Chopra on Sehwag
Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra 10 Test matches for India and opened with another Delhi cricketer Virender Sehwag. Chopra, While Sehwag recorded his name as one of the finest Test openers for India, Aakash Chopra went on to become a domestic giant. Chopra’s style was completely different to Virender Sehwag. Speaking about his batting partner in those matches for India, Aakash Chopra said, “His (Sehwag) strength is that he is brutally honest about what he could and couldn’t do. Even with all the bravado and aggression and ‘Viru’ style of playing, you won’t remember him actually taking on a bouncer. Now that’s discipline.”
He further told Gaurav Kapur on his ‘22 Yarns’ Podcast for Spotify, Aakash Chopra further explained how Viru used to have the perfect understanding of his own game. “That tells you loads about what’s behind that exterior, that facade that we see, which is carefree, happy-go-lucky, see the ball hit the ball. He’s seen a bouncer, and he hasn’t attempted it in 8,000 Test runs. So that kind of discipline, understanding, and conviction in his own game was unbelievable.”
Chopra’s moments with Viru
Aakash Chopra recalled, “He would tell you, ‘Yaar ball zyada swing ho raha hai, aaj mera nahi chalega, tu wahi reh (ball is swinging too much, my shots won’t work),’ knowing fully well ke ‘ye meri strength nai hai (today is not my day)’. See, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is very important. Knowing what you can, and more importantly, can’t do. He knew that ‘abhi ball swing ho raha hai, phas jaunga. Chod na, abhi 5-7 over nikal jayenge to achha hi hai (Ball is swinging now, I will get stuck. Let us stick out 5-7 overs in the middle)’. He knew that if he stays there then he can put them to the sword.”
Chopra also remembered how Sehwag used to advise him on his batting as well. “He would come and tell me, ‘Chopraji ye 40-40 run maar rahe ho drop ho jaoge team se. Set hone ke baad out hone se koi khelta nahi hai aage (Chopra ji, you are scoring 40-40 scores, would be dropped from the team. No one stays in the team if he gets out after settling down).’ And he would also say the same thing about himself,” Chopra recalled.