Deccan Chargers v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2011, Hyderabad May 5, 2011

Sehwag's daring meets discretion

  shares 26

Five days ago, Virender Sehwag had come up against a pitch in Kochi that was keeping so low that batsmen were being dismissed boot before wicket. Sehwag responded with 80 off 47 deliveries, when survival was a lottery for others. Five days later, Sehwag came up against his own team-mates in Hyderabad. His fielders forgot to hold catches. His bowlers chose no-balls to take wickets. His batsmen took turns at pressing the self-destruct button. Sehwag responded with 119 off 56, when it would have been easy to throw it away with a shot in anger and frustration.

Delhi Daredevils needed 144 from 13 overs. They won with an over to spare, and the margin would have been wider had Sehwag not been dismissed in the 17th over. Twice in three games, Sehwag has shown that he is to Delhi what Sachin Tendulkar was to India for a large part of his career. The show begins and ends with Sehwag. The man knows it, and is candid enough to acknowledge that he is special. "Batsmen like Warner, or me, or Gilchrist or Tendulkar, can do anything if we play for so many overs," Sehwag said. "I told my boys, just play fearless cricket."

Fearlessness is one of the foundations of Sehwag's batting. Discretion, however, is not a measure that he applies in abundance, especially in the shorter formats of the game. When both virtues combine, his batting scales another level. On such days, his targeting of the weak links in the opposition bowling attack is almost predictable. Inevitably, Ishan Malhotra and Bharat Chipli disappeared for 43 in two overs.

On such days, he also realises that the contest between him and the cream of the opposition attack need not be a gladiatorial showdown. Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma were given the respect they deserved on a bouncy pitch, though Sehwag still managed four boundaries off them.

Spin and Sehwag have a tempestuous relationship. It brings the best and worst out of him. Predictably, Amit Mishra was taken for 37 in 14 deliveries. Predictably, the two dropped catches also came off Mishra.

"I was telling myself that just play through the spell of Steyn and Ishant. They don't have a fifth bowler and I have played Amit Mishra a lot in the nets," Sehwag said. "I knew I could come hard at them. I just thought let me play my shots and if we can get momentum, we can do this."

Despite their indifferent performance, Sehwag did not think it was correct to blame his team-mates for not pulling their weight. "We have played ten games, and I have clicked only in three. So I have not been consistent, and I can't really blame the others. I have more responsibility. The others are not that experienced; only Venugopal Rao is a bit experienced. They will take time; it takes time to build a good team."

Even as Delhi's campaign has now come down to them needing a win almost every time they step out on to the field, Sehwag has carried his heavy responsibility as lightly as only he can. In five days, he has overcome a minefield on one occasion and on another a team that seemed intent on scoring own goals. Today, he scored 102 more runs than his side's next-highest scorer in the game, James Hopes. "That's the kind of player he is mate," Hopes said. "He is as good as it gets in world cricket."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 8, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    @Spelele: Dude, doctored dustbowls? Apparently you have NO idea of Sehwag's overseas record. I remember a wretched series against New Zealand just prior to the World Cup. On those 'doctored' seamer friendly wickets, Sehwag was the ONLY Indian batsman to score 2 hundreds in the one-day series. You've also forgotten the first time he was asked to open in England... in his first 2 tests in seaming conditions he got a 100 and an 80. Moving on to Australia... you've forgotten the 195 at the MCG and the match-saving 151 at Adelaide IN THE SECOND INNINGS... and what about the 201 against a rampant Mendis and Murali at Galle? Do you need more reminders?

  • vrushi55 on May 7, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Sehwag hasn't even started bowling yet, we know he is more than handy with ball. He gets lots of turn too. Best figures of 4-6 in ODI's.

  • SangeetaSingh on May 7, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    to all the dustbowl characters....if batting in india is so easy then how come ponting only has 1 test hundred in 11 tests in india???? and how is it that only green tracks or bouncy tracks are sporting even spinning tracks are part of cricket and a big part at that...and as far as sehwag is concerned then he is by far the most destructive batsmen in the world and the fact is that if sehwag bats for even 2 sessions in a test match then india chances of winning that test match becomes very high!!

  • nikitheboss on May 7, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    @Farce-Follower:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/35320.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;template=results;type=allround

  • on May 7, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    @sepelele how many players made most runs in these sub continent pitches? do u know that sehwag came to lime light playing against new zealand(2002) in new zealand but not in india. It doesn't matter where you play How well you play does matters most.

  • SRT_GENIUS on May 7, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    @nlambda: bring Kambli back I say.

