Samir Chopra December 17, 2008

Sehwag's debut

That he survived was not such a mystery
45



Somewhere out there in bittorrent land is the video of Sehwag's debut innings against South Africa in the 2001 test series. I watched that innings, live on a large screen television, at the Crown Hotel on Cleveland Street in Surry Hills, Sydney, on 3rd November 2001. This past weekend, just because I felt like reliving one of my favorite cricketing memories, I decided to view it again.

I didn't regret that decision and have played the 22-minute long video again and again reminding myself this was someone playing his first Test innings. As far as debut tons go, it is hard to imagine another innings which so definitively sounded an advance warning to the rest of the world that a bright new talent was on the world's stage.

Earlier that day I'd played cricket with my Northern Sydney team, the Centrals, and had enjoyed a good, hard day in the sun. We won our match and shortly afterwards, a friend and I were dropped back in the City center before beginning the walk back home. I knew the Test started in the late afternoon, so we decided to stop off at the Crown for a couple of beers (the atmosphere was all skank, but they had several large televisions). When I checked the score, I was taken aback. India had already slumped to 68-4, and a young debutant was batting at #6, heading out to face the music, to join Sachin Tendulkar in the middle. The partnership that followed was worth 220 runs, and it took all of 46 overs. South Africa did not know what hit them. But fans like us were equally gobsmacked.

I have one abiding memory of that evening. Which was that of sitting in the pub, still wearing my sweaty cricket whites, sore all over from bowling and fielding, drinking my cold beers, stunned by the audacity and brilliance of the Tendulkar-Sehwag partnership. It was hard to believe Sehwag was making his Test debut, hard to believe this lad was playing away from home, dealing with a collapse, and a South African pace attack, at home, in their element. That he survived was not such a mystery. The manner of his survival was the truly revelatory feature: he batted with the solidity of a Mumbai opener, the flair of a Napoleonic hussar, the power of a Bajan middle-order bat. His shot-making was precise and powerful, his demeanor utterly relaxed. He looked like someone playing his 20th Test, playing a role familiar to him.

I should have known more about Virender Sehwag; he is from Delhi, and I followed all Delhi hopefuls' careers with great interest. But all I knew about him was his reputation as a power hitter. I had thought of him as a one-day type. But this innings convinced me he was radically different. Seven years on, he's already done enough to convince me he is moving into the pantheon of Indian greats. If the Indian team had not wasted so many of his stellar efforts over the years, his place would have been assured a few years ago.

There are plenty of writers in the cricket world that love to dismiss Sehwag as a slogger, a mere stand-n-hit type. These slaves of technique, of the cold logic of the cricketing manual, of the merely conventional, are denied the pleasure of being able to appreciate this man's talent. That is their loss.

For all of us, the rest, those that enjoy the contact of bat and ball, and the changing of games' fortunes by singular talents, Viru is a delight. May he continue to entertain and astonish for years to come.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jayesh on January 19, 2009, 8:14 GMT

    I think many people dont classify him amongst the greats because he tends to make everything look simple. If suppose he scores runs after working too hard or sweating a lot, it would look as if the batsman has done a lot of work, instead he makes scoring on any kinds of pitches look damn easy.

  • jp on December 30, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    One of his unintended contributions is opposition is likely to delay a 3rd inings declaration because nobody knows what the $%^k Shewag will do (including himself I suspect). That alone might be worth the difference between a loss and a draw.

  • Mohsin Khan on December 24, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    What a wonderful batsman he is. His batting average is 51.06. He has scored 5617 runs in 114 innings in 66 test matches with the help of 15 centuries and 18 half centuries in which 11 scores are 150 or plus and then five double hundreds and then two triple hundreds. Suppose if we multiply his test matches by 2 and others factors as well then it means that in 132 test matches he may score 11234 runs in 228 innings with 30 centuries and 36 half centuries in which 150 or plus innings are 22 and 10 double hundreds and then four triple hundreds. Not necessary that he will perform in this manner, more or less anything may happen in future. The main thing is that he should only focus on his concentration as he is only 30 now and he has proved himself too much. He may become no. 1 batsman of his country although his front foot is not like a Tendulkar. Beside his centuries, his innings against Enlgand is mind blowing in which he scored 83 runs in 68 balls and provide a platform to his team.

