Sehwag’s blitzkrieg

Virender Sehwag… an uncomplicated approach.-K.R. DEEPAK

The Delhi opener really amazes everyone with his approach and ironically for one who was considered too flashy for an opener in Test cricket, he has done more than enough to re-establish the fact that it is not always a disadvantage to be unconventional.

Team India has achieved its goal of becoming the No.1 Test team after their emphatic victory against the Sri Lankans. Quite obviously, it is a momentous occasion and amidst all the euphoria, it was heartening to hear Dhoni say that their real work lies ahead in order to retain the top slot. The Indians managed to pick up 20 wickets in Kanpur and Mumbai with just four bowlers and full credit must be given to the medium pacers Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth for delivering the goods. However, the highlight of the series was the swashbuckling innings of Sehwag at the Brabourne Stadium for not only was it entertaining, it also set India up nicely to force a win. The Delhi opener really amazes everyone with his approach and ironically for one who was considered too flashy for an opener in Test cricket, he has done more than enough to re-establish the fact that it is not always a disadvantage to be unconventional.

Sehwag knocked the daylights out of the Sri Lankans in Mumbai with his ruthless onslaught and scoring at a rate of four in a Test match is something that even the best of batsmen dream about. But such is the clarity of Sehwag’s thinking that he just does not let anything affect him.

The people who were at the stadium to watch the match were really the blessed ones as his innings was one of daring, unbridled aggression. It impressed even the puritans. Of course, there were quite a few cheeky shots along the line, but on the whole his innings contained a lot of clean hits. The only problem was that he reckoned that he only punished the loose deliveries!! Come on Viru, any bowler who has nearly 800 wickets in Test cricket cannot be dishing out loose deliveries on such a frequent basis. His statement is born out of modesty but he probably does not realise the extent to which he tormented the bowlers with his brand of aggression. Besides, he was also guilty of misleading the public at large as his approach made many wonder if it was a Test or a T20 match. His blitzkrieg left even the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan just bowling and hoping that Sehwag would get out on his own. Unfortunately, Sehwag got out without completing his triple century. But there again it did not really matter to him simply because his logic was that he could have got out for less!! This simple mindset is what has made him the match winner that he is and once again he has underlined the fact that his aggressive approach is critical for India’s success in Test cricket.

The Sehwag strike overshadowed many other performances in the Test and surely, not many might remember either Dhoni’s hundred or Vijay’s classy innings. Dhoni’s hundred came at a stage when India was well and truly on top, but Vijay’s effort would have probably been remembered for a while but for Viru’s brilliance.

Vijay was on a tricky wicket in the sense that an opportunity came as a result of providence and a failure would have been viewed very seriously. In a way it was a no win situation for Vijay as even a good score would relegate him to the reserves once Gambhir was available. But the pleasing fact was that the stylish opener made his mark with a fluent half century and more than the runs, it was the manner in which he made them that impressed one and all. Some of his shots exuded class and his timing was exquisite right through his innings.

He is a batsman of the classical mould and it is unfortunate that he is not likely to get a string of opportunities in the immediate future especially when he is in good touch. However, he has no other option but to bide his time and has to be content with the fact that he will be in the scheme of things as far as Test cricket is concerned.

Not only would Vijay be content about being the third opener for the time being, but he would not forget the entertainment that Sehwag provided from the other end. I am sure that many would have given their right arm to be out in the middle with Sehwag when he was in such tremendous form. In a way, it would have been very difficult for Vijay to restrain himself and not try to match Sehwag. Then of course, when someone like a Sehwag or a Viv Richards happens to be one’s partner the best course of action is to just watch and enjoy the spectacle. It will be a trifle foolhardy to try and emulate Sehwag, as he is one of a kind and no matter how hard anyone tries it will be losing battle, as eventually, the Delhi dasher will end up overshadowing his colleagues without any apparent effort.

Scoring four double and two triple centuries with a strike rate in excess of 100 and making it look as easy as shelling peas is something that not many can do, isn’t it?