Saumojyoti S Choudhury
Bangalore, Feb 11 (PTI) At his destructive best, Indianopener Virender Sehwag can turn a match on its head with justa short stint at the crease but come this World Cup, he plansto prolong the agony for his rivals by being there for theentire 50 overs -- a feat he has not achieved before.
"I think I have never played 50 overs in one-day cricket.The maximum I have played is 43 or 44 overs. But this time Iwill try to bat 50 overs and give a good start to the team. Ihave been unsuccessfully trying this for the last 10 years andthe effort is still on and will be there," Sehwag toldreporters in an open media session ahead of the mega-eventstarting February 19.
Expectations are sky high but Sehwag says he does notfeel the pressure as he his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni andcoach Gary Kirsten have asked him to play his natural game nomatter what the situation.
"I think nobody is telling me what to do, that''s thegood part of our team. The coach and captain just allow me tobat the way I bat. So, they are not putting any pressure onme. They said you just go and play your natural game. If youscore runs we are happy and if you don''t score runs then alsowe are happy," Sehwag said.
"My role is to go out there and enjoy myself and give agood start to the team. If I score 20 runs in 10 balls or 100in 70, 80 balls I am happy with that," he added.
The 32-year-old''s trademark style is to go after thebowling from the word go, but he said he has slightly toneddown his aggressive instincts.
"For the last three years, I was in a good frame of mind.
I have changed a little bit. Now I give respect to the newball. I make sure that I spend four-five overs before takingon the bowlers and try to give a good start.
"I know that I have Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan,Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the middle-order, so I can goafter the bowling straight from the first ball. But now I amtrying to look for three-four overs and ensure that I give agood start to the team," Sehwag said.Sehwag has been a prolific run-scorer for India in Testsbut his performances in ODIs are not that impressive comparedto his deeds in the five-day format. .