By CricketCountry Staff
The full transcript of Virender Sehwag’s retirement message reads as a love letter to everyone who ever helped him.

Virender Sehwag. Photo: WICB

Virender Sehwag. Photo: WICB

In a follow-up to last night’s confusion (Virender Sehwag retires; Virender Sehwag denies claims of retirement; Virender Sehwag says he will announce retirement once he is back in India), Virender Sehwag finally announced retirement from international cricket and Indian Premier League (IPL), which probably means he will continue to play First-Class cricket. He has clearly mentioned that he had decided some time back that he would announce his retirement on his 37th birthday — on October 20, 2015. With his maverick batting style, Sehwag had attracted millions of fans across the world, and it will not be an exaggeration to claim that he changed the entire idea of batting at the top in Test cricket.

Sehwag finished with 8,586 runs from 104 Tests with 23 hundreds and 32 fifties. He averaged 49.34, but more significantly, his strike rate read a phenomenal 82.2. He has the three highest scores among Indians (319, 309, and 293), and is the only one after Don Bradman to cross the 250-mark four times. His penchant for big scores made him one of the most feared batsmen in contemporary cricket. He also claimed 40 wickets with his off-breaks at a modest 47.35 including a five-wicket haul against Australia. Selected for ICC World XI for the Super Series Test of 2005, Sehwag top-scored in the first innings with an 82-ball 76 with 14 fours.

From 251 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) he slammed 8,273 runs at 35.05 and a strike rate of 104.3 with 15 hundreds and 38 fifties. These include a 219 against West Indies — at that time the highest score in ODI history and the only ODI double-hundred by any captain. His 96 wickets came at 40.13, and his economy rate of 5.26 was impressive for a change bowler. He also had 394 runs from 19 T20 Internationals at 21.88 (and a strike rate of 145.4) with two fifties. He was a member of the World T20-winning team of 2007 and the World Cup-winning team of 2011.

Below is the complete transcript of the Virender Sehwag’s farewell message.

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of my retirement yesterday was exaggerated! However, I have always done what I felt was right and not what conformists thought to be right. God has been kind and I have done what I wanted to do — on the field and in my life and I had decided some time back that I will retire on my 37th birthday. So today, while I spend my day with my family, I hereby announce my retirement from all forms of International Cricket and from the Indian Premier League.

“Cricket has been my life and continues to be so. Playing for India was a memorable journey and I tried to make it more memorable for my team mates and the Indian cricket fans. I believe that I was reasonably successful in doing so. For that, I wish to thank all my team mates over the years — some of the greatest players of the game. I would like to thank all my Captains who believed in me and supported me to the hilt. I also thank our greatest partner, the Indian cricket fan for all the love, support and memories.

“I have also played against a lot of great players and it was an absolute pleasure and honour to do so. It was possibly the greatest motivation there was to play to the best of my ability. I have lived my dream and played at the finest of cricket grounds across the globe and I want to thank the groundsmen, clubs, associations and everyone who painstakingly prepare the arena for our performances.

“I miss my father today, he was there when the journey started and I wish he could have been there today as well but I know I made him proud and wherever he is today, he is watching me with pride. I want to thank my coach, Mr. A. N. Sharma sir who was possibly the only coach who could have groomed me into the player that I became, I would probably have struggled to play for my school under any other coach. My mother, my wife Aarti and my children Aryavir and Vedant are my biggest strength and their presence in my life keeps my mind without fear and head held high.

“I would like to thank the BCCI for all its support over the years. The work that the BCCI does at such a scale is phenomenal and it has had some fine administrators over the years who have led the Board in developing the game, appreciating the contribution of players and have brought a lot to benefit to the players.

“I would also like to thank the Delhi and District Cricket Association and particularly Mr. Arun Jaitley who always supported me and sought our feedback and implemented what the players wanted and his presence ensured that I always had someone to rely upon personally and for the furtherance of the game’s best interest in Delhi.

“I would like to thank everyone at the Haryana Cricket Association who have welcomed me with so much love and affection and it is really exciting to work with some really talented youngsters. I would especially like to thank Chaudhary Ranbir Singh Mahendra who has always had words of motivation for me during the toughest of times and I have felt safe in the knowledge that I can always turn to him for well-considered advice which I value immensely.

“I would also like to thank the Delhi Daredevils and the Kings XI Punjab, the franchisees that I represented, for believing in me and letting me be a part of them. I always gave my best for the team and consider myself fortunate to play with some brilliant players in the IPL.

“I would also like to the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). Very little is known about the effort they put in to promote sportsmen and sportswomen across various disciplines. ONGC gave me the security to pursue my game and the organization will always have a place in my heart.

“I must also add that I have enjoyed every Press Conference and every interaction with the members of the media throughout my international career and the presence of Indian media on foreign tours has left some very pleasant memories that I shall always cherish.

“I want to thank all my sponsors for believing in me and all the bat manufacturers that have been associated with me over the years for providing me the willow that I love.

“I want to tell everyone at the Sehwag International School, Jhajjar that I now hope to have a higher frequency of visits to the campus to be with you all.

“I also want to thank everyone for all the cricketing advice given to me over the years and apologize for not accepting most of it! I had a reason for not following it; I did it my way!”
(Virender Sehwag)

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