Top 10 most memorable moments of Virender Sehwag
Sehwag is one of India’s most loved cricketersThe biggest reason behind the fan following of any sport is undoubtedly the amount of entertainment it provides. More the entertainment, more are the number of fans. This theory holds true in the game of cricket as well, which is proved by the modern affinity towards T20 cricket which is a pocket-sized spectacle as opposed to the five-day affair of Test cricket.As the game has evolved, the focus has shifted towards seeing batsmen hitting the bowlers all around the park instead of watching an even battle between bat and ball. One of the earliest exponents of aggressive batting was the legendary Sir Viv Richards. His very presence at the crease meant that the bowlers would soon go on a leather hunt, and he proved that the batsmen could dictate the flow of the game.The prospect of a single batsman changing the flow of the game was infectious, and almost every team began to use it as a guideline. Over the years, batsmen trying to be aggressive succeeded and failed in equal measure, and it wasn’t until the 1996 World Cup when Sanath Jayasuriya revolutionized the role of the opening batsman, and the game was changed forever.Cricket has seen its share of quick-scoring batsmen come and go – Jayasuriya, Gilchrist, Afridi and Gayle among others, but perhaps nobody has reshaped the modern game like India’s maverick Virender Sehwag.After several good performances for Delhi in the late 90s, Sehwag was picked for the tour to Pakistan in 1999. After disappointment in his first match, he made a strong comeback against Australia. In August 2001, he hit a 69-ball century against Sri Lanka in ODIs, and later in the year, scored 105 on debut against South Africa on Test debut.These knocks cemented his place in the side, and he continued to score heavily and win matches single-handedly for India. He broke several records during the course of his illustrious career, breaching the 300-run mark not once, but twice. Sehwag made an astonishing eleven consecutive centuries beyond the 150-run mark, which surpassed the record held by the great Don Bradman.India has never had an entertainer like Virender Sehwag, and they will be hard-pressed to find another in the future. While Sehwag has given us plenty of enjoyable moments in the past, he is set to announce his retirement from international cricket within the next few days.So let’s take a look at ten of the most memorable moments from Virender Sehwag’s illustrious career:
#1 195 vs Australia at Melbourne, 2003
Going into the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar series in 2003, India were leading 1-0 and had a realistic chance of winning their first ever Test series in Australia. On the back of a famous victory at home in 2001, India were looking to overcome the mighty Aussies in their own backyard.
But playing at the MCG was always going to be tough and India chose to bat first. India’s openers – Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag – had both got off to good starts in the series, but had failed to make it count. The onus was on them to give India a good start and get a grip on the game.
After surviving a run-out chance early, Sehwag played watchfully for the first hour, especially against Nathan Bracken. Once the new ball started to lose its shine, Sehwag shifted gears. The floodgates opened in the 20th over, which saw Sehwag hitting Bracken for two boundaries.
Spin was introduced soon after, and Stuart McGill’s second ball disappeared for a six over extra cover. Ricky Ponting switched his bowlers around, but Sehwag was in his zone. McGill’s second over went for two boundaries, which prompted Ponting to bring in Brett Lee. Even he was not given any respite, as Sehwag drove, cut and slashed to his fifty on the stroke of lunch.
His hundred came off just 64 balls, and in typical Sehwag style, he hit a boundary on 99. If Australia thought that he would go slowly from there on, they were solely mistaken. Sehwag showed the full range of his shots as the sixes began to fly, even after the loss of two quick wickets.
After reaching his century, Sehwag scored 92 more runs off 89 balls, giving the Aussies no respite. From 189, he moved on to 195 with a six. He tried to repeat the stroke to reach his double-century but was caught on the boundary, ending a spectacular innings.
India went on to lose the match, thanks to a lacklustre performance in the second innings, but Sehwag’s innings will always be remembered as the one which frustrated the mighty Australians at home, something few batsmen have ever done. It is still the highest score by an Indian at the MCG.