Vivian Richards feels Virender Sehwag still has a lot to offer Indian cricket, but needs to plan his innings better to score big runs more consistently.
Richards, who is the brand ambassador and advisor of Delhi Daredevils, gave Sehwag a morale boost saying the Indian opener, currently sidelined from the national team due to an acute shortage of runs, still has a lot to provide to Team India.
In a recent interview, Richards said: "We all know that Sehwag is a magnificent player. What has happened to him can happen to the best of players. But I will always have him in my team."
Richards made a massive impact on the Delhi team upon his arrival in India. Words of advice from the Caribbean legend helped Sehwag gain confidence, as the Delhi opener smashed a quickfire 57-ball 95 to help Daredevils upset Mumbai Indians by nine wickets and register their first win of Indian Premier League 2013.
Sehwag was quick to thank Richards, revealing how the 61-year-old former master blaster had taught him to "bluff" the opposition bowlers even if he is out of form.
Interestingly, veteran journalist Ayaz Memon remembers Richards, a mercurial Antiguan whose mental strength often put the best of bowlers off track.
Memon recounts a "bluffing" incident in an article in the Deccan Chronicle as follows: "The story goes that during Packer's World Series Cricket, Aussie paceman Len Pascoe bowled a snorter which almost knocked Richards's head off. He then walked up to the batsman and feigned a sign of the cross on his head. If Richards was flustered, he didn't show it. On the contrary, he stopped Pascoe in his run-up next delivery, walked up to the bowler and drew a cross on his head this time. But this was no simple tit-for-tat."
Memon continues: "The next ball was hit out of the park for six! From a sports psychology point of view, bluff and bluster are effective antidotes, to pressure and crises, of confidence. Most contests in sport can be reduced to a clash of personalities and who blinks first. But this only works if the player concerned has unimpeachable ability: like Richards or Sehwag."
Richards now wants Sehwag to follow Gayle, whose "responsible" approach to batting has impressed even the purists like Sunil Gavaskar and Dean Jones. Like Gayle, Sehwag wants to hit sixes, but Richards advises caution as well.
"When I mean you bluff the opposition, it's about changing your approach a little bit. Gayle loves to hit sixes from the first ball but there are times when he waits for a certain period of time before attacking.
"I want Viru to do that. Take a few singles and stay there. Because when players like Gayle and Sehwag stay for a longer period of time, the bowling side starts sweating a little. They are apprehensive about when these guys will have a go," Richards said.
"It's like driving. When you see a red light, you have got to stop and wait. Again when you see the green light, you set your foot on the pedal and accelerate," added Richards.
On a lighter note, Richards has been in awe of Gayle's fabulous form. When asked to react on Gayle's world record 175 not out earlier this week, Richards told NDTV: "Just give spectators helmets to wear."