Virender Sehwag: A batsman of a different breed
‘See the ball. Hit the ball.’
This was his simple mantra and his approach to batting. It might be the first ball of the match or the last ball of the day. He might be nearing a milestone or he might have just crossed one. But, if the ball was there to be hit, then he would send it crashing to the boundary.
Virender Sehwag was a man who provided a fresh approach to batting. Conventional wisdom would tell a batsman to give the first hour to the bowler, but then, Sehwag was different. His intent was to dominate. He did not wait to get his ‘eye in’. He was of a different breed. Sehwag was not the most gifted batsman in terms of technique, but he compensated for it with his hand eye co-ordination and his attitude to batting.
Also see – IPL Players List
Many who saw him for the first time in the international arena way back in 2001 might have been convinced that Sehwag was a one series wonder. Many would have thought that his lack of footwork would prove to be his undoing. But then, in a career that lasted more than a decade, he established himself as one of the greatest openers that India has ever produced. And, he has the numbers to back the claim. He played 104 Tests for India, and scored 8586 runs, and he did it at a whopping strike rate of 82.33. Sehwag featured in 251 ODI’s for his country and scored 8273 runs, and he scored them at a strike rate of 104.34. Always more than a run-a-ball.
Till date, Sehwag is the only Indian batsman to have scored two triple centuries in Tests, and is one of the three Indian batsmen to have scored a double century in ODI cricket. He represented India in three World Cups, and formed a formidable opening pair at the top of the order along with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
There are several Sehwag innings’ that stand out and will be etched in the annals of time. His 195 at Melbourne was a classic that will be savoured for a long time. In a classic display of riveting batsman ship, Sehwag took the attack to the mighty Australians at the iconic MCG. His triple century against arch-rivals Pakistan at Multan as a watershed moment in Indian cricket. No Indian batsman had breached the three hundred run mark in Tests before, and Sehwag did it in style, by hoisting Saqlain Mushtaq for a six over deep midwicket.
Indian cricket can never produce another genius like Tendulkar, they can never produce another artist like Laxman, they can never produce another architect like Dravid. On the same lines, they can never produce another batsman who had the nonchalant swagger like Sehwag.
He retired from the game in the year 2015, as encroaching age had finally caught up with him, and his reflexes were on the wane. He could not cross the fifty run mark in his last 9 innings in Test cricket, and was dropped from the side. Four years have passed since his retirement, but his legacy lives on. Sehwag was a man of a different breed, and he did things only he could. For the did it in the ‘Sehwag’ way, a way that was accessible only to him.Modified 06 Jan 2020, 16:44 IST