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Is Sehwag great yet?

Up there with the Gavaskars and Tendulkars? Just where does India's gonzo opener stand in his country's batting pantheon?

Suresh Menon

August 15, 2008

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Five thousand runs says footwork is overrated © AFP

VS Naipaul has written about a general-knowledge test he took in the fourth grade: "Who is the greatest cricketer in the world?" He answered "Bradman". "The pencilled cross on my paper was large and angry," Naipaul recalled later. The correct answer, apparently, was Learie Constantine. Any response to such questions says more about the one who answers than the answer itself. Decades after Naipaul's test, it was still possible to answer from the heart. In my schooldays, the greatest Indian batsman was Gundappa Viswanath; this even after Sunil Gavaskar had begun to rewrite records. I was in good company - Gavaskar himself thought Viswanath the better player.

But thanks to television and Cricinfo, the age of innocence is long past. There has been an unweaving of the rainbow. It is not enough now to say that a batsman was poetry in action. Art has been replaced by math. How many second-innings centuries did he score? How often did he bat with the last three players and put on over a hundred runs? What is the difference in average between the first innings and second? Statisticians, once dismissed as sad people for whom a missing leg-bye in a 19th-century Wisden was more exciting than a pull by Richards, have reduced greatness to decimal points.

You can't argue with the big numbers, though. 99.94 and 19 for 90 will never be broken. But 10,122 has been, twice by Indian batsmen.

Which brings us to the question of the day: has Virender Sehwag earned the right to be included among the greatest Indian batsmen ever? Above the likes of Viswanath, Vijay Hazare, Vijay Merchant, CK Nayudu, and alongside Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar?

The statistics are revealing. After 60 Tests, 15 centuries and an average of 52.62, Sehwag has scored more runs and more centuries than everyone barring Gavaskar at the same stage. So why is he not spoken of in the same breath?

Perhaps it is because "Fab Four" is a convenient label, and there is an attraction to the allusion that is missing from, say, "Famous Five". Perhaps it is because Sehwag is not articulate, and appears even to someone like Geoff Boycott as a talented but brainless batsman. Perhaps there is a deeper reason, his Jat working-class background versus the middle-class Brahmin origin of the others.

Sehwag himself is not given to analysis. He is a simple man with a simple objective - to score as many runs as quickly as possible. His strike-rate in Tests is 77; Ponting's is 59, Lara's 60. Only Adam Gilchrist has an even more impressive 82. We don't know what Nayudu's strike-rate was, or Hazare's, so they tend to be judged on orthodoxy or stature in the teams they were a part of. You can't break that down to figures, which is one reason modern players tend to appear more impressive than their predecessors. Forget television; you can see patterns enough in Statsguru.

Sehwag is climbing the last steps to the pantheon, but these are the toughest ones. After 30, Gavaskar's average dropped to 48, Tendulkar's to 46. Dravid alone did better

Sehwag's greatest asset is his balance. He doesn't have great footwork, but this shortcoming is noticed only when he gets out cheaply. He fails in exactly the same manner in which he succeeds. He is given a long run even when he fails, because if he can bat through even half an innings, he can help India put up an unbeatable score. And if he can do that even half the time he goes out to bat, the percentages are still in India's favour.

That also explains why in the Indian mind Sehwag has been slotted alongside the girl in the nursery rhyme: when he is good he is very good; when he is bad he is horrid. This suggests an inconsistency that doesn't sit well with those who inhabit pantheons. After his 254 in Lahore two years ago, Sehwag went 11 innings without a fifty. After his 180 in St Lucia, he had just one fifty in his next 12 innings, and after his 319 against South Africa in Chennai, he went six innings without a fifty.

There is an obviousness about Sehwag's batting that upsets people who like complexity and mystery. To be simple is not to be simplistic; Sehwag makes it all look so easy that it is difficult to believe that he might be the world's most destructive batsman. So many runs without moving his feet?

