Former Indian opener Virendar Sehwag was widely regarded as one of the most destructive batsmen in the history of the game. Sehwag was an aggressive right-handed batsman and was a part time off spinner. Sehwag never cared about the format of the game as he always used to play at a high strike rate.
Sehwag holds multiple records, one of which is the highest individual score by an Indian in the longest format of the game. He also holds the record of the fastest triple century in test cricket.
Because of his aggressive style of play, many thought that the Haryana based cricketer was only made for limited overs game and would never fit into red ball format. But he proved every critic wrong and established himself as one of the best openers of all time.
Apart from his batting skills, Sehwag was also good at influencing the match officials either by sweet words or applying some other means.
During an interview, Sehwag revealed that in the 2008 Mohali test against Australia, he gifted former Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf branded shoes, glasses and t-shirts and convinced him to take decisions on to not raise a finger against him.
“Asad Rauf was very fond of collecting things. He loved wearing branded glasses, t-shirts, shoes among other things. I was the brand ambassador of Adidas at the time, so I gifted him shoes, t-shirts, and glasses and I jokingly told him not to raise his finger while I am batting”, Sehwag revealed.
While batting on 80s Sehwag edged a short-pitched delivery off Mitchell Johnson’s bowling but the former Pakistani umpire did not raise his finger. At that time there was no DRS technology in India so Sehwag remained ‘NOT OUT’.
“And he did exactly that. We were playing against Australia in Mohali in 2008 – the same match where VVS Laxman got us over the line. Mitchell Johnson bowled a short-pitch delivery and I attempted a cut shot but ended up edging it. So thick was the edge that it was heard even inside the dressing room but Rauf gave me not out”, he added.
He also revealed how he tried to trick Ricky Ponting when he appealed for Sehwag’s wicket.
“Ricky Ponting was so angry that he went to the umpire and argued how he could give it not out. The umpire told him that there was no edge. Ponting then rushed to me and asked ‘Did you nick it?’ I said ‘Yes’. He then went back to Asad Rauf and told him ‘even Viru is saying he nicked it’. Then they both came up to me and Rauf asked me ‘Did you nick it?’ to which I said ‘No’.”
“Ponting then started arguing with me ‘you just said you nicked it’. Then I told him “Mr Ponting you never walked and you’re expecting somebody else to walk. I told him that the umpire has a job to do, let him do his job and you do yours and I’ll do mine.”
Sehwag said that the edge was so thick that even the players sitting in the dressing room could hear it.
Though Sehwag said that he jokingly said those things to the umpire but Rauf did take it seriously. However, both very lucky enough that they did not get any punishment from ICC.
Asad Rauf was the member of the ICC Elite Umpire Panel from 2006 to 2013. Rauf also officiated in several high-profile matches. But later the Pakistani umpire was banned by ICC for his involvement in spot fixing.