Captaincy criticism doesn't bother Sehwag

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Virender Sehwag's captaincy in the Napier Test may have come for stinging criticism from Martin Crowe but the swashbuckling opener said he is not bothered.

Updated: April 12, 2009 16:50 IST
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New Delhi:

Virender Sehwag's captaincy in the Napier Test may have come for stinging criticism from Martin Crowe but the swashbuckling opener on Saturday said he is not unduly bothered by what others have to say about him.

With regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni skipping the second Test against New Zealand in Napier with a back injury, his deputy Sehwag led India in the match which the visitors barely managed to draw after following on.

Crowe felt Sehwag was a disaster as a captain in the match even though the former Kiwi skipper subsequently apologised for being so harsh on the Delhi opener.

Sehwag said he was not even aware of the entire episode. "I have no idea about it (Crowe's criticism). I'm hearing it from you (journalists)," Sehwag told reporters here.

"In New Zealand, neither did I watch television, nor listened to commentary or read newspapers. In fact I don't bother what others think about me. I rather concentrate on what I can do," said the nonchalant opener.

Sehwag seemed equally cold to accolades and did not sound overwhelmed after being named the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2008 by Wisden Cricket Almanac, considered the Bible of the game.

"For me, playing for my country is the greatest honour. I'm not too worried about what I'm getting from others," he said.

"I think they appreciate me because I play for my country, I see it that way," Sehwag said.

The hard-hitting right-hander also took the occasion to shower praise on his Delhi Daredevils teammate Gautam Gambhir, describing the left-hander as the best Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar.

"After Gavaskar, he is undoubtedly the best regular opener we got. I started in the middle order and then moved up to the opener's slot, so I don't consider myself a regular opener.

"But Gautam has all the virtues of a quality opener. In Test matches, he can go slow, in one dayers he can score run-a-ball and in Twenty20 matches, he can score at a faster rate. I think this is a rare talent and that makes him so special," Sehwag said at a send-off ceremony by Coca Cola for the Delhi Daredevils.

The Delhi captain reckoned IPL would not be the same this year after being shifted to South Africa and said he would miss the frenzy that surrounded the league in its inaugural season last year.

"I'll definitely miss the fans this time. In South Africa, matches will take place at day time and it would not be the same.

"Had it been here, getting passes for people I know would have been a trouble but still I would have managed that," he quipped.

Gambhir, who won the Man of the Series in New Zealand, said his career took an upswing after India's 2007 Twenty20 World Cup triumph and he just wanted to continue the momentum.

"Since the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup, a lot has changed for me and I just hope the trend continues.

"The New Zealand tour was pretty crucial for me. It was my first tour outside the sub-continent and meant a lot. Fortunately I did well too," he said.

"Now I have IPL and then the Twenty20 World Cup. I'm hitting the ball well and I just want to go out and enjoy myself," added the pugnacious left-hander.

His Delhi Daredevils teammate Amit Mishra was also present on the occasion and the leg-spinner said he would try to better his last year's performance in the IPL.

"I reckon the pitches in South Africa would have some turn and bounce as well and I'm looking forward to doing better than last year," said the leggie who recorded IPL's second hat-trick last year against the Deccan Chargers.

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