  • S patel on December 23, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    Multan Ke Sultan.......he is the most terrific and dangerpis batsman in world currectly. Up to the time he is on the crease, he has surely done a great damage on the opponent and thus gives other teammates some opportunities to get set. BTW he is generally set for any ball since the very first over!...Got amazing skills and will surely be the greatest over the times. Go VIRU GO.....

  • Kumar on December 18, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    Viru is already a legend. He is a match winner who can change the complexion of a game in no time. He threw out the rule book, ignored the naysayers and achieved success by having confidence in himself. He is not just an entertainer on the cricket field but also an inspiration to people in all walks of life. Viru ki jitni bhi tareef kiya jai, kam hai.

  • hemanth on December 18, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    does someone remember that in the same series 2nd match I guess (the controversial one), during a post innings analysis, i recollect Sunil Gavaskar saying to Harsha Bhogle that "Just by one innings we cannot compare Sehwag to Tendulkar" he also said something in the lines of "he is not there yet to even tie tendulkar's shoe laces"... I still remember it... can cricinfo get a hand on the video to confirm...

    whaever he might say, I was, am and shall be a true fan of sehwag... just before making his one day debut against australia in 2001, he was playing a challenger series match in which he hit a 50 or 56 i guess in just 18 balls...

    may he keep this spirit going on...

  • jaspreet sandhu on December 18, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    sehwag is really a wonederful player.I want to his first test ining vedio which place can i get it?

  • Zara Khan on December 18, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    What a wonderful batsman he is. Tendency to build big hundreds is another plus point of his batting. He crossed 150 or more 11 times in 112 innings means in every 10 innings he reaches 150 or more easily. Beside this, he has transformed eleven 150 or more to five double hundreds and then into two triple hundreds. His record against all test playing nation is mind blowing except England, New Zealand and Bangladesh. He crossed 1000 or more second time in calender year in test cricket. His runs per inning is 50. After Brain Lara 51.52 runs per inning, his runs per inning is highest than any other test betsmen of current era. Although his performace has more fluctuation than others but when he is on his way, he is the most dangerous batsmen. If he will continue his this form in future also, there is possiblity that he will score twenty 150 or plus scores in 204 innings and he will cross 9 double hundred at that time also. There is possiblity of three to four triple hundreds as well.

  • Manas on December 18, 2008, 6:24 GMT

    He is the boss! The good thing is that Gautam Gambhir is also turning out to be a great attacking player, in his company. I hope they play together and Gautam becomes his true follower. In fact Sehbag is a phenomenal player in that he raised the bar of attacking play to a new height, as seen in the latest test by which he changed the course of the match. He also had his share of lean patch before, but thanks to Vengsarkar for bringing him back before the last Australia tour. He saved a match there single-handedly. Go sehbag! Go bang them over the thirdman.

  • Karan84 on December 18, 2008, 6:08 GMT

    Sehwag has been and will always be India's biggest talent. Only problem is the bearocrats and politicians don't want to believe it. He isn't the poster boy that yuvraj is or the fluent english speaking gentleman that sachin is. He is Sehwag, the one who refused a single on 199 to protect Ishant from dangerous SriLankan spinners. He is Sehwag who hammered 300 plus agaisnt arch enemies pakistan and averaged 90+ against them, only to be dropped a few yrs later for one bad series. He is the main reason why Indian opening pair have done so well of late and allowed the likes of sachin and laxman to build big innings. Sehwag is the most feared indian batsman. He is one than becomes bigger in front of a challenge and when he is batting India always has a chance(for eg. 2003 WC final) to win. He doesnt believe in draws. India need to look up to this man and notice what he has done for us. His efforts go unrecognised which must be disheartening for him. He deserves much more. Hail Viru!

  • Jayesh on January 19, 2009, 8:14 GMT

    I think many people dont classify him amongst the greats because he tends to make everything look simple. If suppose he scores runs after working too hard or sweating a lot, it would look as if the batsman has done a lot of work, instead he makes scoring on any kinds of pitches look damn easy.

  • jp on December 30, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    One of his unintended contributions is opposition is likely to delay a 3rd inings declaration because nobody knows what the $%^k Shewag will do (including himself I suspect). That alone might be worth the difference between a loss and a draw.

