowlers have bowled?

I don't need to say anything about that. You can just look at the scorecard and come to your own conclusions.

Would you say that they bowled better than the Indians?

I don't think so. Our bowlers at least took seven wickets. They haven't got even one of us out till now.

How would you say Shoaib Akhtar has bowled till now?

He hasn't taken a single wicket till now. So it's quite clear that he hasn't delivered at all. He has fallen well below expectations.

Would you say that the Pakistanis were too defensive?

I think so. They clearly didn't want to give us a track that would seam and help our bowlers. We are ready to play on any wicket. In fact, we would prefer a result-oriented wicket. After all, we have come here to win.

What will be your plan with the looming record?

Let's see how the first hour goes. We will try and bat as long as possible and get some good batting practice.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2006, 10:55:24 PM by kban1 »
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