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Sehwag Warne's choice

Virender Sehwag was facing Pakistan's medium-fast bowler Abdul Razzaq, who was reverse-swinging the ball, and the way the Indian handled him is narrated in an interesting story in Australia's legendary spinner Shane Warne's just released book.

"Sehwag came up to (his batting mate Jeremy) Snape and said: 'we must lose this ball. I have a plan'. Next over he whacked the ball clean out of the ground, forcing umpires to pick another from the box that would obviously not reverse straight away. To which Sehwag said: 'We are alright for one hour.' Smart I say."

Sehwag and Snape were batting for English county Leicestershire against Middlesex when Razzaq started reverse swinging the ball in the way that the Pakistani bowlers do, Warne wrote in his book Shane Warne's Century and attributed the "great story" to Snape, who told it to him during their Indian Premier League days.

The Australian believes Sehwag's style was unmatched in the world and worked for him more than any other batsman with the same approach.

"Sehwag is one of my favourite batsmen in world cricket and one of my favourite personalities. This is a guy I would pay to watch. Alright, he could get caught at third man to a big slash or a top edge in the first or second over, but he could just as easily bat for an hour in a way unmatched by anybody else in the world.

"You can take pot luck with Sehwag, although the fact that he averages more than 50 in Test cricket shows that his style pays off for him more often than it does for most other batsmen with the same approach," Warne wrote about the only triple-centurion India has produced.

Warne, who led young underdogs Rajasthan Royals to the title win in the inaugural IPL season, feels it was worth even having an out-of-form Sehwag in the team.

"If I was his captain, I would look to pump him up at every opportunity, reminding him that he is a match winner... It is worth paying the price for the little mistakes for the times when he absolutely destroys the opposition and wins you a game," he said.

Despite some similarities, Warne felt it was unfair to compare Sehwag with Sachin Tendulkar, whom the Delhi batsman idolises.

"Comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar are unfair... Take him (Tendulkar) for what he is. Take Sehwag for what he is as well," he said and added "Their opening partnership in one-day cricket was usually worth the admission fee alone."

A self pro-claimed Tendulkar fan, Warne has now documented his feelings for the Indian, saying "Cricket has been fortunate to have a wonderful player and a first-rate ambassador, and to me he plays the game in right spirit..."

Warne also did not feel that being Tendulkar, it was imperative for the batting maestro to score in every innings.

"He doesn't score runs every innings, of course, but he hasn't suffered long troughs of poor form at any time in his career... the papers would praise him but also blame him sometimes if his innings did not win matches, as though he was responsible for the rest of the side -- what a joke that is.

The spin wizard also felt that Tendulkar should not be pestered to leave the game earlier than he wanted to, owing to factors like form and age.

"All good things come to an end, and we should make sure we really appreciate Tendulkar whilst he is around and playing well. We will all miss him when he is not around anymore!"

Warne also praised "hot-headed" off-spinner Harbhajan Singh as an "exceptional talent" but felt the Indian should have got stringent punishment than he got for abusing Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test.

"He may not have a fan club in Australia after recent incidents with Andrew Symonds, but he is still the kind of exciting player spectators want to watch. I thought he handled the situation in Australia last year pretty badly and should have been punished more than he was," he said.