Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq credits Virender Sehwag for changing Indian cricket's mindset with his style of play. Sehwag, who is the only Indian batsman with two triple centuries in Tests scored at impressive strike-rates of 82.23 in Tests, 104.33 in One-Day Internationals (ODI) and 145.38 in T20 Internationals (T20I) in his 12-year career.
"Keep in mind that the impact Virender Sehwag had on the world, the style in which he played, the brand of cricket he played, a lot of players from India benefitted from it. The manner of batting he showed the world, changed Indian cricket's mindset and that of its cricketers," Saqlain said on his YouTube channel.
Comparing Sehwag with Rohit Sharma, Saqlain feels that while the latter has a better record, it would not have been possible without the template set by the former India opener.
"Sehwag lifted the bar and showed the way with his self-belief. Sehwag scored a double century in ODIs so players believed it could happen, like Rohit Sharma. In fact, Rohit must have learnt a lot watching Sehwag bat," Saqlain, who is credited with the invention of 'Doosra' said.
"Rohit's stats may look prettier than Sehwag but Viru had a role behind it. He played for himself, the country and changed the thinking of the players that came after him. Before him, only 1-2 players like Sir Viv who used to play that brand of cricket in ODIs and ruled over the world, and Zaheer Abbas. They ruled the world and similarly, Sehwag also dominated world cricket," he added.
In his 374 international matches, Sehwag accumulated 17,253 runs since making his debut in 2001. He also picked up 136 wickets with his part-time off-spin.