Former Indian batsman Virendra Sehwag is regarded as one of the best batsmen of all time. The opener had ruled the bowlers in his time with his dynamic batting style. Sehwag, along with his batting style, garnered a lot of appreciation for giving back to any bowler with bat and words as well.
However, in his recent interview, the talismanic batsman revealed that once he gifted Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf with branded watches and shoes and jokingly asked to deliver a verdict in his favour. Sehwag revealed, “Asad Rauf was very fond of collecting things. He loved wearing branded glasses, t-shirts, shoes among other things. I was the brand ambassador of Adidas at the time, so I gifted him shoes, t-shirts, and glasses and I jokingly told him not to raise his finger while I am batting.”
Adding further, Sehwag revealed that Rauf was overwhelmed with his gesture due to which he didn’t give him out despite getting a thick edge on Mitchell Johnson’s over. He said, “We were playing against Australia in Mohali in 2008 – the same match where VVS Laxman got us over the line. Mitchell Johnson bowled a short-pitch delivery and I attempted a cut shot but ended up edging it. So the edge was so thick that it was heard even inside the dressing room but Rauf gave me not out.”
The former opener also revealed how Rauf’s decision angered Ricky Ponting and the Australian got indulged in an argument with Sehwag and Asad Rauf. “Ricky Ponting argued with Rahuf that how he could give it not out. The umpire told him that there was no edge. Ponting then asked ‘Did you nick it?’ I said ‘Yes’. He then went back to Asad Rauf and told him ‘even Viru is saying he nicked it. Then they both came up to me and Rauf asked me ‘Did you nick it?’ to which I said ‘No’.
Notably, Rauf was a member of the ICC Elite Umpire Panel from 2006 to 2013 and was later banned by the world cricket governing body for his involvement in spot-fixing.