Virender Sehwag was at his attacking best when asked to describe the secret behind teammate and good friend VVS Laxman's calm demeanour, and why he "had become a liberated soul in the dressing room in recent years."
VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag at CCI on Saturday. Pic/Satyajit Desai
"I think that's because he takes a lot of time getting ready to bat in the dressing room. Since he comes in to bat at No 5, he can afford to do all that. He showers twice before going out to bat. He'll do all his pooja and everything else. He follows that up with all his stretching exercises. We always say that VVS Laxman takes 45 minutes to warm up his body to bat.
"Meanwhile, the Indian team finish their warm-up in that much time. It's good to have a friend like him in the dressing room who will always share an honest opinion. I really love fielding alongside him in the slip cordon too," a cheerful Sehwag told the emcee during the CEAT Awards ceremony at the Cricket Club of India on Saturday. Sehwag, batting great Sunil Gavaskar and Laxman shared the stage.
Sehwag revealed an incident in 2001 when captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright asked him to convert into an opening batsman. "I still remember when Sourav Ganguly and John Wright asked me to open the batting. Laxman came to me and said, 'don't do that. I also did the same mistake (of opening the batting). If you do the same, your career is over.'
"I told him 'Laxman, please let me take my chances. If I get success, nothing like it. Otherwise, I'll become your competitor in the middle order'." Laxman was awarded the Special Award for his contribution to Indian cricket, while Sehwag was bestowed with the Special Award for completing 10 years in international cricket, and also for his innings of 175 against Bangladesh in the opening match of this year's World Cup.
Later, Gavaskar asked Sehwag if he had given Laxman his cheque too, since he was always offering advice. Sehwag said: "Yes, because Laxman can't handle his money. So he gives me a cheque, so I can invest it in some funds."
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>> International Youngster: Virat Kohli
>> International T20 player: Suresh Raina
>> Lifetime Achievement award: Courtney Walsh
>> Match-winning inning: Gautam Gambhir