Virender Sehwag is bored. “Yes, very, very bored. I am missing cricket.” That's how Sehwag feels these days on being kept away from the cricket field. The rehabilitation phase, following a second shoulder surgery, has forced one of the finest entertainers in the game to stay indoors.
Sehwag is working out earnestly to regain match-fitness. Stretching, yoga, muscle-strengthening and running are all part of a carefully planned fitness routine. But Sehwag cannot wait to hit the cricket ball again.
“The time away from cricket has taught me one big lesson. One should never neglect an injury. If you are playing the game at the highest level for over a decade, injuries are bound to follow at some point of time. One must listen to one's body,” says the 32-year-old as he stretches on the mat in his private gym at the basement of his South Delhi home.
Did he feel perfectly in shape to take up the challenge in England? “I was very keen to play in England and thanks to the Board and the selectors, I could find a place in the team. I was batting-fit. I agree I could not do much on the tour. But then, I could have earned a King Pair even with the best of fitness level.”
A new teacher
Though Sehwag the cricketer is a touch restless to return to doing what he enjoys the most, the eternal student in him has found a new teacher, away from cricket. “These days, my four-year-old son (Aaryavir) is teaching me how to count — 1-2-3 besides making me write A-B-C-D — honestly I am enjoying my time with my family.” His second son (Vedant) is one year old and keeps him busy too.
“Sometimes, like any normal father, I drop my son at school and also pick him up in the afternoon. Like everyone else, I park my car outside the school and wait for my son to come out. I go for post-dinner walks with my wife, spend time with my mother and walk to the nearby grocery to buy things.”
For the man who bought his first scooter with his Ranji Trophy debut match fee in 1998, the successful journey has brought along six cars, including a BMW, an Audi and a Skoda. Though he retains the scooter as well as the old family home at Najafgarh, Sehwag sounds quite realistic and practical on the subject of importance of money in life.
“You need money for everything, from fulfilling your basic needs to realising your dreams. When I began, I never played for money. But my parents wished I was financially secure. Success brought in money and I could fulfil the needs and dreams of my family. Adequate money secures your family's future.”
He has invested well in a mango pulp factory near Bangalore and the Sehwag International School in Jhajjar, Haryana. Wife (Aarti) handles the 320-student school (from nursery to VII) which also boasts of a hostel that accommodates 40. A feature of the 23-acre complex is the sports academy with facilities for football, swimming, basketball, tennis, table tennis, volleyball and horse riding.
Celebrity status that comes with sustained success rests easy on Sehwag's shoulders. If he has remained rooted despite sweeping success in all forms of the game, his mother's influence has a lot to do with it. “I stay with my mother and for her, I will remain the same. The values my parents instilled in me have helped me deal with success and fame.”
Besides his family, there is another gentleman who continues to inspire Sehwag. That's Sachin Tendulkar. “Even after achieving everything that one can possibly dream of, Sachin remains so down to earth. What can I say about Sachin the cricketer?
“When I was in England recently for the Test series, he told me, ‘There is still so much to learn in cricket. And I am still learning'. Indeed, from Sachin, there is so much to learn for players like me.”
Keywords: Virender Sehwag