  • yogeshsharma on May 6, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    big difference between Sehwag & SRT hundreds is that sehwag's makes sure you will win. well nothing taking away from god of cricket though. (SRT)

  • nlambda on May 6, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    @Farce-Follower: Kumble won matches yes, that was with his bowling. In batting it was Sachin most of the time. Azhar, Kambli, Manjrekar all were relatively mediocre players who scored handsomely at home against the Sri Lankas and Zimbabwes but flopped most of the time in tougher situations. I remember India 219 all out against Eng, SRT 122. India 221 all out against Pak at Sharjah, SRT 73 off 62 balls. And of course one will never forget India 258 all out against Pak with SRT getting 136. You are just wrong in saying Azhar won matches - why I recall India lost to Zim in the 1999 WC and SOS had to be sent to Sachin to return quickly from his father's funeral so India could face Kenya and England "confidently".

  • Farce-Follower on May 6, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    @nlambda : Even during the days of Azhar, it was the combo of Kumble and Azhar who won us more home tests. And Kambli was not bad either. Its just that it is easy to say SRT and 21 years in one breath. Discerning (and not the screaming) cricket lovers know better.

  • on May 6, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    @spelele: His maiden hundred came against SA which had pollock, donald, ntini and hayward.. he made an astonishing 195 in melbourne with a quite potent aussie attack.. again a 155 against them last time around.. he has scored all around the world..and none of the batsmen you will claim are great have scored on these "dustbowls" against the even meagre tweakers.. he has batted through an innings which i think none of the contemporary test openers have done.. he has made 2 triple centuries under the harshest conditions possible (check out the weather map of multan and chennai) and a 290.. if you can bat through a session here in the sub continent without fatigue in april, you are plain great.. just do not comment for the sake of it...

  • on May 8, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    @Spelele: Dude, doctored dustbowls? Apparently you have NO idea of Sehwag's overseas record. I remember a wretched series against New Zealand just prior to the World Cup. On those 'doctored' seamer friendly wickets, Sehwag was the ONLY Indian batsman to score 2 hundreds in the one-day series. You've also forgotten the first time he was asked to open in England... in his first 2 tests in seaming conditions he got a 100 and an 80. Moving on to Australia... you've forgotten the 195 at the MCG and the match-saving 151 at Adelaide IN THE SECOND INNINGS... and what about the 201 against a rampant Mendis and Murali at Galle? Do you need more reminders?

  • vrushi55 on May 7, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Sehwag hasn't even started bowling yet, we know he is more than handy with ball. He gets lots of turn too. Best figures of 4-6 in ODI's.

  • SangeetaSingh on May 7, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    to all the dustbowl characters....if batting in india is so easy then how come ponting only has 1 test hundred in 11 tests in india???? and how is it that only green tracks or bouncy tracks are sporting even spinning tracks are part of cricket and a big part at that...and as far as sehwag is concerned then he is by far the most destructive batsmen in the world and the fact is that if sehwag bats for even 2 sessions in a test match then india chances of winning that test match becomes very high!!

  • nikitheboss on May 7, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    @Farce-Follower:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/35320.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;template=results;type=allround

  • on May 7, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    @sepelele how many players made most runs in these sub continent pitches? do u know that sehwag came to lime light playing against new zealand(2002) in new zealand but not in india. It doesn't matter where you play How well you play does matters most.

  • SRT_GENIUS on May 7, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    @nlambda: bring Kambli back I say.

  • yogeshsharma on May 6, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    big difference between Sehwag & SRT hundreds is that sehwag's makes sure you will win. well nothing taking away from god of cricket though. (SRT)

  • nlambda on May 6, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    @Farce-Follower: Kumble won matches yes, that was with his bowling. In batting it was Sachin most of the time. Azhar, Kambli, Manjrekar all were relatively mediocre players who scored handsomely at home against the Sri Lankas and Zimbabwes but flopped most of the time in tougher situations. I remember India 219 all out against Eng, SRT 122. India 221 all out against Pak at Sharjah, SRT 73 off 62 balls. And of course one will never forget India 258 all out against Pak with SRT getting 136. You are just wrong in saying Azhar won matches - why I recall India lost to Zim in the 1999 WC and SOS had to be sent to Sachin to return quickly from his father's funeral so India could face Kenya and England "confidently".

  • Farce-Follower on May 6, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    @nlambda : Even during the days of Azhar, it was the combo of Kumble and Azhar who won us more home tests. And Kambli was not bad either. Its just that it is easy to say SRT and 21 years in one breath. Discerning (and not the screaming) cricket lovers know better.