India's obsession with technique is probably a reflection of the English attitude. Yet this ought not be. Just as the English spoken by Indians is more colourful, the cricket played by them is also unique. Sehwag brings to the game the hearty disregard for its Englishness that featured in the batting of such as Mushtaq Ali (India's first Test centurion abroad) and Krishnamachari Srikkanth, while focusing on fewer "must-dos".

Sehwag modelled himself on Tendulkar, and there was a phase at the turn of the millennium when it was difficult to tell them apart when they were batting together. Perhaps he put on weight only to help the spectators identify him more easily.

He has the expression of a man who has wiped the past from his mind. It is impossible to tell from watching him whether he is batting on 0 or 200, such is his composure. No batsman has hit a six to reach 300 in a Test innings, as Sehwag has done. That sums up the man and his game. Earlier he had been dismissed in Australia for 195 while attempting to bring up the double-hundred with a six. "It was a loose ball, and loose balls are meant to be hit," he said simply.

How Sehwag goes after Tendulkar and Dravid leave will be crucial to how he is evaluated © AFP

Such simplicity in a man and his method is attractive. Many players have been struck immobile by thinking too much. No paralysis by analysis for Sehwag. There is a placidity about him as the ball is delivered that is in contrast to the activity around him once he plays it.

When in 2001 he made his entry with a century on Test debut in Bloemfentein, he batted at No. 6. It wasn't until four series later that he opened - at Lord's, where he made the top score of 84. He made a century in the next match en route to making five of his first six centuries in five different countries and on the first day of the match.

Ian Frazier, once a biomechanist with the Indian team, summed it up when he said, "Indians have got a gem on their hands. Any guy who gets out and five minutes later can actually forget he played that innings is a godsend within an Indian culture which tends to reflect on things over and over again." In fact, Sehwag's ability to forget is as important a weapon as other people's gift of remembering.

He turns 30 in October, and then comes the difficult part. What happens thereafter will decide his place. Life must be lived forwards, but judgements can only be made in retrospect. Sehwag is climbing the last steps to the pantheon, but these are the toughest ones. After 30, Gavaskar's average dropped to 48, Tendulkar's to 46. Dravid alone did better.

Sehwag in the pantheon? Close, but let's see how India's batting sits on his shoulders after Tendulkar and Dravid depart. Candidates for the pantheon must be both statistically and psychologically eligible. This means passing the test of both longevity and responsibility.

Highest Test averages by Indian batsmen
Player Matches Runs Average In matches won HS 100s 50s
Rahul Dravid 124 10223 54.37 71.54 270 25 52
Sachin Tendulkar 150 11877 54.23 62.11 248* 39 49
Virender Sehwag 59 5074 54.20 50.29 319 15 13
Sunil Gavaskar 125 10122 51.12 43.97 236* 34 45
Vijay Hazare 30 2192 47.65 121 164* 7 9
Mohammad Azharuddin 99 6215 45.03 55.48 199 22 21
VVS Laxman 96 6000 43.79 51.79 281 12 35
Mohinder Amarnath 69 4378 42.50 42.83 136 11 24
Polly Umrigar 59 3631 42.22 50.66 223 12 14
Dilip Vengsarkar 116 6868 42.13 47.48 166 17 35
Qualification: a minimum of 50 innings

Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Jose on (August 18, 2008, 8:11 GMT)

English men used to apply cheap tactics similar to Dileep regarding Indians in general simply by dividing in the name of Caste and Religion for their survival. After they left media inherited those qualities for making money and popularity. If his logic applies to Indian selection, Sehwag would never become Vice-Captain or Azaruddin would never made a captain.

Sehwag is unarguably a rarest gem of cricket world. He never plays for records and tries to be innovative by choosing many risky shots. Thats the simple reason for his inconsistency. Till now, he had the luxury to experiment his shots because middle order was very strong. I think, he certainly realised now that Fab-4 has now come close to "Expiry Date" and I am sure he will play with more responsibility. His 2nd coming in ODIs reflect this fact and now he is a reliable and consistent opener in ODIs and other two formats of game.

