His restrained and firm tone gives way to profound semantics as he confronts criticism and questions about his performance while defining his role as an educationist. Ever vigilant to ward-off any possibility of a controversy, cricketer Virender Sehwag speaks to Metro life about his present life and the past with nostalgia.“I studied at Arora Vidya School, till Class VIII. It was 500 meters away from my house and everybody at the school knew my family. I was a very average student in academics but was quite disciplined and focused. However, if asked to choose between classes or cricket, I would rather choose to play,” recalls the right-handed batsman who soon found his calling in the game and joined Surmount Club, Najafgarh.
In higher classes, his schooling shifted to G-Block Government School in Vikaspuri and he “had to travel for 40 minutes between the school and the academy. There was no place to play in school in those days. So though I convinced my father about joining the cricket academy, he used to be upset over me wasting too much time in travelling. One day he said, ‘If you get to play International cricket someday then do open a school where children can get educated and play too.’”The veteran cricketer fulfilled his father’s dream when he set up Sehwag International School. Most of the students at his school consider him their idol but that doesn’t encumber Sehwag.
“I don’t feel pressurised since I have myself grown up watching Sachin (Tendulkar). It is a great feeling to be a motivation and inspiration for somebody.” As far as the ‘hero’ status is considered, Sehwag controls his emotions to say, “The whole nation is missing him. Sachin has taught me a lot of things and I feel lucky to have played with him when I joined the team. He still motivates me.” Especially in these difficult times when Sehwag’s performance is under scrutiny.
“There are highs and lows in everybody’s life. This season wasn’t good for Wasim Jaffer either. It is part of life and we have to take it. If you are criticizing me for my poor performance, it is OK with me but if you criticize me on my personal reasons, I will just not take it,” he says in a matter- of-fact tone. His mechanism to cope with criticism is not unusual. “We don’t watch news channels or read news papers at home. My kids watch cartoons and movies only. Not giving importance is the best way,” he says adding, “When you are in the low phase, one big achievement gives a (re) start.” Speaking of a possible comeback in the near future, he says, “No one can plan anything. I will try and give my 100 percent be it for Team India, T-20 or any other match because I love the game,” before heading to his fitness session.