India’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who is known for her impeccable hitting ability, has revealed that it was Virender Sehwag who she idolized whilst growing up. Harmanpreet also revealed that she once indulged in a long convo with Sehwag, where the latter gave her invaluable tips.
Few batsmen in the history of the sport have had an impact in revolutionizing the sport like Virender Sehwag. An extremely aggressive batsman who purely relied on his instincts, Sehwag, following the footsteps of Sanath Jayasuriya, redefined the role of an opener in cricket and sent shockwaves through the world of cricket through his explosive batting. Such was the everlasting impression the right-hander left with the bat that any opener with a slight tinge of aggression is, even today, seen being referred to as the next Sehwag.
One cricketer who drew instant comparison with Sehwag thanks to her incredible power-hitting ability was Harmanpreet Kaur and the Punjab-born batter is still widely considered as one of the most dangerous hitters of the ball in women’s cricket. And, in a recent conversation with Harsha Bhogle on a Cricbuzz chat show, Harmanpreet admitted something that many, from day one, suspected was the case - the Indian T20I skipper said that growing up as a child, she idolized Sehwag.
“I used to copy his shots while batting at the ground. His cut shot was so lethal, the ball would go for a boundary or a six if he was offered width. I prepared myself accordingly for my game. He might not know this but I practiced a lot because of him, it was my dream to become like him,” Harmanpreet told Harsha Bhogle in Cricbuzz’s ‘In Conversation’.
“So when kids come to me and tell me they want to become like me, I can feel that because I have gone through the same journey. I get happiness in helping them in any manner because when I was going through these things, I was clueless about where I wanted to go but I was determined to play.”
Harmanpreet, who made the world take notice of her through an unbeaten 171 she hit in the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup, also shed light on the humility of the Nawab of Nazafgarh. The Indian T20I skipper said that she had once reached out to Sehwag in order to get clarity about her own game and revealed that the legendary batsman responded to her text within 2 seconds. Harmanpreet said that it was a dream come true for her to indulge in a long conversation with her idol.
“For the first time, I had written him a text which read – Sir, I want to talk to you, if you have time please talk. You won’t believe, he called back within two seconds. I was surprised as I thought he might not read the message or check it after 10 days. He called back and it did not look like he was in a hurry to answer my queries.
“He gave me plenty of time, patiently listened to all my questions, and gave me advice. My respect for him increased after that, as earlier, we used to just dream about our favourite cricketers – to meet them and take a selfie with them. But to talk to him over the phone and that too him calling back, I think it’s very rare,” the 31-year-old said.
Furthermore, the hard-hitting right-hander also went into nostalgia mode and recalled how she would get nervous before watching Sehwag bat and revealed how she would fight with her brother, who was a fan of Yuvraj Singh.
“I have always followed him (Sehwag). I was so fond of his batting that I used to be more nervous about his batting than him before every match. I and my brother used to compete. His favourite cricketer was Yuvraj Singh, Sehwag was my favourite. Whoever scored more runs, the other person was teased throughout the day. The cricketers might not even realise this but it was a different atmosphere at our place and my mother just spent her time trying to bring the fight to an end.”