SK Elite Virender Sehwag 293: When 'Hulk' Sehwag hit Sri Lanka with his 'Thunderclap'
In the superhero universe, Dr Bruce Banner is a genius in nuclear physics.
He possesses a mind so brilliant that it cannot be measured by any intelligence test known to humans.
Interestingly, when Banner's alter ego takes over, he metamorphosises into 'The Hulk'.'The strongest one there is' knows no limitations when it comes to strength and increases proportionally with his level of great emotional stress, anger in particular.
The Hulk possesses the ability to slam his hands together and create a shock wave so strong that can deafen people, send objects flying and extinguish fires.
His 'Thunderclap' has been compared to hurricanes and sonic booms.
Fearlessness, the courage to take risks, strong moral code, motivation, and commitment are the virtues that make up the Hulk's DNA.
If we were to find a human equivalent of the 'World Breaker', the 'Record Breaker' Virender Sehwag would be the closest fit.
Sehwag, a non-conformist at heart, could not care less about the mannerisms associated with the game of cricket.
Nonchalant, eccentric and swaggerish, Sehwag's batting was a true reflection of his personality.
Without a care in the world, Sehwag would take on the most potent bowling attacks in the world and 'smash' them like the Hulk.
Blessed with strong reflexes, an incredible hand-to-eye coordination and devil-may-care attitude, Sehwag, with the willow in his hand, would make bowlers tremble with fear.
The man who revolutionised the opener's role gave some rollicking starts to India that are still fixed in the minds of Indian cricket fanatics.
In a 2009 Test match, Sehwag produced one such crackerjack of an innings to hit hapless Sri Lanka with his 'Thunderclap'.Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and opted to bat at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. Riding on Tillakaratne Dilshan's 109 and Angelo Mathews' 99, the visitors posted 393 on the board.
Murali Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman got their respective fifties and skipper MS Dhoni was not out on 100 when India declared the innings on 726 for 9.However, it was the Nawab of Najafgarh's 'so close, yet so far' innings of 293 that took the centre stage.
With two triple-centuries already under his belt, Sehwag was on the verge of a record-breaking trilogy.There was nothing like the 'nervous 90s' for a man who reached 300 with a six.
Sehwag was the first man in 127 years of Test cricket history to do so before he was emulated by Sangakkara in 2014.
Batting on 295, Sehwag became the 'Sultan of Multan', when he smashed Saqlain Mushtaq for a maximum in a 2004 Test match against Pakistan.
Nonetheless, Sehwag was a mercurial batsman, to say the least.
Whenever you thought he was in for a major haul, he would throw away his wicket by playing the most innocuous shots.
A billion heartbeats stopped for a moment as Sehwag miscued a drive off Muttiah Muralitharan, who fumbled once before taking the heart-breaking catch on Day 3 of the third Test.No player in the history of the game has scored three triple centuries, not even Don Bradman or Brian Lara.
Talking about the ecstasy and agony of 293, Sehwag's thrill-a-minute innings fell seven runs short of the world record but India won the match by an innings and 24 runs. India got the number one tag, Sehwag the architect was smiling away in the background!
Courtesy of the innings that came off just 254 balls with 40 fours and seven sixes, Sehwag was adjudged the Player of the Match and Series.
He also became the third fastest Indian to score 6,000 Test runs after Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.A vital cog to India’s win in the three-match Test series, Sehwag created records for the most double-centuries by an Indian, the most runs by an Indian in a day and became the second-highest scorer of 250-plus scores.
In his 11-year career, Sehwag scored 8586 Test runs at an average of 49.34 and smashed 23 centuries.
His two triple tons arrived against Pakistan in Multan (309), and South Africa in Chennai (319).
These figures are mighty impressive even before you consider the thrilling manner of their compilation.
The man who did not believe in caution, was on par with the best in the world, as far as the batting prowess is concerned. Graham Gooch, one of England’s greatest openers, who has seen decades of cricket for free, once said, "I’d pay to watch Virender Sehwag bat".
Sehwag, who had the ability to thrill and disappoint in equal measure, lived a life of no regrets.
The man, who epitomises the carefree spirit of cricket, believes, "One should always be happy, irrespective of what you achieve in a match or in life. That's how I live my life."
Known for his tongue-in-cheek humour off the field, Sehwag would transfigure himself into 'The Hulk' on the field to take the world by storm.
Yet, from growing up in the bylanes of Najafgarh to becoming a world beater, the modus operandi of Virender Sehwag has remained black and white: if the ball is there to be hit, you hit it.