  • on May 6, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    @spelele: His maiden hundred came against SA which had pollock, donald, ntini and hayward.. he made an astonishing 195 in melbourne with a quite potent aussie attack.. again a 155 against them last time around.. he has scored all around the world..and none of the batsmen you will claim are great have scored on these "dustbowls" against the even meagre tweakers.. he has batted through an innings which i think none of the contemporary test openers have done.. he has made 2 triple centuries under the harshest conditions possible (check out the weather map of multan and chennai) and a 290.. if you can bat through a session here in the sub continent without fatigue in april, you are plain great.. just do not comment for the sake of it...

  • nlambda on May 6, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    @Farce-Follower: I think the writer is referring to the times of Azhar, Kambli, Manjrekar, Vikram Rathore (remember him?), Ajay Jadeja... Yes, SRT was to India then what Sehwag is to DD today.

  • Spelele on May 6, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    @Biju Pappachan: There is no doubt that Sehwag is a good player in the subcontinent, but a legend? Please don't make me laugh mate! Sehwag wud never make it into any World XI unless all matches were to be played on your doctored dustbowls in India. On sporting pitches, the guy is a walking wicket to classy bowlers like Steyn. All his runs (like Tendulkar) in Tests (the true test of a batsman's ability) are scored on meaningless dustbowls in dull draws in his home country. He never scores (never mind this quickly) on swinging pitches. Players like him who need dead pitches to perform are not legends. I'm sorry, but I cannot credit this boom-bash nonsense. It just relies so much on luck, and being dropped (at least once) like he was against Deccan. Mediocre players who would struggle to survive 5 Steyn overs in a Test match on a decent pitch cannot be hailed as greats. Until Sehwag can score significant runs on challenging conditions, he remains an avarage slogger and flat-track buly:)l

  • on May 6, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    Sehwag was just amazing..........he played fearless cricket in the field previous night..hats off 2 u Sehwag......

  • Venkiviru on May 6, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    TAKE A BOW ..... time and again he has proved tat he can play circumspectly at first and then attack.... he is a born genius..

  • Jim1207 on May 6, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    The team must be called Delhi Daredevil. As there seems to be only one such.

  • Farce-Follower on May 6, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    What rubbish...Sehwag is to Delhi what Sachin is to India...huge insult to the likes of Rahul Dravid, VVS, Kumble, Ganguly, Viru and Zaheer Khan. We have won more matches because of these guys than Tendulkar. There has to a limit to exaggeration.

  • on May 6, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    Sehwag is a rare breed of professionals who wake up everyday and live a life full of commitment their cause. I salute his spirit and commitment. He is one player who doesnt do it for record books or to be called the best batsman in the world. He is candid and is not pretentious. May this tribe grow and make us all proud...

  • R8omanch4 on May 6, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    D orange cap holder said ,even I m nt consistent and we cant blame any other, wat a great thinking of a great batsman.......... http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/video_audio/513985.html

  • Matricfail on May 6, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    I am Indian, I am a fan of Seh(whack). But for me, the day has to be when he will break Vivian Richards fastest hundred in test. I seriously believe he is capable of doing that...

  • banter123 on May 6, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Sehwag is Mr fearless,no doubts regarding that.Players Like Yuvraj,Sachin,Sehwag always leave a footprint of Question marks when it comes to Captain's tactics and management.Its a bit brutal to demand all ideal skills from a Cricketer,but it would be nice if such experience results in being able to read the game well.

  • macmac10 on May 6, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Now Sehwag knows what Sachin has been feeling for last 21 years. I hope now people realise how difficult it is to carry a team on your shoulders and 'GOD' has been doing it for 21 long years. I am sure if DD would have lost after he got out, some would have said he is not a match winner. Hats off to you Veeru... and thanks a lot for the entertainment.

  • on May 6, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    One of the best innings of IPL. Shewag yet again shows that he can play cautious yet ruthless cricket. Cant help thinking that his role in the Indian team has been defined to just go out and destroy the best bowler of the opposition so that the other team members can reap its benefit. And only a player as selfless as shewag can do it because this has meant that his consistency in the shorter formats is nowhere close to what it could have been. Hats off to him.

  • BellamSridhar on May 6, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    Its purely Chargers mistake to loose the game. They started doing mistakes from day 1 in selecting the team. They lost Suman to Mumbai. They never thought of Rayudu a local star. There is no local player who can shoulder the team to a win. Ojha is a clever bowler than Misra. Their fielding is worst. Except Steyn and Ishanth they dont have a bowler. If Munaf Patel is able to dive and take a catch why do these youngsters drop easy catches. Completely disappointed with the performance.

