Viru happy at overtaking idol Tendulkar
Sehwag smashed 219 off just 149 balls in the fourth one-dayer against the West Indies on Thursday overtaking Tendulkar`s unbeaten 200 last year to become the highest individual scorer in an ODI.
"I am happy to have broken my role model Sachin Tendulkar`s record. It won`t be easy for people to score double hundreds. Over the last so many years only two have done it. This opportunity will come only once in a lifetime and I am happy I have taken it," Sehwag told the mediapersons at the post-match press conference.
"I never expected to score a double hundred. While opening the innings, I told Gautam Gambhir that if we can show some patience on this track, we will be in for a big one as the wicket is a good one. The outfield is fantastic and the distance of the boundary is only 50 yards," Sehwag he added.
The dashing opener said once the batting powerplay started, the thought of reaching double hundred crossed his mind. "It was only after the batting powerplay started, I felt that I could reach double hundred. Also when Sammy dropped me (at 170), I knew that God was with me," Sehwag stated.
He thanked his family and thousands of fans who had always had the expectation that he can score a double hundred in ODIs. "I want to thank my family and fans. I know people expected me to score a double century. Today when I wanted to hit a six, I just did that."
Sehwag said that he was determined to make amends for a string of poor scores in the first three ODIs. "I have said this earlier also that the top-order needs to contribute. It was a wicket where one could score big runs if he stayed around for 30 overs." The historic knock certainly seemed to have taken a toll on Sehwag as he smiled and said: "Obviously, I am very tired. I am an old man now and my back gets stiff. So I need to take an ice bath."
Sehwag, dedicated the epic knock to the memory of his late father. "I am very happy and I dedicate this knock to my father who is no longer with us," he said. The `Nawab of Najafgarh`, as he is fondly called, informed that he has received around 800 congratulatory text messages but is yet to go through them.
"I have received 700 to 800 messages and have talked with my mother, who is also very happy. Selection committee chairman Srikkanthji also called and congratulated me," said Sehwag. "It is one of my very best innings. Unlike in Test cricket when one can bat longer, in One-dayers you have to keep an eye on the run-rate. The wicket was very good for batting but the bowlers are also trying to get you out. It was not easy to score 200," he said.
Sehwag was of the opinion that the 200 hasn`t come too late in his career. "I think it has come at the right time. One becomes more mature as a player when he is in his 30s. When you have played for 10 years in international cricket, you can achieve whatever you want," he said.
Sehwag said right through his innings he was fit and never felt the need for a runner, a practice that has been banned by the cricket authorities. Sehwag also revealed that he took the decision to bat first if he won the toss only five minutes before the ritual.
"We had decided to field first but we were told by players who had played in the Challenger Series on this ground that the wicket had deteriorated in the second innings. That`s why, I changed my mind," he said.
He said he and opening partner Gautam Gambhir had wanted to spend some time in the middle and then open out but the wicket was so good that they decided to play till at least 30 to 35 overs.
"We said to one another that if we can play together for 15 to 20 overs we could put up a good stand and give the middle-order the chance to build on it. But the wicket was so good, we decided we can bat till the 30-35 overs. I am sorry Gautam was run out. I was very upset," he said. Sehwag and Gambhir put on 176 runs in 22.5 overs before the latter was run out for 67.
He also praised the bowling of debutant leggie Rahul Sharma and predicted a bright future for him. "He bowled very well. I was very impressed with his bowling. It was his debut. He has a very good future," he said.
Asked whether the great innings he played today would help him on the Australian tour, Sehwag said it was a different proposition. "I don`t know what I would do there. It`s totally different. We have done well there on the last two tours. We will try and do well this time too," he remarked.