  • Mohsin Khan on December 24, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    What a wonderful batsman he is. His batting average is 51.06. He has scored 5617 runs in 114 innings in 66 test matches with the help of 15 centuries and 18 half centuries in which 11 scores are 150 or plus and then five double hundreds and then two triple hundreds. Suppose if we multiply his test matches by 2 and others factors as well then it means that in 132 test matches he may score 11234 runs in 228 innings with 30 centuries and 36 half centuries in which 150 or plus innings are 22 and 10 double hundreds and then four triple hundreds. Not necessary that he will perform in this manner, more or less anything may happen in future. The main thing is that he should only focus on his concentration as he is only 30 now and he has proved himself too much. He may become no. 1 batsman of his country although his front foot is not like a Tendulkar. Beside his centuries, his innings against Enlgand is mind blowing in which he scored 83 runs in 68 balls and provide a platform to his team.

  • S patel on December 23, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    Multan Ke Sultan.......he is the most terrific and dangerpis batsman in world currectly. Up to the time he is on the crease, he has surely done a great damage on the opponent and thus gives other teammates some opportunities to get set. BTW he is generally set for any ball since the very first over!...Got amazing skills and will surely be the greatest over the times. Go VIRU GO.....

  • Kumar on December 18, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    Viru is already a legend. He is a match winner who can change the complexion of a game in no time. He threw out the rule book, ignored the naysayers and achieved success by having confidence in himself. He is not just an entertainer on the cricket field but also an inspiration to people in all walks of life. Viru ki jitni bhi tareef kiya jai, kam hai.

  • hemanth on December 18, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    does someone remember that in the same series 2nd match I guess (the controversial one), during a post innings analysis, i recollect Sunil Gavaskar saying to Harsha Bhogle that "Just by one innings we cannot compare Sehwag to Tendulkar" he also said something in the lines of "he is not there yet to even tie tendulkar's shoe laces"... I still remember it... can cricinfo get a hand on the video to confirm...

    whaever he might say, I was, am and shall be a true fan of sehwag... just before making his one day debut against australia in 2001, he was playing a challenger series match in which he hit a 50 or 56 i guess in just 18 balls...

    may he keep this spirit going on...

  • jaspreet sandhu on December 18, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    sehwag is really a wonederful player.I want to his first test ining vedio which place can i get it?

  • Zara Khan on December 18, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    What a wonderful batsman he is. Tendency to build big hundreds is another plus point of his batting. He crossed 150 or more 11 times in 112 innings means in every 10 innings he reaches 150 or more easily. Beside this, he has transformed eleven 150 or more to five double hundreds and then into two triple hundreds. His record against all test playing nation is mind blowing except England, New Zealand and Bangladesh. He crossed 1000 or more second time in calender year in test cricket. His runs per inning is 50. After Brain Lara 51.52 runs per inning, his runs per inning is highest than any other test betsmen of current era. Although his performace has more fluctuation than others but when he is on his way, he is the most dangerous batsmen. If he will continue his this form in future also, there is possiblity that he will score twenty 150 or plus scores in 204 innings and he will cross 9 double hundred at that time also. There is possiblity of three to four triple hundreds as well.

  • Manas on December 18, 2008, 6:24 GMT

    He is the boss! The good thing is that Gautam Gambhir is also turning out to be a great attacking player, in his company. I hope they play together and Gautam becomes his true follower. In fact Sehbag is a phenomenal player in that he raised the bar of attacking play to a new height, as seen in the latest test by which he changed the course of the match. He also had his share of lean patch before, but thanks to Vengsarkar for bringing him back before the last Australia tour. He saved a match there single-handedly. Go sehbag! Go bang them over the thirdman.

  • Karan84 on December 18, 2008, 6:08 GMT

    Sehwag has been and will always be India's biggest talent. Only problem is the bearocrats and politicians don't want to believe it. He isn't the poster boy that yuvraj is or the fluent english speaking gentleman that sachin is. He is Sehwag, the one who refused a single on 199 to protect Ishant from dangerous SriLankan spinners. He is Sehwag who hammered 300 plus agaisnt arch enemies pakistan and averaged 90+ against them, only to be dropped a few yrs later for one bad series. He is the main reason why Indian opening pair have done so well of late and allowed the likes of sachin and laxman to build big innings. Sehwag is the most feared indian batsman. He is one than becomes bigger in front of a challenge and when he is batting India always has a chance(for eg. 2003 WC final) to win. He doesnt believe in draws. India need to look up to this man and notice what he has done for us. His efforts go unrecognised which must be disheartening for him. He deserves much more. Hail Viru!

