An advocate of the "see-ball-hit-ball" school of cricket, Virender Sehwag was a nightmare for the bowlers with a willow in his hand. On his day, little did he care about the conditions, ground or the reputation of the bowler and his biggest strength was reducing batting to its bare essentials. Sehwag's quick wit and devil-may-care attitude have never been a secret.
The former Indian batsman was one of the liveliest characters on the pitch, be it whistling while fielding in the slips or humming Kishore Kumar songs to maintain his concentration while batting. He single-handedly revolutionised the role of the opener in Test cricket while also being instrumental in attracting crowds to watch the game.
Scoring at an unbelievable strike rate of 82.23, he made 8586 runs in the 104 Test matches he played, he terrorised the bowlers for more than a decade with his aggressive style of batting in the longer format of the game.
The ‘Sultan of Multan’, as he was fondly called by his fans, was an out-and-out entertainer during his playing days. Whenever he walked out with a bat in his hands, the crowd was assured of some high voltage action as boundaries would rain and runs would flow. The destructive opener, who quit international cricket last year on his birthday (20th October), has not stopped entertaining fans off the field.
Here we bring some of the incidents from his playing days and a couple of his recent tweets to prove the same.
#1 When he hit a six off Saqlain Mushtaq’s bowling to reach his maiden Test triple
During the first match of India’s tour of Pakistan (March 28-April 1, 2004), Sehwag scored his career’s first triple century. He was accompanied with the batting great, Sachin Tendulkar, who told him, “If you try to hit a six I will hit you on the bum.”
Tendulkar backed his advice with an example of his innings at Melbourne in 2003, where he tried to hit a six on 195 and got out in the process. India were in a strong position at that time, but after the fall of Sehwag’s wicket, the Indian innings crumbled and they failed to put a big score, eventually losing the match.
This whole conversation calmed the explosive opener down and he refrained from hitting sixes until he reached 295.
When he reached 295 runs, he was about to become the first Indian batsman to hit a triple century in history and Sachin was aware of the same so he went to Sehwag to have another little chat:
Sachin: “Tu six nahi marega.” (You will not hit a six.)
Sehwag: “Agar Saqlain Mushtaq ball karne aaya to main six jaroor marunga.” (If Saqlain Mushtaq comes to bowl this over then I'll definitely hit a six)
Well, he did come to bowl and the right-hander hit him for a six and in the process became the first Indian to score 300 runs in Test cricket.
This was also the last match of Mushtaq’s career as he never donned Pakistan’s jersey after that.
#2 Sehwag trolls Akhtar’s dream team by pointing out that they never won against India in World Cups
The Delhi opener used to literally toy with Pakistan’s bowling during his playing days. He had scored a total of 1276 runs in the 9 matches that he played against them with an unbelievable average of 91.14 and strike rate of 80.20.
The master of hand-eye coordination has carried his batting form and style into the commentary room and the same has reflected in his tweets as well. He particularly turned into a nightmare for the Pakistan speedster when he accompanied him for commentary during the World T20 this year.
Things have reached a point where it seems something is wrong if Sehwag doesn't pull Akhtar's leg for too many days at a stretch.
The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ posted a photo of the great Pakistani team on Twitter, the one he had been a part of during his early playing days. The team consisted of greats like Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Waqar Younis.
Dream team .. Full of talent and characters ..1 of the best Pak team I ever played with.. pic.twitter.com/urSxhNuAFx— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) May 27, 2016
Sehwag was quick to point out the fact that this legendary line up never succeeded to break India’s winning streak against them in the World Cup. The streak at this moment stands at 11-0 and Sehwag was well aware of that.
Very good team Shoaib Bhai, many legends ,but still couldn't beat India in any World Cup.Still searching for Mauka— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) May 28, 2016
#3 Another Sehwag-Akthar episode
Shoaib Akhtar has been at the receiving end of Sehwag’s explosive innings more than once. In a match against Pakistan, ‘The Nawab of Najafgarh’ was batting along with Sachin Tendulkar and the Pakistan pacer had run out of his bag of tricks against him.
So he decided to provoke him to play a rash shot by coming around the wicket and giving the Delhi-lad a taste of some chin music with his bouncers.
After every ball, the speedster would say,
Shoaib: “Hook maar ke dikha na, Hook maar ke dikha na.” (Hook it if you can, hook it if you can.)
This whole persuasion irritated Sehwag so he finally retaliated,
Sehwag: “Yeh bowling kar raha hai ya bheekh maang raha hai?” (Is he bowling or is he begging?)
Something that cracked up even the Pakistani fielders who were unable to control their laughter. After some time the former Indian opener realised that the pacer was going to stick with his tactics, so he went up to the speedster and said,
Sehwag: “Wo tera baap khada hai non-striker end pe, usko bol woh maar ke dikhayega.” (Your father is standing at the non-striker’s end, ask him, he’ll show you how to hit it.)
The person at the non-striker end was Sachin Tendulkar himself. The speedster later bowled a similar bouncer to Sachin, and Sachin hooked it for a six. After the six, Sehwag went to Akthar and said,
Sehwag: “Baap baap hota hai, beta beta hota hai.” (Don’t try to out-wit your father.)
The lavish opener himself narrated the same story to Shah Rukh Khan at an award function.
#4 Sehwag asks Michael Clarke (pup) about his breed
During one of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy match in Australia, Sachin Tendulkar had just come out of injury and was struggling to get going.
Australian middle-order batsman, Michael Clarke, who was fielding close to the striker's end was continuously taking a jibe at the master. He went up to Sachin and said: "You're becoming too old for this mate. I think you need to go."
Sachin ignored the sledging and remained undistracted, however, Sehwag who was at the non-striker's end, went up to Clarke and told him to mind his own business and not to mess with the master. Clarke paid no attention to him and continued with his ranting.
When this whole scenario became unbearable for Sehwag, he walked up to Clarke and asked: "How old are you?"
Michael Clarke replied: “Mate, 23"
Sehwag: "Do you know he has more hundreds than your age! If you want to abuse someone, see that he is at least of your age or experience ."
Even this failed to stop Clarke and finally an irritated Sehwag decided to call an end to all this.
Sehwag asked, "Your teammates call you pup, right?”
Clarke replied, "Ya Mate."
Viru retorted, "Which Breed?"
The Aussie remained subdued for the rest of the match.
#5 The destructive opener sends one out of the park to counter reverse swing
This particular incident happened when Virender Sehwag was playing for the English county team Leicestershire. The Padma Shree awardee was batting with the number 8 batsman, Jeremy Snape.
They were facing Abdul Razzaq, who had already scalped two of their batsmen in the match. Bowling with an old ball, he was generating huge reverse swing, so much that the balls that started on the off-stump tailed back into the middle and leg stump.
They still had about 40 overs left in the day and it almost seemed impossible for them to survive against that kind of reverse swing.
Snape went to Sehwag and said, "This guy's making a mockery out of us. I can hardly see the ball coming. You've got to do something."
The always witty Sehwag had something in mind, something that only he could come up with. He replied "Okay. I've got a plan."
So when Razzaq bowled the next ball, Sehwag danced down the pitch and smacked the ball clean out of the stadium. The umpires had a look at each other and decided to take a new ball.
Following the incident, Sehwag walked to Snape and said, "The new ball won't swing for some time. We are safe for another two hours."