Virender Sehwag Reveals The Story of Sachin Tendulkar Taking Strike In 2003 WC Against Pakistan
By CricShots - Jan 14, 2023 1:05 pm
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The Indian cricketers are right up there when you think of the greatest opening pairs in ODI cricket. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly amassed 6609 runs in 136 innings as openers while Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan with 5148 runs from 115 innings. Then at No. 5 is arguably the most entertaining pair – that of Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag who managed to score 3919 runs from 93 innings. 

Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar

Even after all these years, after Ganguly and Tendulkar, the opening duo of Sachin and Sehwag remains one of the most loved opening pairs in Indian cricket. Once Virender Sehwag arrived, he became India’s certified opener and remained so till the end. he started batting alongside Tendulkar in 2003, mostly during the World Cup in South Africa, where India finished runner-up… and the rest as they say, is history.

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Tendulkar and Sehwag’s first real test came during the high-voltage match between India and Pakistan and every Sachin fan would be aware, he hardly took the first strike. Over the years, multiple theories have emerged as to why Sachin decided to take the strike against Pakistan. However, a new, staggering claim by Sehwag reveals a different story altogether.

During an interaction on the sidelines of ILT20 Virender Sehwag said, “I was not doing well against the left-arm fast bowlers. When we were playing against Wasim bhai in 2003 World Cup, and last over of the innings when we were fielding and I asked Sachin Tendulkar to take strike. I said, ‘See, if Wasim bowls first ball, I might get out’. He (Tendulkar) said ‘No, No, I am very superstitious, my pandit ji has told me to bat at No.2’.”

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar

He further added, “And I said ‘You’re No.1 batsman in the world and you’re talking about Pandit ji… But he said, ‘No… I will bat at No. 2; you have to take the strike’. So then, we were playing at the Centurion and we had to step up many stairs, so we went in for lunch and then came back requesting Tendulkar. He had put on big earphones, removed one, slapped me on the back, and said go and pad yourself; I will not take strike. So, you know I was trying to please Tendulkar to save me from Wasim Akram.”

Having said that, somewhere between that discussion and the first ball bowled, Sachin Tendulkar decided to take the strike. Pakistan had posted a solid 273/7 batting first, and Sachin was aware that his team needed a blazing start against the likes of Wasim, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar. And once he punched Akram off the backfoot for his first boundary, the world knew something special was going to unfold. His innings of 98 that day in Centurion were a knock to remember. 

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Recalling the same, Virender Sehwag said, ” Till the 30-yard circle, I was asking him to take strike and he kept saying no. And then suddenly, I saw Sachin walking towards where the wicketkeeper stood, and I said ‘Wow, it’s my lucky day, you know’. He took the strike, first ball he took the single and second ball, I had to face Wasim Akram. So, I was lucky enough to survive that but at least I didn’t play the first one.”