  • Pirambi on December 18, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Viru can also be a match loser. Just to mention , his debut match, where he and the master(sachin had a strike rate of 80 that match), scored too quickly that the SA had the chance to bowl them out in the 2nd innings. the same thing happend in melbourne when he scored 195 in no time.

  • Jerry on December 18, 2008, 5:22 GMT

    I didn't see the innings myself but I did get to see him hit his maiden odi century against my kiwis :( knocked us out of the tri series final by memory. He's a class player and you got to love the fact wether he's on 94, 194 or 294 he's always keen to get to the milestone with a 6. Not many current batsmen would have the balls (and skill) to go for it.

  • Ban the books on December 18, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    The go-by-the-books lords are jus meant for that, play Book-cricket, as we do in the Geography class room in the school, Oh Boy, you bowl and the bat hits and score runs, what else u want, all the booky-thing started from observing somebody play, not the other way around, after 25 years, they will rewrite the books and techniques, and a chapter will be dedicated to Sehwag. And the beauty is the chap does not care, what anyone says, he bats and scores, he bowls and win matches, so, let the braveheart score runs and leave the book to the book-cricket boys.

  • redneck on December 18, 2008, 1:23 GMT

    i cringe when he walks out to open against australia, he like many indian cricketers seem to lift a notch when ever they play aus and sehwag can hurt the bowling team like no other on his day! i wonder what would have happened to him if he didnt get a last minute call up for the indian tour of australia last year??? quite frankly i have no idea how or why wasim jaffer was selected to play for india yet alone picked before sehwag for most of 2007???

  • KJH on December 18, 2008, 0:52 GMT

    The talent of this man is unbelievable! An average over 50 & SR of near 80 in test cricket for an opener is unheard of, and at 30 years of age he should be at, or approaching, his peak powers. I think those who criticise his lack of footwork underestimate the brilliance of his hand-eye co-ordination. Even if he does perform below average on the seaming wickets of eng, nz, sa, & aus, it is no different to the struggles of batters from those countries in sub-continent conditions. He has put India into a dominant position so many times, he will surely be one of India's greatest ever batsmen by the time he is finished. As much as I love Dravid, I can't wait to see what India achieve with an attacking #3...Sehwag, Gambhir, ?, Sachin.....what a line up!

  • safwan on December 18, 2008, 0:31 GMT

    he epitomises the triumph of natural brilliance over technique! sehwag will never be a batsman who posseses a perfect technique....yet he allready is a modern day great....based solely on his will to take on the bowlers and entertain....plus off course a great hand-eye coordination!!

  • Musings on December 18, 2008, 0:25 GMT

    Well said Samir , Sehwag is one of the greatest impact players of his time . The confidence he instills in dressing room & the fear he generates in oppositions heart is nonpareil. He is also o handy off spinner & a brilliant runner . All those big hundreds shows his remarkable fitness & mental strength. I would be glad if you could post or mail me the link to the torrent site.

  • Arjun on December 17, 2008, 23:52 GMT

    I may be biased being from Delhi, but Sehwag is undoubtedly the best Test batsman going around. Yes, even better than Sachin, who of course is incredible. The fact that Viru can score such massive (both in numbers and importance) scores in such a style is proof of his sheer brilliance.

    Good choice of pub by the way...

  • dajawabnahin on December 17, 2008, 21:53 GMT

    Where can I get this video?

  • Narsi on December 17, 2008, 19:58 GMT

    The most valuable lesson that he teaches the aspiring cricketers is "by-the-book" technique is just that by the book, not a necessity to succeed. With a good understanding of your abilities, it is you as a batsman who defines the technique.

    Yes, many a time we see that yawning gap between his pad and his bat and quite a few times bowlers have managed to exploit that gap, those have been cases of shewag being careless, not being found for want of technique.

    He is a pardox in that, he was hugely recognized as a ODI player and yet, his record and his self assertions claim he is a better test player then an ODI player. In ODI unless you give him the free charge he is bound by way too many rules that curb is natural play, there is no such in test scenario.

