Sehwag sounds warning, says he fears no bowler
Published: Sunday, January 12, 2003, 21:47 [IST]
Shoaib Akhtar pulled up for meeting Bollywood stars
Hamilton: Hard-hitting opener Virender Sehwag, India's most successful batsman on the current New Zealand tour, sounded a warning to World Cup bowlers on Sunday that he would continue playing shots. "I fear no bowler," Sehwag said as his team prepared for the seventh and last One- day International against the hosts on Tuesday. India has already lost the seven-match series after trailing 4-2, but Sehwag kept his reputation intact as a hard and clean striker of the ball with two centuries. "If you start thinking about bowlers' reputations, you can't bat. I just want to play my natural attacking game and concentrate on my shots," said Sehwag, the only batsman to make a century in the ongoing series. Sehwag hammered two centuries, following his 108 in the second game at Napier with 112 in the sixth at Auckland to overshadow star batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly on the tour. He is the leading scorer of the One-day series, having made 295 in six matches. New Zealand's Mathew Sinclair is second-best with 143. To put Sehwag's runs in proper perspective, no other batsman has reached the three- figure mark in Tests or One-dayers on seamer-friendly tracks. Mark Richardson was New Zealand's top-scorer in a two-Test series with 89 and Sinclair in One-dayers with 78. For India, Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar each scored a half-century in Tests and Yuvraj Singh one in One-dayers. Sehwag said runs on difficult seaming pitches boosted his confidence ahead of the World Cup, starting in South Africa next month. "I'm happy I'm going to the World Cup, but there's no excitement. For me, they are just normal matches. I'll try to perform well there as well," he said. "I feel confident after scoring two centuries on pitches where making even a 20 was no guarantee," said Sehwag, who has so far scored 1,776 in 56 matches with five tons since making his debut against Pakistan in 1998-99. "One has to adjust oneself on difficult pitches. I have grown in confidence after batting on such wickets. I never thought I could be trapped on these tracks and just went on playing my natural game," said the 24-year-old. Sehwag said Tendulkar played an important role in his recent successes. "After having failed in three Test innings, I spoke to Tendulkar and he told me to stand out of the crease to neutralise their (New Zealand bowlers) movement. "But I never thought of curbing my strokes," said Sehwag, who rose to fame with a 69- ball hundred against New Zealand in a triangular series at Colombo in 2001. "I got a hundred on a seaming track at Nottingham (against England last year) and it gave me a lot of confidence. I thought if I could get a hundred there, I could get it anywhere. "I came here thinking pitches will be the same as the one at Nottingham, but these were very different. The wicket was less seaming at Nottingham." Sehwag said discipline was the key to New Zealand seamers' success in both Test and One-day series. "They just decided to bowl one line and got good bounce and seam movement. I'll say they bowled very well and I was very impressed by Daryl Tuffey," said Sehwag, who began his career as a middle-order batsman. "I just enjoy batting. It does not matter whether I bat at the top or in the middle. I'm willing to bat at any position for my team," he said. Sehwag said he was not worried when he was called a slogger in the early part of his career. "I've never minded criticism, because I know whatever I've to do I've to do it myself. It doesn't matter what people are saying," he said.