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‘Be like Virender Sehwag’ – Kapil Dev reveals aspect of batting Sachin Tendulkar lacked

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Kapil Dev, the legendary India all-rounder and the 1983 World Cup-winning captain, has recalled his advice to Sachin Tendulkar, asking him to be more ruthless like Virender Sehwag, and still believes the batting legend didn’t realise his full talent.

Dev said Tendulkar was a master at making hundreds, but lacked the ruthlessness to really pile on the runs. He attributed that to Tendulkar’s roots in Mumbai’s school of batting, and recalled how he’d ask him to bat like Sehwag.

“Sachin had so much talent, we hadn’t seen it in anyone,” Dev told WV Raman, the India Women coach, on his YouTube show. “He was born in an era where he knew how to score hundreds, but he never became a ruthless batsman.

“Sachin had everything in cricket. He knew how to score hundreds, but didn’t know how to convert those hundreds into double-hundreds and triple-hundreds. Sachin had the talent to make at least five triple-centuries and another 10 double-hundreds, because he could hit fast bowlers and spinners for a six or a four every over.

“However, he got caught up in the Mumbai cricket [mindset]: when you score a hundred, make a line and start from zero again. And that’s where I said, ‘No, you are such a ruthless cricketer, be like Virender Sehwag.’”

Dev had the opposite advice to Sehwag, the high-flying opener, who he said needed some patience. “I used to tell Sehwag to be like Sachin: you have so many shots in your armoury that if you wait for 30-odd minutes, you will get to a hundred. To Sachin, I used to say, ‘You must watch Virender Sehwag’, who, upon reaching a ton would aim for at least one boundary an over if not two. So in the next 20 overs, he was close to his double-hundred.

“That was the difference. At times, you don’t have people around you to point things out to you and, at times, you are not aware of your own strength. Sachin’s strength was par excellence and incomparable, but after reaching a century, he would often take a single and get off strike.”

“It was never that he made the bowlers fear him – they feared how to get him out. But against Sehwag, the bowlers feared how to stop him from scoring.”

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