Saturday, August 21, 2010
As I sit on a looong cross country flight with nothing to do till I land in San Fran, I thought it would be apt time to pen a blog on one of my favorite cricketers..Somebody that has redefined the word rebel.
In an era where hundreds are scored everyday at the Sinhalese Sports club, with Mahela achieving a stupendous 2 tons every week and Samaraweera contributing a generous 3, Virender "Viru" Sehwag comes across as a breath of fresh air.
The pitch, the bowler, the crowds are all taken out of the equation..Agreed, bats have more wood now and pitches are made for bullies, but seeing Viru bat, the mind boggles..How can someone be so carefree, especially in a country like ours where every move of a celebrity is scrutinized every second...
It is almost as if Sehwag is spared...As if he is given a license by the mad media ready for "Sansanikhez khabar" like Sachin Tendulkar having a sore throat, or Shah Rukh Khan skipping lunch and repleneshing himself with Gatorade.
Haven't heard media persons call many Sehwag shots "reckless"..This liberty isnt given to many, but honestly, Sehwag has shut mouths...
When all your adrenaline rush fizzes out (Not Sehwag's..He seemingly has adrenaline supply for life), you realize there is a method to this madness..You cannot dominate attacks all over the world with a mad max like, almost arrogant strokeplay and a supposedly non-existent textbook technique..
Sehwag has always been an entertainer/dasher..On a green top in Bloemfontein in November 2001, Ntini and Pollock were making the ball talk, yet it was almost
impossible to seperate the novice from the veteran(A veteran who can hold a bat, by the way!!)..The frame was the same, the strokes oozed the same audacity...Agreed,its a bit exaggerated, but you get the point...
I can't help but point out a decision that changed Sehwag's life..Who else, but our adorable Dada could have made that decision...
Dada was never himself going to face up to the new ball(No chance in hell!), but his shrewdness told him that on wet English pitches, if his loose cannon fires off, the cat would be set amongst the pigeons..That hundred at Trent Bridge wasn't Sehwag's best, but it gave him self belief and touchwood, that hasn't changed till date..
The odd rush of blood apart, he settled in to the role perfectly...Another turning point was his discussion with Sunil Gavaskar in December 2003.India had
come off a superb upset win, beating the Aussies at the Adelaide Oval, thanks to a man-of-the-match performance by that hardworking, mortal-genius from Bangalore..
Sehwag and Chopra went up to Sunny and he told them about the starts they were squandering, thereby letting the team down..He opined "Give the first hour to the bowlers, the other five will be yours"...
Almost as if to impress their Sunny bhai, the two Delhites followed Sunny's word to the T...The first hour was one of total respect for the bowlers..
Sehwag is funny..He was almost waiting for the clock to tick..The same ball that was defended in the first hour, was now being dispatched with disdain..He would have had a riposte ready "Sunny bhai, ek ghanta beeth gaya"..
Observe his batting closely and you will find that whenever Gavaskar has existed within Sehwag in the first one hour, he has scored big. The Multan 309, the Chennai 319, none of them were slam-bang from ball one..
The innings that defines Sehwag is however, that 293 at the Brabourne Stadium...It was almost as if he wanted to welcome cricket at Brabourne after so many years..
Surely, the oldies wouldn't have seen this kind of audacity at a place that was the cradle of Indian cricket in the 70s...
Sehwag has now added a totally new dimension to test cricket..There are certain games that India can win only if Sehwag erases the deficit at his pace..
Take for instance, the 387 chase at Chennai..SRT and Yuvraj were amazing on Day 5, but that 83 off 67 balls on the evening of Day 4 was divine..Let this be clear, only HE could have done something like that..And he did..
I want to touch up on Sehwag's average one day/t20 record some other time, but test cricket is what makes a cricketer..21 hundreds in 79 test matches, playing like "that" is something else..I bet nobody would have put money on it in 2001.
U gotta be kidding me...U don't average 54 in test cricket with a strike rate of 81, while making massive, gargantuan scores..You just don't,unless you are Sehwag..
It has given me immense pleasure watching the great man from Dilli for 9 years now..
Here's hoping his mind remains as uncluttered as ever and that the genius of Viru Paa boggles my mind further..