Virender Sehwag, along with his distinctive model of batsmanship, has advanced and grown into probably the most feared attacking batsmen in modern cricket.
LABELLED a one-day cricketer when he started his profession for India, Virender Sehwag is now the primary Indian to crack the 300-run barrier. The story of the person from Najafgarh, one of many rustic outposts of Delhi, has been a exceptional one.
“Viru,” as Sehwag is affectionately referred to as by his team-mates, has along with his distinctive model of batsmanship, advanced and grown into probably the most feared attacking batsmen in modern cricket.
India made historical past in Multan on April 1 by profitable its first Check match on Pakistani soil, and Sehwag’s phenomenal 375-ball 309 arrange the epoch-making innings-and-52-run win. The Delhi batsman, who took flight in an historic city of tombs, forts, Sufi saints and bustling marketplaces, dismissed Shoaib Akhtar and Co. ruthlessly to the distant corners of the luxurious inexperienced Multan Cricket Stadium – the pitch was brown and bald although – as he lower free within the first Check between India and Pakistan in Pakistan in 14 years.
It was at Lord’s in 2002 that Sehwag was first thrust into the opening slot in Assessments, and at the moment it was regarded as yet one more short-term transfer. However he responded with an attacking 84. He went on to attain 106 on a seaming pitch in Nottingham, and his rollicking journey had begun.
Sehwag himself has indicated on multiple event that he’s extra snug within the center order, and it was at No. 6 that he rattled up a 105 on his Check debut in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 2001. However then the lacklustre early type of Shiv Sundar Das on the tour of England compelled the crew administration to push him to open the innings, together with first Wasim Jaffer after which Sanjay Bangar.
The actual fact that there have been no vacancies within the center order, comprising Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman and Sourav Ganguly, and the keenness of the crew administration to incorporate a batsman with such an superior stroke-making capacity as Sehwag within the eleven may additionally have prompted it to advertise Sehwag within the batting order.
Speak to Sehwag concerning the changes a batsman has to make vis-a-vis the pitch and the situations, and he’ll shortly inform you that they arrive naturally to him. There isn’t any acutely aware effort on his half to make alterations to his model.
Sehwag is a pure, who depends on reflexes, intuition and timing, and has not, regardless of criticism, modified his strategies. As was seen throughout his record-breaking innings in Multan, Sehwag does not likely get behind the road of the pacemen.
Quite, he tends to make a motion in the direction of the leg-stump, create extra room to strike the ball on the off-side, and chooses to play beside the road of the ball, invariably sending the sphere crashing to the fence within the arc between level and canopy.
This method has its limitations and if Sehwag is examined in Check cricket with short-pitched balls across the rib-cage space, delivered by a genuinely fast right-arm paceman working around the wicket, he might be cramped, and his scoring choices lower quick. Nonetheless, it’s by no means simple to maintain this mode of assault for lengthy durations of time.
The truth that Sehwag is predominantly a back-foot participant means that he ought to alter properly to pitches with bounce, and he did get pleasure from an impressive collection in Australia this season, with 464 runs from fours Assessments at a median of 58.
Amongst his innings was a strokeful 195 within the Melbourne Check, through which he handled an Aussie assault, which included Brett Lee, with disdain. He repeatedly drilled holes within the discipline placements earlier than being taken within the deep in the course of the closing levels of the day.
After his heroics in Multan, Sehwag is now solely the fourth batsman from the subcontinent with a triple century in Assessments, the others being Hanif Mohammed, Sanath Jayasuriya and Inzamam-ul-Haq. It is a particular gathering.
Actually, when Sehwag achieved the feat, he grew to become solely the 18th batsman in Check historical past to attain 300 runs, and the primary to take action in an India-Pakistan collection. He’s additionally the quickest Asian to achieve a Check double century, going through solely 222 balls within the course of.
