In a recent interaction, Virender Sehwag revealed how former Indian captains Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar had approached some of the men’s cricket team’s mainstays to play the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) back in 2007. At the time, India were fresh off their triumph at the maiden T20 World Cup, and the 20-over format was relatively new.
The first auction took place in February 2008, but Sehwag, one of the most valuable players at the time, as well as others in the Indian contingent, learned about it during the 2007/08 tour of Australia.
“I can never forget the day we were briefed for the first time,” Sehwag said on a Star Sports show. “We were in Australia. Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri approached us and said that there is this thing called the Indian Premier League that is going to happen and they were asking us to give them all our rights.”
It was the two stalwarts who would go on to explain what the IPL would be like, and the senior members of the Indian team put their faith in that explanation. “They made sure that we understand that it is going to become a very big league in the future,” Sehwag added. “Whatever rights you give to this league, you will be earning far more than what you are now.”
“The money was a secondary factor of course, but at the time we never imagined that it would become such a big platform where new players will get chances and they will end up replacing us.”
Being the explosive white-ball opener for India that he was, Sehwag became a hit at the IPL. While he never won the franchise tournament, he was picked up by his hometown team Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) where he was captain for the first two seasons and played for another four, before moving to Kings XI Punjab with whom he reached the final in 2014.