Posted by ashish25 on (August 18, 2008, 6:18 GMT)

whatever the so call pandits say, but sehwag may not better than Dravid but he surely is better than sachin. If you have look around sachin's career he has hardly won a test match abroad for India. leave alone winning he hasn't save single test for india. Atleast Sehwag and Dravid played some matchwinning knocks for India.Sachin has always choked in pressure conditions. Sachin may have won few matches for India at home.But at Home we don't need sachin, anyone can do that.Sehwag deservers more when it comes to winning the test matches.

Posted by Nemeldi on (August 17, 2008, 20:11 GMT)

One small gripe: Mohinder Amarnath's highest score was 138. You have deducted two crucial runs from one of the under-rated batsmen ever in Indian cricket.

Posted by Nemeldi on (August 17, 2008, 20:09 GMT)

It is always titillating to play such games. Is So-and-So the greatest ever, is he great yet or is he greater than Such-and-Such? Regarding Sehwag, great or not, he is the best opener India have had in Tests since Gavaskar. To exclude him from the revered list of greats solely on the basis of him not being technical enough is blatant elitism. Even Bradman, the greatest of them all, was more of an unorthodox type. I would say Sehwag has two to three years still that will decide his metamorphosis from good to great. His consistency, or lack thereof, is definitely his Achilles heel. People have pointed out the entertainment value of his batting. It is true but more than that it is the value he brings to the team. You have a batsman who almost scored 300 runs in a day in a Test. If he stays at the wicket as long as say Dravid, just do the math. If he continues playing knocks like the ones at Adelaide and Galle, then he would have reached consummation as a batsman.

Posted by visionary on (August 17, 2008, 5:54 GMT)

There is no doubt that in terms of sheer numbers and 'pop entertainment' value, Sehwag's contribution to the Indian cause has been monumental. But for the purist who is mindful of technique and aesthetic value in addition to result, the sheen of Sehwag becomes glazed a bit. The fact that GR Vishwanath's batting is rated above Sunil Gavaskar is a vindication of this viewpoint. I guess after all the hoopla dies down and nostalgia is evoked, Sehwag will figure in the ranks of destructive doers rather than the skilled artisans. This is not to detract from the achievements per se but is only a reflection of diversity in viewpoints each of which has a raionale.

Posted by jagan1987 on (August 17, 2008, 2:50 GMT)

Great information and comparison. Continue your magic work sir. Expect more like this. Come up with a different personality next.

Posted by Owls on (August 17, 2008, 2:19 GMT)

I do not have the statistics but the person who has won the most number of matches and/or has saved the team from defeat deserves to be amongst the best. I wish these guys use this as the basis rather than simply going by the number of runs. Scoring tons of runs on dead wickets does not make anybody great.

Posted by tgevans on (August 16, 2008, 18:19 GMT)

Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, and Lakshman are sublime, but Sehwag on song is a symphony by itself. I worship Viswanath, but I would give Sehwag the edge as the greatest India batsman of all time, statistics be damned.

Posted by cricketingslash on (August 16, 2008, 14:19 GMT)

i think this topic can sehwag be not great and tendulkar be great? i mean both the batsmen are equally good in their own ways..tendulkar - a masterclass...and sehwag plays like a freebird!! haha let me remind to this "Suresh Menon"guy that a brainless 100 is far more better than a telent "DUCK" ...cause you know all thatmatters in a cricket pitch for a batsmen is runs...they dont care whether they are great or not...zaheer khan is allowed to score a century too suresh...why do you want him to be great as a batsman for that? gillespe was not considered a great batsman and is still not but that didnt stop him frm scoring the famous 200 ...bottomline: greatness is not about the records....

Posted by Kaushik_Vishwamitra on (August 16, 2008, 11:54 GMT)

Shewag is certainly one of the best Indian test batsman.

Shewag does not need recognition from media or writers like Suresh Menon's certificate to be a great batsman. Question Shewag's status is absolutely stupid.

We were all lucky to see the Srilanka series where we saw the battle between the dreadful magical Spin Twins versus Indian Battling line up .. Shewag stood alone and won a match for us which Proves it for the world.

