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Why Virender Sehwag never wanted to go to the gym

by Wisden Staff 1 minute read

Speaking on this week’s Sky Cricket Podcast, Rob Key recalled his interaction with former India coach John Wright, who gave insight into how he coached a free spirit such as Virender Sehwag.

Key picked Sehwag as his opener while choosing a World XI for a Virtual Test alongside Nasser Hussain, calling the Indian batsman one of “his favourite players ever to watch”. Sehwag, who made 8,124 runs as Test opener, the second most by an Indian after Sunil Gavaskar, was known for his unconventional batting style and freewheeling personality.

“John Wright, my old mate, used to coach India,” Key said. “I remember asking about Sehwag, and Wrighty had all these theories, Wrighty glued his gloves to the bat once when he was a player. I said: ‘How does someone with all your theories coach Virender Sehwag?’

“He said that all he ever used to say to him was, ‘Viru, play straight today, that’s it’. And he reckoned that Sehwag never wanted to go to the gym because he felt it was too cold.

“Wrighty said to him, ‘Hang on. If you run on those machines, you’ll actually warm up and Sehwag didn’t believe him!”

“Proper old school, so you’re picking an old-school cricketer in your new modern era!” Nasser replied.

Sehwag, who retired from international cricket in 2015, played under Wright’s coaching from 2000 to 2005.

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