To bat with an on-song Virender Sehwag, and that too in a crucial match where you contribute in a cause to help your team qualify for the final of a big tournament, is a dream come true for any youngster. On Friday evening, against the Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium, it was Manan Vohra’s good fortune to be part of that scenario.
The Kings XI Punjab opener was involved in a 110-run opening stand with Sehwag, as KXIP looked to set CSK a formidable target. Vohra scored 34 runs as he held up one end, and he also watched the veteran opener take apart the opposition bowling attack with panache.
After helping the Kings XI Punjab make it to their first Final of the Indian Premier League, Vohra spoke about batting alongside the sensational cricketer and also KXIP’s Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign.
Excerpts from his brief interview:
How are you feeling right now upon reaching the Final?
Seriously, can’t believe it! It’s a dream come true. At the start of the season, we were expecting that we will do well with this team, but we never thought we were going to come so far. After losing that last game, against Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings was a tough competitor for us. So, it was amazing.
What was the view like watching Virender Sehwag from close quarters?
Wonderful! I wasn’t feeling like I was playing with such a big player. He had just taken all the pressure off me. He was just hitting every ball and it was going all the way. It was only his day. He was just superb!
It was my first 100-run partnership and second 50-run partnership. He was just telling me that we have done it twice. I was lucky to have such partnership with him. How has being with him helped your game?
Being with him has boosted me a lot. He has been telling me to stay calm. At each and every stage, he asks me to watch the ball and keep playing; he says, ‘You can do it.’ He is a great support at the other end.
Is there anything about Virender Sehwag's batsmanship that you have tried to inculcate in your own?
He has a different style of playing. The way he plays, he backs himself in every game. I think I need to watch my style of playing and back myself. I have seen the way his shot selection is and I need to improve on mine. I would like to do that.
What is it like to be a part of a new set-up and KXIP's run this season? And what do you think has been the major difference this year?
I think it has been a great campaign for us. We have been gelling well together as a team – the players the support staff, the coaches, everyone. There has been a lot of support from them and it has been great.
How would you sum up your run so far this season?
I think I have been doing well for the team. My role is to give good starts to the team and I have been doing so. So, I hope in the Final I give a big start.
What has been coach Sanjay Bangar’s influence?
He is a great gentleman. He has been steady about everything and very supportive.