Everywhere around the cricket world, in schools and gullies, in club cricket and in first class cricket – you can always find one player who is intent on hitting the cover off every ball he faces. More often than not, he will score a quick 30 or 40 before getting out. Once in a while, he may score big; but everyone would agree that he will never be as good as his team-mate, who is less flashy but more consistent.
Then there is Virender Sehwag.
When Sehwag started playing first class cricket, no doubt he would have heard countless words of advice – tighten your technique, respect the good deliveries, don’t take unnecessary risks. To his credit, Sehwag kept true to his natural game and followed a simple mantra.
See ball. Hit ball.
Some days, it would result in a catch to the keeper or slip cordon. Critics would pile on him for being irresponsible and careless. It didn’t matter to Sehwag; because most days, those same shots would get him runs. It takes a brave man to shut out the dissenting noises and just channel his incredible self belief in playing the way he does; and his records speak for themselves.
Double hundreds and triple hundreds in Test cricket; and now, a double hundred in ODIs.
Here’s what he had to say after the incredible 219 against West Indies in Indore:
“Never dreamt of it. I told Gauti if we showed a little patience we could a big one. But I was never expecting a double century. It’s a true time, you can play all your shots. When I decided I wanted to hit a six, I went and did it with a straight bat. I know people expected me to score a double-century, so thanks to them. And thanks to my family. I had said earlier that the top order was not contributing, and it was my job. Never changed my batting through this innings. I just told my self that I needed to bat through the Batting Powerplay, and I would get the double hundred. When Sammy dropped my chance, I knew God was with me. I am tired, yes, I am an old man now.”
He may be getting old, but Virender Sehwag doesn’t look like he is going to adjust his game anytime soon; and for that an entire cricket world is grateful.
- Gambhir and Sehwag seemed to have learned their lessons, in the second innings; but I won’t be too sure unless I see them again on another day of tough conditions.
- Dravid is in the same stage as Ponting is. Some days, he will score big centuries, but most of the time, he is going to score painstaking 30s and 40s. A sad final phase of a glorious career.
- Tendulkar created a new record. Yawn.
- Laxman had a rare twin failure; but Raina’s continuing dip in form and confidence might warrant trying Pujara for the next test.
- It’s good to see the return of the original Dhoni when batting. This is the kind of batting that suits him, and he needs to play his natural game every time.
- As expected, Harbhajan barely had any effect. Will be surprised, if that changes anytime soon.
- Sreesanth and Sharma were huge disappointments. Looks like Zaheer is turning out to be the ‘Tendulkar of 90s’ for the bowlers. Without him, the pace attack is very unreliable.
- Unadkat seems to be a decent prospect, but there is no doubt, that he is too raw right now.
- Smith, Amla and de Villiers – all played characteristic innings. It is hard to envision India getting through these bats easily, for the rest of the series.
- It is one of the strangest piece of stats, that Kallis scored his first double century in his 242nd innings. Even Jason Gilliespie got a double before him!
- Tsotsobe and Harris were the supporting acts, and they played their parts to perfection.
- Steyn and Morkel – they have won the first round. Can the Indians tame them, next time around?
At times like these, words fail. I fell in love with this game, because of this man. So, at this special milestone of his, I just want to share my favorite centuries of his, through pictures, courtesy Cricinfo.
Carry on, little master!