Former India opener Virender Sehwag will deliver the seventh Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture on January 12.
The veteran of 374 international appearances for India, Sehwag has confirmed his availability to Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly.
Sachin Tendulkar was reportedly the first choice for the BCCI’s annual event. Since he was not available due to a busy travel schedule, Ganguly had approached Sehwag. Both Ganguly and Sehwag have confirmed the development to national daily The Hindu.
“Sehwag will be delivering the lecture,” Ganguly had told the daily, while Sehwag had responded with the message “Yes, I have confirmed to Dada”.
The inaugural Pataudi Memorial Lecture, an annual event launched in honour of the former India captain, was delivered by Sunil Gavaskar in 2013. Ever since, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Farokh Engineer have had to honour of delivering the keynote address at the event.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been the only overseas player to deliver the MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture as he was picked for the occasion in 2018.
“It has been envisaged as a forum for a speaker from across the world to share his thoughts on the glorious game, as a way to help evolve it further. The audience will comprise like-minded individuals and other key stakeholders of the sport,” the BCCI had stated in the Press release to announce the annual event.
The BCCI had decided to start the memorial lecture after Pataudi’s wife and Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore had written to the then board president N Srinivasan. She had criticised the BCCI for delaying the decision to institute the lecture.
She had also requested that the 2012 India-England cricket series be named after Pataudi. But the BCCI at that time had expressed its inability to do so since the series had already been named the Anthony De Mello Trophy to honour the first BCCI secretary.
However, when the lecturer was finally introduced none of the Pataudi family member could attend the inaugural event as Sharmila was reportedly unwell, son Saif Ali Khan was busy with a film shoot and daughter Soha was travelling to promote her film.