May 12, 2014

IPL 2014

Sehwag finds runs but searching for swiftness

Shiva Jayaraman
Virender Sehwag made his first fifty of this IPL season, Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2014, Cuttack, May 11, 2014
Virender Sehwag finally broke away from the 30s this season with a 50-ball 72 against Kolkata Knight Riders  © BCCI
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The numbers in this piece are updated as after the last Kings XI Punjab game, on 11th May

Virender Sehwag finally got a fifty against his name in this IPL and it was a long time coming. The batsman had gone 18 innings since his last half-century, which was an unbeaten 95 against Mumbai Indians last year. That was his only fifty-plus score last season and it had come fairly early too - four innings into the tournament. Sehwag played nine more innings after that last season, and the highest he managed to score from them was 30. He hit just 146 runs at 16.22 from those nine innings.

He had barely managed to improve his numbers from last year, scoring 181 runs at 22.62 for Kings XI Punjab before his innings against Kolkata Knight Riders. However, what was different this time was that he was getting starts: he had five scores in the 30s, equaling the most 30s made by any batsman in an IPL season. He finally managed to break the 30-barrier in Kings XI Punjab's last match, scoring 72 off 50 balls at strike-rate of 144.

What puts Sehwag's numbers in perspective, though, is how the other Indian batsmen have done in this year's IPL. In spite of his scratchy form, Sehwag has scored 253 runs at an average of 28.11 and is the second-highest run-scorer among Indians in the tournament. Only Robin Uthappa, with 302 runs at 33.55 from nine innings, has compiled more than him. Sehwag's 253 runs are also the third-highest by an opener in this IPL.

Top run-scorers among India batsmen, IPL 2014*
Batsman Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100s/50s
Robin Uthappa 9 302 65 33.55 125.31 0/2
Virender Sehwag 9 253 72 28.11 130.41 0/1
Ajinkya Rahane 9 248 72 27.55 119.23 0/2
Gautam Gambhir 9 238 69 29.75 117.24 0/3
Dinesh Karthik 9 232 56 25.77 126.08 0/2

* Numbers as on 11th May

Nevertheless, how does Sehwag of yore compare with Sehwag of the present? The stat that really answers this question is his strike rate - he has scored at a strike rate of 130.41 this season. Last season, his strike rate was 126.60. Before that Sehwag used to score at 167.31 in the IPL and he had scored 1879 runs at that rate. No batsman with even 100 IPL runs had scored faster than Sehwag at that time.

While his most ardent fans would like to believe that Sehwag's innings against Knight Riders was an early sign of his resurgence as an explosive batsman, it is hard to ignore the numbers that indicate that he's far from being at his best. In his innings against Knight Riders, he was not in control of more than one-third of the legal deliveries (17 out of 50, 34%) that were bowled at him. That's eight percent more than an average top-order batsman (positions No. 1 to No. 7) in an innings of fifty or more in this tournament.

Sehwag v top-order batsmen in innings of 50+, IPL 2014
Batsman Total balls faced balls - in control control %age balls - not in control beaten %age
Virender Sehwag v KKR 50 33 66% 17 34%
Other batsmen in IPL 2014* 1971 1459 74% 512 26%
* Top-order batsmen (No. 1 to No. 7) in innings of 50 or more runs

True to his indifferent form, Sehwag was not able to accelerate even after getting to his fifty in this innings. Sehwag batted on for 15 more deliveries and managed 22 runs at a strike rate of 146.7, including four boundaries. Of the ten instances when Sehwag has batted on for ten or more deliveries after getting to a fifty, he has failed to push-on only once before - against Chennai Super Kings in 2010. In that innings though, he ended up scoring 74 off 38 deliveries at a strike rate of 194.7: hardly an innings that can be qualified as slow by any standards.

There are two other instances that are apparently slower than his last one, but those came in chases, after Sehwag had already all but secured a win for his team. The first one was against Super Kings in 2008. Chasing 170 to win, he smashed a fifty off 24 deliveries before slowing down to get 20 runs off the next 17 balls he faced. But by the time Sehwag had got his fifty, Delhi Daredevils were the firm favourites to win the game, requiring 91 off 13.1 overs with all ten wickets in hand. In the other instance, against Rajasthan Royals in 2012, he was even faster to his fifty - he took just 20 deliveries - but then slowed down having done most of the work. When he reached his fifty, Delhi needed just 58 from 12.1 overs with nine wickets in hand.

