On his 37th birthday, cricketer Virender Sehwag announced his retirement from international cricket and the Indian Premier League.
“I have always done what I felt was right and not what conformists thought to be right. God has been kind and I have done what I wanted to do — on the field and in my life. And I had decided some time back that I will retire on my 37th birthday. So today, while I spend my day with my family, I hereby announce my retirement from all forms of International Cricket and from the Indian Premier League,” Sehwag said in a statement.
In a glorious international career spanning 14 years, Sehwag played 104 Tests and 251 ODIs. But it is his strike-rate that set him apart from his contemporaries. A strike-rate of 82.23 in Tests and 104.33 in ODIs is what earned him the title of one of the most destructive opening batsman who managed to carve a niche for himself in the Sachin Tendulkar era.
In all, Sehwag scored 8,586 runs in Tests with an average of 49.34 in which he hit 23 centuries and 32 half-centuries.
The cricketer form Najafgarh in Delhi remembered his journey to the top and he thanked his teammates for their support.
“Cricket has been my life and continues to be so. Playing for India was a memorable journey and I tried to make it more memorable for my team mates and the Indian cricket fans. I believe that I was reasonably successful in doing so….I wish to thank all my team mates over the years – some of the greatest players of the game. I would like to thank all my captains who believed in me and backed me to the hilt. I also thank our greatest partner, the Indian cricket fan, for all the love, support and memories,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag is rare batsman to have scored two triple centuries in Tests. He is also the only Indian to have scored two triple centuries in Tests. Sehwag’s moment of fame came in 2004 when he slammed 309 runs against Pakistan in Multan that earned him the title of ‘Sultan of Multan’. This made him the only Indian to have scored a triple ton in cricket history in 2004.
Sehwag’s career-best score came in 2008 where he slammed the the fastest triple century in the world. Sehwag scored 319 off just 287 balls against South Africa in Chennai.
Sehwag also notched up six double centuries in his 11-year-old Test career.
In his first Test against South Africa, Sehwag scored a brilliant ton while batting at number 6. Sehwag’s 220-run fifth-wicket partnership with Sachin (155) got him the world’s spotlight.
In 251 ODIs that he played, Sehwag accumulated 8273 runs with an average of 35.05 and scored 15 centuries and another 38 half centuries. In 19 T20 international matches, Sehwag managed to score 394 runs with two half centuries.
Sehwag was also part of two World Cup winning teams under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy. Sehwag was part of the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and the ICC ODI World Cup 2011 in India.
Sehwag’s decision to retire came a day after he signed up to play Masters Champions League 2020 next year, where only retired cricketers can play. The launch ceremony of veterans’ 2020 league took place in Dubai on Monday.
The cricketing world paid glorious tributes to Sehwag.
“Didn’t see Viv Richards bat in person but I can proudly say I have witnessed Virender Sehwag tearing apart the best bowling attacks,” Dhoni tweeted.
“Pleasure to have played with you @virendersehwag bhai. What an amazing career. Thanks for the guidance and the memories. Modern day legend!” Virat Kohli said in praise of Sehwag.