  • Omair Siddiqui on December 17, 2008, 18:53 GMT

    He is one of the best batsmen among his contemporaries. His batting is improving day by day. His lofty sixes and also smashing four after four are the beauty of his game. He scored 791 fours in 112 innings means 7 fours per inning which is more than any other test batsmen. This year highest runs gutter yet now with the help of one triple century and also double century in same year. Except England and New Zealand, his batting average is more than 50 against any test playing nation and he has not scored any test century against Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. His record against Pakistan is amazing with batting average is near to 100 with highest scores 309 and 254. He scored 2790 runs with help of 15 centuries means 50% weight age of centuries in 5600 runs. If he will continue batting like this, he can easily score 10,000 runs in test in coming years. For him, one more thing is that if he is on crease, he is the most dangerous batsman for any opponent.

  • RS on December 17, 2008, 17:14 GMT

    arey yaar... you could have at least linked to that torrent so we could enjoy too! :P

    I tell you... this fellow...

  • Salva on December 17, 2008, 16:51 GMT

    I do agree. It announced the arrival of the next legend from India. From now on we can build up another Fab Four, this time in the top and middle order. Viru, Gauti, Badri, Yuvi(if he can improve his batting in hostile conditions). I fee Badri is the successor to Dravid, he's got great technique, temperament and a cool clever cricketing head. Add to this mix his fielding and first class experience, he'd even better The Wall.

  • PM on December 17, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    I can imagine coaches and India's opponents talking about Viru like Maria of Sound of Music (substitute Viru for Maria): How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you find a word that means Maria? A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!

    Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her Many a thing she ought to understand But how do you make her stay And listen to all you say How do you keep a wave upon the sand

    Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

  • Aditya Mookerjee on December 17, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    Virender Sehwag, is a batsman, who defies definition. He is very aesthetically pleasing, but he is not one who admires the beauty of his batting. He can clip the delivery with delicacy, if he so desires. But if the butcher in him relishes the cuts, when he makes them, then he does not have to try, to propitiate the relish in himself. I believe, he loves to play cricket, foremost, and first. The batting comes later.

  • Chris on December 17, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    Sometimes Sehwag can be overshadowed by the likes of Tendulkar and Dravid in the Indian side. While Sehwag will not be remembered as one of the all-time greats of the game, like those two, he will certainly be remembered (and deservedly so) as one of the best players of this era.

    That said, I think his biggest flaw is his inconsistency. When he gets a hundred, he tends to make it a big one - this distorts his average slightly, masking the fact that he gets very low scores perhaps more frequently than some of the more consistent higher order batsmen.

    For Sehwag though, this isn't really a problem. India has enough depth to cover for when he fails, and if he succeeds, they're virtually assured of at least not losing the match. His best efforts are more than worth the occasional return to the pavilion, in my opinion.

  • Sumit Sahai on December 17, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    Sehwag is already the 2nd best opener India ever had, and that too only because Sunil Gavaskar's hold on that number one spot is rock solid statistically and in people's imagination. But if Sehwag continues to entrall in this manner till he retires, he might even grab the number one spot. Not bad for a makeshift opener who was tagged as an ODI thrasher and a slightly better version of Shahid Afridi in his early days.

    It is interesting to hear Boycott's views on Sehwag's technique who believes he is bit of a simpleton, but Gavaskar has been generously pointing to his strong defence, straight bat, clear thinking and shot selection. Not quite a slogger then.

    There is no doubt that by the end of his career, Sehwag will be among the best openers in the game ever, numerically as well as in public opinion.

  • lal on December 17, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    His oneday debut has been rather subdued affair.It was against pakistan in 1999 i reckon.He had a reputation of a big hitter even then.we had tried many fresh faces that series.he was out for 1 run,plumb lbw against a shoaib yorker.no sign of all the big deeds to come.Then in 2001 against australia in banglore he scored a run a ball half century and took three wickets.was the man of the match.i still remember seeing the way he played shane warne in this match ian chappel commenting that this man has future....o wat a prediction

  • Clive on December 17, 2008, 13:31 GMT

    I remember Sehwag's disapointment in the WI when he failed to score a hundred before lunch.He was in his ninties.

  • Dim on December 17, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    i must agree. what Sanath Jayasuriya promised in tests and maybe delivered at about 60%, Sehwag seems to have delivered close to 100% balance, power, and amazing hand eye co-ordination is all you need to even perform at Test level without compromising on entertainment! Although "my team" lost in Galle, it was an absolute privilege to see that Sehwag innings. Kitchen sinks weren't thrown further than on that day! Like you said Mr.Chopra, if people don't put him in their "greats" list by the time his career is over, it's their loss!

