Virender Sehwag had been a nightmare for most of the top flight bowlers at the zenith of his career and the same holds good for India's ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. R Ashwin who has cast a web around the best of batsmen had it tough against the most destructive batsman while bowling to him at the nets.
Ashwin opened up his unforgettable experience with 'Viru' at one of the net sessions in Dambulla, Sri Lanka where he was all at sea against the former Indian opener. Talking in a chat show named 'What the Duck', Ashwin recalled his tryst with the former opener at a net session a few years ago.
“Sehwag was never complicated. He had a demoralising effect on me actually,” Ashwin said.“There was an incident in Dambulla, where every ball that I bowled, first ball I bowled outside off stump, Sehwag cut me. Next ball I bowled on off stump, he cuts me. Next ball I bowled on middle stump, he cuts me.
“The next ball I bowl on leg stump, he again cuts me. So I said ‘what the hell is happening’. So I just bowled a ball fuller, Sehwag stepped out and slugged me out for a six,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin, who was struggling to earn a spot in the Indian team at that time, was clueless what to do. “So I said to myself either I am just not good enough or this guy is just way too good which he was. But to the greater Sachin Tendulkar also, I didn’t struggle with bowling so much in the nets too. I was very inquisitive. I observed this for a few days.
“But then I couldn’t hold myself back, I went to him (Sehwag) and asked, ‘so what should I do to improve’. If I had ask to Sachin, he would have given me some tips. If it were MS, he would have given me a perspective,” he said.
“Viru said ‘You know what, I don’t think off-spinners are bowlers. They do not trouble me at all. I just find it easy smashing them’. I said ‘Sir you are cutting me’. He said, ‘Yeah, I hit off-spinners against the spin on the off side and for left-arm spinners, I will hit against the spin on the leg side.
“I said, ‘okay, fine’. The next day I tried something in the nets he again started hitting me in different zones. He was actually treating me like a road-rag. Like how I would treat a 10 year-old kid, if I was batting against him,” he recalled.