Friday, September 22, 2023

Sehwag retires from international cricket, IPL

Himalayan Paths

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Putting an end to all speculations about him, Indian batting great Virender Sehwag on Tuesday announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket with immediate effect.

“Thanks everyone for all your wishes and love. I hereby retire from all forms of international cricket and from the Indian Premier League (IPL),” Sehwag announced on Twitter.

One of India’s greatest opening batsmen, Sehwag on Monday indicated that he will “soon” retire. That “soon” came just a day later when the dashing willower turned 37.

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of my retirement yesterday was exaggerated. However, I have always done what I felt was right and not what conformists thought to be right,” the right-handed batsman said in a statement.

“God has been kind and I have done what I wanted to do, on the field and in my life, and I had decided sometime back that I will retire on my 37th birthday. So today, as I spend my day with my family, I hereby announce my retirement from all forms of international cricket and from IPL.”

The Delhi-born will, however, play in the Masters Champions League (MCL), which he launched in Dubai on Monday with other stars like Brian Lara, Graeme Smith, Michael Vaughan — a tournament to be held early next year for retired cricketers.

“Cricket has been my life and continues to be so. Playing for India was a memorable journey and I tried to make it more memorable for the Indian teammates and the Indian cricket fans. I believe I was reasonably successful in doing so,” said Sehwag, who at times also chipped in with off-spin bowling.

Overall, he clinched 40 wickets in Tests and fell four short of a 100 in one-dayers.

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.

“I wish to thank my teammates over the years, some of the greatest players of the game. I would like to thank all my captains, who believed me and backed me to the hilt. I also thank our greatest partner, the Indian cricket fans, for all the love and support and memories. I have also played against top players in the world and it was an absolute pleasure and honour to do so,” said Sehwag.

A few says back, Sehwag switched his allegiance from Delhi to Haryana in the Ranji Trophy. The swashbuckling batsman represented Delhi for 18 seasons since 1997 but after several poor seasons, that saw him getting dropped from the national team, he decided to make the switch.

“I would like to thank Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for their support over the years. I would like to thank Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, I represented,” he said.

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 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).

“I miss my father today, he was there when the journey started, and I wish he was here today. I would like to thank my coach A.N. Sharma sir who was the only coach who groomed me to be the player I became today,” added Sehwag.

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).

This makes him the only batsman along with Don Bradman, Chris Gayle and Brian Lara to have scored a triple century twice in Tests.

His batting was also instrumental in helping India win the 2011 World Cup at home.

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