  • Abhik on December 17, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    I do believe India managed to lose that Test and the series quite convincingly after that . Having that innings as a favourite memory is typical of the Indian tendency to value the individual success over the team.

  • omar on December 17, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    i remember my cousin telling me about sehwag. he was like "india's got a new hard hitting batsman" afteer his first ODI century. i was like "like afridi?", and my cousin retorts "no way..more like imran nazir", and i was like "aaah"

  • Kaushik on December 17, 2008, 10:59 GMT

    His debut innings was simply amazing. I remember groaning when i saw the familiar position of the Indian top order tottering & struggling in SA conditions & i thought what the hell has this guy who cudnt move his feet got against these quicks. But happily he proved me completely wrong & today its a privilege to watch him bat. I dont think there is any Shewag innings that has not been enjoyable. Each & every hundred has been truly memorable be it at Sydney, Multan or Melbourne. He is the ultimate Indian match winner.

  • Jayesh on December 17, 2008, 10:16 GMT

    Before his arrival, the only player who seemed to matter was Sachin. No one could imagine anyone else surpassing him in strokeplay. This man can outdo him. Batting is not just about technical skills, it is also about a person's mental make up & general personality. If all these r taken together he does even better than Sachin. In spite of lesser technical ability he can play some strokes which even Sachin cannot. And the positivity he brings to any situation & in the dressing room is so refreshing. He was the only one who thought of a win on the 4th day, rest everyone was thinking of just a draw. How he single handedly turned the match upside down. I am sure by the time he is finished, his record would be remarkable

  • Rakesh Rawat on December 17, 2008, 10:12 GMT

    Sehwag is a unique talent with amazing hand eye coordination and power. He plays the game to enjoy it and give the ball the treatment it deservers. When normal openers will defend a ball , sehwag will smack to long on for six to the same ball.That is the confidence and attitude of the batsman. The best opener India got after Gavaskar and the most aggressive and match winning opener after Hayden. He plays to contribute to India’s win not for his records. That’s why it doesn’t matter to him if he is at 99 or 199 or at the 0 score he will given the ball the punishment it deserves. Unlike many big names in the Indian batting lineup, he never slows down his tempo or changes his approach , when nearing the milestones of 100 , 200 or 300's scores. Seeing this honesty and never fear approach, who does'nt care about his personal records, the god has been so kind to him that some times he gets many number of chances in a game. It is rightly said that fortune favors the brave and gladiator.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on December 17, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    What a wonderful player he is. He is now thirty year old and scored 5600 runs in test matches in which 150 or plus scores are 11 then five double and then two triple hundreds. His overall performance against strong teams are better like batting average is more than 50 against Australia, S. Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. His batting average is soft against England only that is 34 in 10 test matches. He has not made any hundred against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh yet now it means his hundreds are more effective as compare to others. Although he is not defensive player like Gavaskar and his footwork is not proper like Tendulkar and Gavaskar but he has an ability to score very big inning like Lara. His striking rate is near to 80 in test matches means he is a big entertainer as well.

  • Longmemory on December 17, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    Not only is Viru underestimated by many, he's not given any credit at all for pulling off something all too rare: he's a middle-order bat, one who made a century-on-debut, who was forced/converted into an opener and has made a fabulous success of it, without once either complaining about it or demanding credit for it. Given how Sehwag murders spin bowling, and the risks always inherent in opening against a new ball and fresh bowlers, I've often wondered whether in gaining Sehwag the opener we may have lost out on a middle order batsman of Bradman-esque (or at least Tendulkar-esque) brilliance. And think of the long line of Indian bats who were tried and could not cut it as openers: Dravid, Laxman, Vengsarkar, to mention just three off the top of my head. The man's modesty and uncomplicated character actually hurts him in that everyone just takes him for granted. And to think that we dropped this guy from test matches!!

  • Vivek Tuljapurkar on December 17, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Great article. I see Viru as the fourth world-class batsman that India has produced, after Sunil, Sachin, and Rahul. (It is not unreasonable to include Sourav Ganguly in that list, but in my view while he was absolutely tops in ODIs, in test cricket he was merely a very good batsman.)

    Don Bradman's batting was not known to be classically beautiful, but what is it that we remember the most about him today? 99.94. Viru has a test batting average in the same league as Sunil, Sachin, and Rahul. And he has two triple hundreds alongside Bradman and Lara - that's some company to be in. And I don't doubt for a second that he has one, or maybe even two more triple hundreds to come.

