Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Sep 15:
“Victory of the team is always more important than the individual performance of a player,” swashbuckling India opener Virender Sehwag said on Sunday. He was speaking after inaugurating the two newly laid synthetic turfs at the Pragati Sporting Club here.
“I am much happier when I score a 40 or 50 and the team wins than when I score a double century and the team loses,” Sehwag said. He was obliquely referring to Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) president Ranjb Biswal’s speech earlier in which he had reeled off statistics about Sehwag’s incredible record in converting hundreds into double and triple hundreds.
The dashing opener said he sizes up the conditions and the situation before reaching the crease and plays with confidence from the word go. “But there are some legendary players, including Sachin Tendulkar, who are nervous while facing the first one or two deliveries after which they become a totally different players,” he said.
The discarded India opener praised the facilities available at Pragati Sporting for budding cricketers. “I wish I had similar facilities when I was growing up as a cricketer,” he said.
Sehwag took a good-natured dig at the media contingent, which was falling over one another to capture him on camera, saying; “Please be careful. You may trample over the youngsters.”
A large number of young and budding cricketers had gathered at the Pragati ground to see and hear him.
Pragati Sporting Club has recently laid two new synthetic turf wickets along with a practice pitch with nets to provide better training facilities to upcoming cricketers.
Pragati Sporting coach Kishore Mania said the synthetic turf wickets would allow cricketers to practice the year round. “Natural turf pitches suffer in bad weather. This can result in long periods of non use or poor use of the pitch. Then there is the cost of repairing and maintaining such pitches, which would be saved after the laying of the synthetic pitches,” he said.
The tufted polypropylene synthetic grass wickets, Mania said, are conducive to both pace and spin at all levels of cricket in all weather. “To enhance the facilities in the club, a bowling machine with19 variations and a maximum speed of 160 miles per hour has recently been acquired from United Kingdom,” the veteran coach said.
Among others, Chief Secretary Jugal Kishor Mahapatra, Director General of Police Prakash Mishra, Additional DGP Sanjeev Marik, Odisha Cricket Association secretary Ashirbad Behera, Tata deputy vice-president Arun Mishra, president of the Pragati Sporting , Ranjib Biswal and its secretary Nilesh Bahidar were present on the occasion.