New Delhi: That Virender Sehwag completely changed the dynamics of batting in Test cricket is well-documented. But former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday emphasised the Delhi dazzler did so when the game was "so strong" with world-class bowlers.
Sehwag, Diana Edulji and Aravinda de Silva on Monday became the latest inductees in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
In an appreciation letter to Sehwag that was shared by the ICC, Ganguly said, "What made you such a special player is the way you batted. You changed the dynamics of batting at the top in Test cricket.
"It was a different era back then. In the early 2000s, Test cricket was so strong with quality players all around the world, but you just completely changed the art of batting in Test matches." The former BCCI president added, "An innings that proves that is your 293 against Sri Lanka in 2009. To score that many in a day of a Test against an attack including Muttiah Muralitharan just showed what you were capable of.
"You enjoyed playing all the different formats and while you were good at one-day cricket, I think you were even better in Tests." The explosive opener played 104 Tests, 251 ODIs and 19 T20Is for India and was part of the sides that won the 2011 ODI World Cup and the 2007 T20 World Cup.
"You could do it in all conditions and your triple hundred in Multan remains one of my favourite innings. You hit a six to get to 200 and then did the same to get to 300 - and you had told us you were going to do it too!" Ganguly said the ICC has "absolutely chosen the right person" to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, calling his former teammate a cricketing great and the "probably the best opening batsman" after Sunil Gavaskar.
Ganguly also recalled how Sehwag made a strong comeback into the Indian team after failing to shine initially.
"When you came back into the side you were a middle-order batsman, you had never been an opener, but that soon changed.
"We gave you that responsibility because although we couldn't find a place for you in the middle order, we knew a player of your ability could not sit and warm the benches.
"I remember when I told you that you should try opening, you were unsure because you had never done it. I believe no one is born to bat in any particular position and that you could do it because of the talent you possessed."