    He is easily the best among the current generation of Indian batsman (Sachin, Rahul, & co belong to the previous) and if 25 years from now he is thought of as the greatest Indian batsman ever, it won't surprise me. He is certainly capable of it.

  • keyur on December 17, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    That this year has been sehwag's best should be doubtless to anybody...he has played 3 of the greatest innings of his life in this year: 151* vs. australia 4th test in australia where he earned india a draw and showed he could play well even on 5th day, 200 and 51 vs. srilanka in galle where he smashed mendis and murali to get india a victory, and the blistering 83 he smashed in chennai to turn the test on its head in just 1 session.(this is not counting the 319 in chennai vs. sa but there were 3 other centuries in that game and just 25 odd wickets fell in 5 days so it was a flat flat pitch)

  • Raghuvansh on December 17, 2008, 7:22 GMT

    Amen!

  • Sridhar on December 17, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    Well said Samir. Sehwag is the true heir to King Viv - alone of all batsmen over the past 20 years whose aura sends a shiver down the opposition ranks. His mere presence in the crease keeps the team's confidence high. He has scored centuries( and mostly big centruries at that) in Pakistan,Srilanka,Australia & South Africa. The nay sayers - I would like to see some data presented on why you feel Sehwag does not deserve a place in not just the Indian pantheon, but in the international pantheon of greats.

  • Madan on December 17, 2008, 6:27 GMT

    My thoughts exactly, Samir. When will our holier-than-thou press stop scoffing at Sehwag for his unorthodoxy and irreverence and give him his due. Alongwith Gilchrist before him, he is the man taking batting to unheard of heights of excitement. No Indian opener since the Sunny-Chauhan days has been so consistent, I hope at least that impresses on his detractors how vital his contribution is to India's improving Test performances.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on December 17, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    Yes Samir you are right that at that time it was advance warning for whole world as he scored two triple centuries then as well, five double hundreds, +150 or more 11 times and one more thing is that his batting average is more than 50. He is only player of his current team who manage batting average more than 50 against Australia and S. Africa. Even Tendulkar and Dravid batting average is less than 40 against S. Africa. In this year he scored 1445 runs which is more than any other test batsmen this year. He scored 2790 runs in 15 test centuries means his runs per hundred is equal to 186 which is higher than any other test batsmen even more than Sir Bradman that is 185.62. His batting is becoming better and better day by day. If he will go on in this manner, he may score 10 double hundreds or three to four triple hundreds in coming years. At age of 30, he has so many records that any one can say what a wonderful batsman he is.

  • Mohammed on December 17, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    i watched that innings too and after seeing the familiar Indian collapse i was all but about to switch off the tv set and in walked this man, i thought to myself lets see what this man has got (he had just scored a breakneck century against NZ in Sri lanka) and what followed was absolute carnage. As you rightly said SA just didnt know what hit them, yea we did go on to lose that match but a champion had well and truly arrived. This man's no slogger he is a genius, not many batsmen (leave alone openers) have that kind of audacious stroke-play, yes Gilly was good but he was smacking tired bowlers, this man does it top of the order, first innings second innings turning wickets, seaming wickets, in England, in Pakistan. He is a great already and he is not done yet :-)

  • David Barry on December 17, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    I remember watching that innings. I believed for a long time afterwards that he couldn't succeed consistently at Test level because his feet were leaden.

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  • David Barry on December 17, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    I remember watching that innings. I believed for a long time afterwards that he couldn't succeed consistently at Test level because his feet were leaden.

  • Mohammed on December 17, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    i watched that innings too and after seeing the familiar Indian collapse i was all but about to switch off the tv set and in walked this man, i thought to myself lets see what this man has got (he had just scored a breakneck century against NZ in Sri lanka) and what followed was absolute carnage. As you rightly said SA just didnt know what hit them, yea we did go on to lose that match but a champion had well and truly arrived. This man's no slogger he is a genius, not many batsmen (leave alone openers) have that kind of audacious stroke-play, yes Gilly was good but he was smacking tired bowlers, this man does it top of the order, first innings second innings turning wickets, seaming wickets, in England, in Pakistan. He is a great already and he is not done yet :-)

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on December 17, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    Yes Samir you are right that at that time it was advance warning for whole world as he scored two triple centuries then as well, five double hundreds, +150 or more 11 times and one more thing is that his batting average is more than 50. He is only player of his current team who manage batting average more than 50 against Australia and S. Africa. Even Tendulkar and Dravid batting average is less than 40 against S. Africa. In this year he scored 1445 runs which is more than any other test batsmen this year. He scored 2790 runs in 15 test centuries means his runs per hundred is equal to 186 which is higher than any other test batsmen even more than Sir Bradman that is 185.62. His batting is becoming better and better day by day. If he will go on in this manner, he may score 10 double hundreds or three to four triple hundreds in coming years. At age of 30, he has so many records that any one can say what a wonderful batsman he is.