Sehwag in IPL inns when he has played 10+balls after scoring fifty
Match inns runs inns balls inns SR runs after 50 balls faced after 50 SR after 50
v KKR, 2014 72 50 144.0 22 15 146.7
ave 50+ inns 85 44 192.0 34 18 186.6
v MI, 2013 95* 57 166.7 45 26 173.1
v Kochi, 2011 80 47 170.2 30 11 272.7
v CSK, 2008 71 41 173.2 20 17 117.6
v PW, 2012 87 48 181.3 37 20 185.0
v RR, 2012 73 38 192.1 22 18 122.2
v CSK, 2010 74 38 194.7 23 16 143.8
v DC, 2011 119 56 212.5 65 29 224.1
v RR, 2010 75 34 220.6 22 13 169.2
v DC, 2008 94* 41 229.3 42 14 300.0

Sehwag's 50-ball 72 on Saturday was his slowest innings of fifty or more runs, but it wasn't the slowest he got to his fifty in the IPL. He has been slower than this on one occasion - he took 36 balls against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011. In that innings though, Sehwag made up for his initial sluggishness by smashing 30 off the next 11 balls he faced. That is the version of Sehwag his fans are eager to see again.

Shiva Jayaraman is a stats sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Keywords: Form, Mavericks, Stats

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Posted by westindiesupporter on (May 17, 2014, 2:20 GMT)

I just support the team in which Sehwag is. According to me he is the god of cricket.

Posted by   on (May 15, 2014, 14:14 GMT)

Good digging Siva. If you couldnt find a way to bring down Sehwag, you compared him with his best days stats. I hope that you got paid well by CSK or BCCI to do that as you want to keep Sehwag out of national squad, despite him scoring more runs and at a faster pace than other batsmen.

Posted by imtiazjaleel on (May 15, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

When bowlers are not afraid of the batsman, then they start getting the batsman out. If a bowler is afraid of the batsman especially in a T20 match he is happy by not conceding runs rather than thinking of getting him out. Now, bowlers are confident that they can get Sehwag's wicket easily and trying to get him out rather than restricting him.

Posted by Pathiyal on (May 15, 2014, 5:20 GMT)

his presence might be havinga huge positive impact in the dressing room which reflects on their ground performance too because he is still considered as a BIG batsman by many foreign players. viru as a batsman is just a shadow of what he was. he is most unlikely to make a come back at this age. we could see that now...even if he makes 50+ that X factor has been lacking. he is just not able to play that 'viru brand' of cricket :-)

Posted by rajuramki on (May 15, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

Viru is one player who can be a terror to the opponent bowlers just with his presence. Of late his hand-eye coordination is not what it used to be . I presume that this has something to do with his specs as well as age . Viru is always an impact player and he will be remembered for his pyrotechniques even after his retirement . He is one of my all time favourite Indian players along with Kapil ,Gavaskar, Viswanath,Prasanna,Kumble and Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

no matter how he plays he will be my fav

Posted by paulke on (May 14, 2014, 17:41 GMT)

India needs Sehwag, He got confidence again, I think He may get a chance in Bangla tour. All the best to Sehwag. As a fan of Sehwag, we know that Sehwag need good starts, once he got good starts he will manage big scores.

Posted by godshand on (May 14, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

An old ambassador car cannot match even maruti leave aside mercedes !!!! VS, GG, UV etal are past their primes and should be thanked for their contribution in past.

Posted by tashan329 on (May 14, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

Judging a players performance on the basis of Strike rate is valid. But the point is that any tea would take such player whose strike rate is 120+. Even Brendon McCulum is lot more slower than him

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

I am a huge Sehwag fan, so much so that I supported DD earlier now KXIP due to his movement. Being such a wonderful and fearless batsman, he has himself and his personal coaching & support staff to blame for his woes. I don't see any improvements or new learning on his development areas in batting & fielding as well. Majorly noticeable drawback for me in his batting is that he is not using his feet to the spinners and trying to hit spinners without reading them. If a spinner bowls in good length areas, Sehwag is an easy prey 3 out of 5 times. Being such a gifted player if Sehwag wills, he can turn things around for himself and for fans such as me. I would recommend Sehwag to shed down his weight a little which will help him to be quick on his feet while batting & running and be agile in the field. He has convert himself into a full innings player rather than just a power play player. I would personally love to watch Sehwag play at least 3/4 more IPL's. Hope Sehwag will play.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shiva Jayaraman
Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com

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