“There are two kinds of batsman in the world. First there is Sachin Tendulkar, and second all others”. This famous quote by the former Zimbabwe legend Andy Flower speaks volumes about Sachin Tendulkar and the amount of respect opposition players had for the ‘Little Master’.
Entering the international arena at a tender age of 16, Sachin Tendulkar made headlines ever since he was a kid. His record partnership for his school Shradhyashram Vidyamandir with his childhood friend Vinod Kambli is still etched in golden letters 28 years since. The partnership was the highest at any form of cricket for any wicket till very recently.
During the first phase of his career, Sachin was a dasher who used to dominate bowlers at will, spanking them all around the park. He was a nightmare for bowlers and it was more evident from the words spoken by the world’s greatest spinner Shane Warne.
He revealed having nightmares of Sachin dancing down the track and hitting him back over the head for a six. The tennis elbow injury did curb his natural instincts to a certain extent but he had new ways to dominate the bowlers. From a warrior at the battlefield, he evolved as a philosopher, who was just as deadly.
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He almost had each and every shot in the cricketing book up his sleeve but there were some certain shots which yielded him more runs than others. His trademark straight drive, flick and his leg glance were simply a class apart. Waqar Younis had said that Sachin could play the leg glance even with a walking stick in hand. Later on in his career, he played many more innovative shots and among them which stood apart was the improvised square cut and the upper cut.
Virender Sehwag made his Test debut against South Africa at Bloemfontein in the year 2001, almost 12 years after Sachin’s arrival and from his very first innings he looked a clone of the Master Blaster. His cover drives, punches and square cuts strikingly resembled that of the legend. Viru’s batting style, build and appearance were similar to that of Sachin and he acknowledged many times that he consciously wanted to model his batting style on Tendulkar’s, in his youth.
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His daredevil attitude set him apart from other greats. Despite zero footwork he was immensely successful at the Test level, more than ODIs. He revolutionised Test batting and is considered one of the greatest ever Test openers to have played the game.
Here we bring you five shots that Sachin and Sehwag almost executed in a similar fashion:
#1 Upper Cut
Sachin Tendulkar started playing this shot in the latter half of his career and had two kinds of upper cuts up his sleeve. One was when he slashed the ball over point for a six and the other he would simply guide the ball off a fast bowler over the slip cordons for a four or a six.
His slash over the point region against Shoaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup game at Durban is still fresh in everyone’s memory. The first time when I remember him executing the upper cut over the slip cordons was against Australia in Perth. The bowler was Brett Lee and he simply looked bemused with the shot that the master executed. He followed it up with two identical shots in the preceding tri-series against Mitchell Johnson.
Virender Sehwag is one such batsman who is known to pulverise any bowling attack on his given day and one shot which he seldom plays which yields him most number of runs is the upper cut. Though the execution is a bit different from Sachin’s, it is as effective. The slash over the point region has been the most productive area of scoring for Sehwag but it has also brought about his downfall.
The six off Waqar Younis in the 2003 World Cup was just out of the ordinary. With one hand out of the handle, he still managed to slash it over the point region for a monstrous six. Throughout his career, this shot has got better and better and he had also helped the ball over the slip cordon for a six on numerous occasions.
Pepsi’s “Change the Game” campaign for the 2011 ICC World Cup got the Sehwag special upper cut as a game-changing shot and named it the “Upar cut” which in Hindi means upper cut essentially.