  • Madan on December 17, 2008, 6:27 GMT

    My thoughts exactly, Samir. When will our holier-than-thou press stop scoffing at Sehwag for his unorthodoxy and irreverence and give him his due. Alongwith Gilchrist before him, he is the man taking batting to unheard of heights of excitement. No Indian opener since the Sunny-Chauhan days has been so consistent, I hope at least that impresses on his detractors how vital his contribution is to India's improving Test performances.

  • Sridhar on December 17, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    Well said Samir. Sehwag is the true heir to King Viv - alone of all batsmen over the past 20 years whose aura sends a shiver down the opposition ranks. His mere presence in the crease keeps the team's confidence high. He has scored centuries( and mostly big centruries at that) in Pakistan,Srilanka,Australia & South Africa. The nay sayers - I would like to see some data presented on why you feel Sehwag does not deserve a place in not just the Indian pantheon, but in the international pantheon of greats.

  • Raghuvansh on December 17, 2008, 7:22 GMT

    Amen!

  • keyur on December 17, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    That this year has been sehwag's best should be doubtless to anybody...he has played 3 of the greatest innings of his life in this year: 151* vs. australia 4th test in australia where he earned india a draw and showed he could play well even on 5th day, 200 and 51 vs. srilanka in galle where he smashed mendis and murali to get india a victory, and the blistering 83 he smashed in chennai to turn the test on its head in just 1 session.(this is not counting the 319 in chennai vs. sa but there were 3 other centuries in that game and just 25 odd wickets fell in 5 days so it was a flat flat pitch)

  • Vivek Tuljapurkar on December 17, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Great article. I see Viru as the fourth world-class batsman that India has produced, after Sunil, Sachin, and Rahul. (It is not unreasonable to include Sourav Ganguly in that list, but in my view while he was absolutely tops in ODIs, in test cricket he was merely a very good batsman.)

    Don Bradman's batting was not known to be classically beautiful, but what is it that we remember the most about him today? 99.94. Viru has a test batting average in the same league as Sunil, Sachin, and Rahul. And he has two triple hundreds alongside Bradman and Lara - that's some company to be in. And I don't doubt for a second that he has one, or maybe even two more triple hundreds to come.

    He is easily the best among the current generation of Indian batsman (Sachin, Rahul, & co belong to the previous) and if 25 years from now he is thought of as the greatest Indian batsman ever, it won't surprise me. He is certainly capable of it.

  • Longmemory on December 17, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    Not only is Viru underestimated by many, he's not given any credit at all for pulling off something all too rare: he's a middle-order bat, one who made a century-on-debut, who was forced/converted into an opener and has made a fabulous success of it, without once either complaining about it or demanding credit for it. Given how Sehwag murders spin bowling, and the risks always inherent in opening against a new ball and fresh bowlers, I've often wondered whether in gaining Sehwag the opener we may have lost out on a middle order batsman of Bradman-esque (or at least Tendulkar-esque) brilliance. And think of the long line of Indian bats who were tried and could not cut it as openers: Dravid, Laxman, Vengsarkar, to mention just three off the top of my head. The man's modesty and uncomplicated character actually hurts him in that everyone just takes him for granted. And to think that we dropped this guy from test matches!!

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on December 17, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    What a wonderful player he is. He is now thirty year old and scored 5600 runs in test matches in which 150 or plus scores are 11 then five double and then two triple hundreds. His overall performance against strong teams are better like batting average is more than 50 against Australia, S. Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. His batting average is soft against England only that is 34 in 10 test matches. He has not made any hundred against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh yet now it means his hundreds are more effective as compare to others. Although he is not defensive player like Gavaskar and his footwork is not proper like Tendulkar and Gavaskar but he has an ability to score very big inning like Lara. His striking rate is near to 80 in test matches means he is a big entertainer as well.