The benefit of getting an aggressive opener can’t be understated. When Sehwag will get cracking, punishing the slightest errors in width or course, the bowlers typically swap from an aggressive mode to a defensive one, and this takes the stress off the opposite batsmen. His footwork in opposition to pacemen is proscribed, however Sehwag is fast to elucidate that it really works for him. Towards the quickest of bowlers, he would wait on the back-foot and shrewdly use the tempo of the ball; that is mirrored within the variety of sixes Sehwag has struck over level, with the batsman doing nothing greater than offering course to the bouncing deliveries. Not surprisingly, it was from one such stroke that Sehwag bought to his hundred in Multan as Akhtar watched in dismay. Sehwag, acutely aware of his dismissal on the Melbourne Cricket Floor whereas on the doorstep of a double hundred, was extraordinarily circumspect on 199, however he jumped previous 300 by clouting off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq over mid-wicket on the second day afternoon.
Quickly he raised his arms in triumph, was hugged by his illustrious non-striker and idol Sachin Tendulkar – the 2 had been concerned in a document Indian third-wicket stand of 336 – and it was a second of nice sporting splendour.
Sehwag modelled his batting, at the least a few of the strokes, like driving down the bottom and hitting over the bowlers’ head, on Tendulkar. To a easy boy rising up in Najafgarh, Tendulkar was an inspiration. Now he had made a significant batting breakthrough for Indian cricket, and Tendulkar was on the different finish. Later, Sehwag would say, “Having him so shut once I reached the landmark was a pleasant feeling.”
Additionally applauding from the balcony was captain Sourav Ganguly, sitting out of the match with a again damage. He had backed Sehwag by the thick and the skinny, had been there to information him at vital junctures of his profession, and now he had watched him play an impressive Check innings. Stand-in captain Rahul Dravid too, as Sehwag revealed, had all the time inspired him to play his pure sport.
Throughout his monumental knock, Sehwag surpassed V.V.S. Laxman’s epic 281 on the Eden Gardens, the earlier highest particular person Check rating by an Indian. Given the scenario it was constructed in, the sheer high quality of the trouble, the depth within the Aussie assault, and the affect it had on the match and the collection, Laxman’s masterpiece in Kolkata will all the time get pleasure from satisfaction of place among the many immortal innings performed by Indians.
So would Sunil Gavaskar’s masterful 221 on the Oval in 1979, which enabled India orchestrate a stirring however in the end futile chase within the fourth innings of the Check.
And who can miss Rahul Dravid’s splendidly compiled 233 in Adelaide, the place he was rock strong in opposition to the tempo and fury of Lee and Jason Gillespie. India gained its first Check in Australia after 24 years, and Dravid, along with his marathon effort, had performed a significant position.
These had been classics.
Sehwag had Matthew Hayden’s world document of 380 properly in sight, and had he stayed on the crease for an hour extra – given the tempo of his run-making – the opener would have been inside hanging distance of the Aussie’s mark. However, he’s not the sort to brood over misses; he can be proud of what he has earned. His calm exterior and quite pragmatic methods on the crease allow him to deal with stress conditions properly.
Although his Multan effort was not blemishless – he may have been dismissed 4 instances throughout his tenure – Sehwag confirmed he may focus for lengthy durations and progress from session to session.
The dasher has a high-quality Check document with 1,822 runs (earlier than the Lahore Check) from 21 Assessments at a median of 53.58, sprinkled with six three-figure knocks. He has one century every in South Africa, England and Australia.
Sehwag’s away document of 54.50 is extraordinarily wholesome, and he’s evolving as a batsman, going about his job with higher confidence. His repertoire on the leg-side is rising, as is evident from the rousing flicks he essays nowadays.
Although Sehwag’s innings was a significant contribution, and Tendulkar’s 33rd Check century invaluable – fortunately from an Indian perspective, the controversy over Dravid’s declaration with Tendulkar on 194 has blown over – the Indian bowlers deserve credit score for bowling Pakistan out twice on a pitch the place other than a component of double bounce on the fourth day there weren’t many issues for the batsmen. Left-arm paceman Irfan Pathan bowled splendidly proper by, pitching the ball in the correct areas and infrequently offering the Pakistani batsmen width. Anil Kumble, although getting back from a shoulder damage and wanting match apply, operated with exemplary management to run by the Pakistani second innings with six wickets.
Dravid led the aspect properly on the sphere, utilizing the non-regular bowlers properly, setting attacking fields and by no means permitting the stress on the Pakistani batsmen to ease. And the Indians had sufficient causes to sing and dance ultimately.