Expect the Unexpected from Sehwag
In his decade-long career, Sehwag proved five times that form is temporary, class is permanent. Virender Sehwag is one of the most destructive batsmen India ever produced. The cricket world salutes him for the sheer entertainment and making cricket an exciting game
‘Modern-day’s legend’ Virender Sehwag has retired from cricket. He has rewritten the art of playing cricket in desi technique. Without proper technique, he has been a consistent opener batsman in all the three formats of game. Sheer hand-eye coordination and impeccable balance while batting or hitting the ball out of the park has been his commensurate skill which is something adorable forever. After Sanath Jayasuriya used tremendous energy and dexterity in the opening order of one-day international matches, Shewag not only used it in ODIs with great elevation but also successfully applied it in Test matches, which was itself revolution in the history of cricket.
World cricket has seen players like Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Don Bradman but there was one key illustration of his personality that has been a fashionable adage: Sehwag is playing like Mini-Tendulkar, Mini-Richards, Mini-Bradman, whose walking and batting style are mixture of the above three. This is how cricket fans used to sum up Sehwag. Virender Sehwag (319, 309, 293) and Don Bradman (334, 304, 299*) are the only two batsmen to make three scores of 290+ in Test cricket! This is also a key illustration of his career. Sehwag did not flinch even for a moment before coming down the wicket and audacious Sehwag hit the six over deep mid-wicket and reached 300 runs in a style in Multan. Before that he got out in the same fashion when he was playing at 195 at MCG (2003) but he didn’t fear to repeat it in Multan. Sachin Tendulkar once said: “I have to learn from Virender Sehwag how to play in nervous 90’s.” No other Indian batsman before Sehwag had shown such temerity. These small stats give us a clear picture of how he dominated in Test matches. Mini-(Any one of the three above-mentioned legend) would be perfect sobriquet for Sehwag.
Sehwag’s retirement brought the curtain down on a glorious chapter in Indian cricket. A group of supremely skilful batsmen, called the ‘Fab 5’, took Indian cricket to unprecedented heights.
The members of this celebrated, and now revered, group were Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag. These men gave wings to the imagination of the Indian cricket fan, enthralled connoisseur’s world over, brought dignity and grace to the sport and gave us fond memories to last a lifetime.
Seldom in cricket history, has such brilliance come together in one team. If one has to look for similar quality in one line-up, the mind goes to the feared pace battery of West Indies in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the Caribbeans used to field Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner with the likes of Colin Croft and Sylvester Clarke waiting in the wings.
The ‘Fab 5’ earned great respect for Indian cricket and renown for themselves for the way they were on and off the field. Tendulkar remains the biggest cricketer ever in terms of brand value and impact.
Ganguly, now a leading cricket administrator, was a consummate general who gave belief to the Indian team and began the process which culminated in India gaining No. 1 spot in Test cricket and winning the World Cup in 2011.
Dravid, for many the best Indian Test batsman ever, is one of the most respected modern cricketers for not only his exploits on the field, but also as a statesman who has given a lot back to the game.
Laxman has been hailed as one of the most elegant batsmen of modern times and a gentleman cricketer who everyone loved.Sehwag was the odd man out in the group with his ‘desi’ background which he, of course, was most comfortable with. In fact, it was his untutored mind which let him play and live the way he has. He has little patience for things socially and politically correct. It showed in the outrageously effective way he batted.
The stats tell the tale of their monumental achievements. But these men are worth much more than the numbers. They have been wonderful ambassadors of the game. The added value to the sport they were part of and left the fans with many stories grand kids will be hearing in times to come.
‘Fab 5,’ you will be missed.
While the reasons for the stupendous victory against Pakistan in the World Cup 2011 semi-final were manifold and variegated, the central axes around which this victory revolved were Sehwag’s quick 38 runs in 25 balls. Tendulkar was the highest scorer with 85 runs in the match and struggled a lot with almost five catches of him were dropped. As soon as Sehwag got out Mohali wicket became unplayable. Batsmen were struggling but when Sehwag was playing, it looked like altogether a different wicket. That was the magic of Sehwag. Harsha Bhogle joked at that time: Pitch report should be twice in the match, first before Sehwag batting and second after Sehwag batting.
His hard hitting shots and consistent batting style in all three formats captivated cricket fans towards him. He could even forget the format of the game he is playing. In the longer format of the match players tend to settle down, but he would become more and more aggressive. Imagine if he bats for full two days in a Test match what will happen? A volcano will erupt and bowlers would be at his mercy at the end. Anil Kumble once said: “Most people first settle down and then hit a six, but Sehwag first hits a six and then settles down.” Hard hitting batting style made fans to compare him with Sir Viv Richards. Audacious, fearless and uncluttered mind are the true soul of his batting.
In his decade-long career, he proved five times that form is temporary, class is permanent. Virender Sehwag one of the most destructive batsmen that India ever produced. The cricket world salutes him for the sheer entertainment and making cricket an exciting game.
By Sanjya K Bissoyi
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