  • on May 6, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Well people before they start pouncing sehwag claiming he is a flat track bully and plays well only at subcontinent let me remind them sehwag scores two centuries in australia one of them being the match savind 150 he scored at adelaid.He has a good recrod in Australia.And in england the only time he toured in 2002 he scored like pretty good runs with average of 50+.I do aggree he hasnt played well in south africa however he did make his debut hundred there.Also i would like to remind you fellows is in NZ in 2002 when on the green tracks where no team was getting more than 150 runs he scored like two hundreds in the series of an attack which included shane bond

  • kurups on May 6, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    Amazing..the only current batsman I would not mind goin miles to watch even on the worst of my days..and for the sheer impact he creates combined with his records and match winning knocks he is The Greatest..well done Viru. Let the world embrace Sehwagology...it can only be a better place!

  • on May 6, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Sehwag is one of the most destructive batsman in world cricket today. When on song no bowler is spared and no match is lost till he is there.Yesterday he proved his mantle again with a blistering century. TIME TO HONOR SEHWAG AS ONE OF THE LEGENDS OF MODERN DAY CRICKET.................

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  • on May 6, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Sehwag is one of the most destructive batsman in world cricket today. When on song no bowler is spared and no match is lost till he is there.Yesterday he proved his mantle again with a blistering century. TIME TO HONOR SEHWAG AS ONE OF THE LEGENDS OF MODERN DAY CRICKET.................

  • kurups on May 6, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    Amazing..the only current batsman I would not mind goin miles to watch even on the worst of my days..and for the sheer impact he creates combined with his records and match winning knocks he is The Greatest..well done Viru. Let the world embrace Sehwagology...it can only be a better place!

  • on May 6, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Well people before they start pouncing sehwag claiming he is a flat track bully and plays well only at subcontinent let me remind them sehwag scores two centuries in australia one of them being the match savind 150 he scored at adelaid.He has a good recrod in Australia.And in england the only time he toured in 2002 he scored like pretty good runs with average of 50+.I do aggree he hasnt played well in south africa however he did make his debut hundred there.Also i would like to remind you fellows is in NZ in 2002 when on the green tracks where no team was getting more than 150 runs he scored like two hundreds in the series of an attack which included shane bond

  • BellamSridhar on May 6, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    Its purely Chargers mistake to loose the game. They started doing mistakes from day 1 in selecting the team. They lost Suman to Mumbai. They never thought of Rayudu a local star. There is no local player who can shoulder the team to a win. Ojha is a clever bowler than Misra. Their fielding is worst. Except Steyn and Ishanth they dont have a bowler. If Munaf Patel is able to dive and take a catch why do these youngsters drop easy catches. Completely disappointed with the performance.

  • on May 6, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    One of the best innings of IPL. Shewag yet again shows that he can play cautious yet ruthless cricket. Cant help thinking that his role in the Indian team has been defined to just go out and destroy the best bowler of the opposition so that the other team members can reap its benefit. And only a player as selfless as shewag can do it because this has meant that his consistency in the shorter formats is nowhere close to what it could have been. Hats off to him.

  • macmac10 on May 6, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Now Sehwag knows what Sachin has been feeling for last 21 years. I hope now people realise how difficult it is to carry a team on your shoulders and 'GOD' has been doing it for 21 long years. I am sure if DD would have lost after he got out, some would have said he is not a match winner. Hats off to you Veeru... and thanks a lot for the entertainment.

  • banter123 on May 6, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Sehwag is Mr fearless,no doubts regarding that.Players Like Yuvraj,Sachin,Sehwag always leave a footprint of Question marks when it comes to Captain's tactics and management.Its a bit brutal to demand all ideal skills from a Cricketer,but it would be nice if such experience results in being able to read the game well.

  • Matricfail on May 6, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    I am Indian, I am a fan of Seh(whack). But for me, the day has to be when he will break Vivian Richards fastest hundred in test. I seriously believe he is capable of doing that...

  • R8omanch4 on May 6, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    D orange cap holder said ,even I m nt consistent and we cant blame any other, wat a great thinking of a great batsman.......... http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/video_audio/513985.html

  • on May 6, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    Sehwag is a rare breed of professionals who wake up everyday and live a life full of commitment their cause. I salute his spirit and commitment. He is one player who doesnt do it for record books or to be called the best batsman in the world. He is candid and is not pretentious. May this tribe grow and make us all proud...