Samir Chopra July 28, 2010

Viru the Incorrigible

Perhaps he will set himself some new target

On 26 December 2003, sitting high up in the stands of the still-under-construction MCG, I watched with dismay as Virender Sehwag, after having gone to 195 with a six off Simon Katich, holed out in an attempt to go for the double-century-clinching six. At that moment, I wasn't sure what I was more upset about: an Indian batsman getting out, missing out on a chance to see a Boxing Day double-hundred scored by an Indian, or even more importantly, the anxiety over a possible collapse. India slid from 278 for 1 to 366 all out [India were 311 for 3 when Sehwag was dismissed]; Australia racked up a huge lead in response, and by the end of the match India had surrendered a precious 1-0 lead in the series. With that, India's best chance of ever winning a series in Australia went down the proverbial drain.

This morning, I woke to find out that Sehwag had gone for 99, rushing out to a spinner to get a six and his ton, and merely earning himself a stumping in the process. India were 165 for no loss (in response to a Sri Lankan score of 642 for 4) and promptly subsided to 173 for 3). Thanks to the Tendulkar-Raina stand, all is not lost for India yet but there is still plenty of time left in this game. They could still go down 0-2 by the game's end.

So, shall we all do a Boycott, and ask for a look at Viru's cranium to see if there is anything in there? I might but if I did, my interests would lie in the direction of checking to see if there was anything in there that I could possibly emulate. I wouldn't mind being in a position where I get to score Test centuries thrice in a row, and miss out on the fourth one by a solitary run.

Clichés about living and dying by swords, and about sticking to what works for you aside, it would be spectacularly churlish to blame Sehwag for the loss of the MCG Test (or the SSC Test if that is how things turn out). He made more than half the Indian total at the MCG; the game was lost because the remaining 10 men on the team failed to pull their weight. If India lose at SSC, it won't be because Sehwag batted in the only way he knows; it will be because the Indian bowling had already allowed 600 runs on the board. Indeed, it is a singularly depressing fact to note that India have, by and large, wasted Sehwag's tons. (The stats are worth looking at for the curious).

I suspect that once the disappointment of the missed ton faded, Sehwag was the first one to allow himself a chuckle at how things turned out. But I don't think the frivolity will last long. Sehwag's reaction to the MCG loss was, as he pointed out himself in interviews later, the spur to go on and make bigger scores (he went to a triple-ton with a six in Pakistan a few months later). Perhaps he will set himself some new target. Perhaps he will have his eye on Randiv for some special treatment in the next Test. All of which is only good news for those of us that like watching Sehwag bat.

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

  • testli5504537 on January 26, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    Yeah that's what I'm takling about baby--nice work!

  • testli5504537 on August 17, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    Sehwag is like himself and has no parallels in the history of test cricket. The reason is simple- This is an era where there is no single team which is dominating Test Cricket. The competition is tougher and that makes Viru an even bigger force to reckon...He defies the bowlers and his critics alike...!

  • testli5504537 on August 8, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Sehwag is as good a batsman as any in the Indian team, including Tendulkar and Dravid.

    I reckon by the time he retires, he will be mentioned in the same breath as Sachin. His test batting has become truly extraordinary by now...amazing player. There is really no one like him in any team in any part of the world

  • testli5504537 on August 3, 2010, 16:59 GMT

    nice article Samir. I have believed Sehwag would do great things since that innings against New Zealand, which I watched in awe as a schoolboy. And ever since, I have always prayed that he doesn't change, and what a great he has turned out to be. Yes, Viru, we wish that next time you reach 99, you go for that six. Even if you fail, we will want you to go at it again next time. Please don't change.

  • testli5504537 on August 1, 2010, 14:22 GMT

    I agree with Ganes...if the partner other end calm him, he should have made triple. I remember once Sachin told Sehwag that ...if you try to hit 6 next over I will kick your butts...

  • testli5504537 on July 31, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    You cannot have a bowler hijack sehwag intent. He can only take the bowliong for so long. Knowing his inning on 3rd day before lunch - I think he has negotiated with the -ve bowling with great patience. If it was SRT in this situation - Sure he would not miss his 100 or 200.

  • testli5504537 on July 30, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    Sehwag is a best and best compare to others because he never bother the bowler

  • testli5504537 on July 30, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    viru i liku u because of ur batting style so pls enternine like this long life to uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  • testli5504537 on July 30, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    Viru,There is no doubt you do not use your feet like a fox but you are Angad and can use your Gada to amaze all the cricket fans. God bless you!,you will surprise the world the great power and vigour in you.You are a lad on the shoulder of Sachin but you can run faster by hand and intution not by the feet.I admire you by trying to hit a sixer for others and not for youself.Thanks and Congratulations! -- Murari

  • testli5504537 on July 30, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    We are soon going to be left only with Virendar Sehwag as Dravid, Sachin,Laxman will bow out soon.. We might be faced with the same fate of 1990's switching off telivision sets once sachin gets out .. Lets hope that is not the case.. Sehwag looks like a 10,000 runs cricketer.. Good luck to him...

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