Suresh Menon, Do no bring caste, religion into Cricket. For the Billion Indians Cricket itself is religion and there is no sub divisions in it.

Posted by vinchester on (August 16, 2008, 9:29 GMT)

Sehwag cannot be called A great , because he has the following shortcomings. He is not consistant, ahigh score is invariablly followed up with a string of low scores. He has certain weaknesses, the ball tucked up to his body, and he has not made any effort to rectify them. His second innings average is lower than his first which means when his opponents are fired up he is found wanting. He cannot stay at the crease for long periods, especially when the pitch, weather and ball helps the bowlers.Hitting and quick scoring definitely entertains, but does not make you great. There are situations in a match where you have to dig in, defend and grind your way out ( maybe even to draw the match) , but Sehwag is not the man for such situations.

Posted by Katri on (August 16, 2008, 9:03 GMT)

Sehwag is easily the most exciting batsman in Test cricket today. But now that the fab four will retire in the next 18 months, he will be the Indian teams pre-eminent batsman, hence there will be more responsibility on him. I am all for Sehwag playing his natural game, not trying to be technically correct by changing his footwork and not trying to prove to Boycott that he is intelligent. But I would like him become a little more responsible in the future. Case in point being the Asia cup 2008 final. When every commentator and coach in the world was trying to figure out Mendis, Sehwag charged Mendis after having a look at him for just one ball. Yes, Sehwag was firing on all barrels till then, but one ball to judge a bowler of Mendis' unorthodoxy is plainly irrational. Had he stayed on a little bit longer, probably India could have run Srilanka close. It is such rush-of-blood-to-the-head situations that he should curb in future to add further value to his team.

Posted by krs_spidey on (August 16, 2008, 9:02 GMT)

people listing sehwag's huge innings and comparing that with sachin's ducks in same match r making mistake..huge mistake..cant sachin got out on a duck on the same pitch where someone has scored 150 or 200?..when sehwag scored 319 in multan,dravid was out on duck.Does that make dravid inferior?..2 matches later dravid scored 270 and sehwag was out for under 10 there..on some occasions brett lee and warne got 50s when ponting,hayden got out very cheaply..that doesnt make them inferior..u have listed matches involving sehwag's good innings and sachin's bad innings..i can list matches where sachin played well than others only to let others causing defeat..remember 136 vs pak at chennai 1998 or 116 vas aus at melb in 1999 or 155 vs s.a. at bloemfontein in 2001(when sehwag also scored 105 on debut)..point here is that someone will perform bad when someone else performs outstanding on same day..coming to sehwag's greatness,i think he is greatest indian opener in tests since gavaskar era

Posted by swashebro on (August 16, 2008, 8:34 GMT)

The concept of the world's greatest batsmen depends on how u look at it. Are u talking about the average, total runs or the strike rate. You cannot compare Tendulkar with sehwag. they both are totally different players. Sachin has the most elegant shots ever. Sehwag is more of a agressive player. It is true that most bowlers fear sehwag. But if u ask bowlers such as murali and bret lee they fear tendulkar more. Sehwag will make the pantheon very soon, but for that he needs a very good average in ODI as well.

Posted by icesword on (August 16, 2008, 8:02 GMT)

Dear ACJ100.Correction: is not 9 tons in a row above is 11..... right from the 195 he scored at Melbourne..

Posted by ACJ100 on (August 16, 2008, 6:44 GMT)

PS the shot on 195 wasn't great but it was a terrible ball, and it was bowled by Simon Katich! Only problem is that the MCG is the biggest ground in the world....

Posted by ACJ100 on (August 16, 2008, 6:42 GMT)

I'm an Aussie and, now that Gilchrist has retired, Sehwag is my favourite batsman to watch in the world. Is it 9 tons in a row above 150? Fantastic.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (August 16, 2008, 6:33 GMT)

The contradiction of this article in addition to its perversion is best symbolised in these two statementa "But thanks to television and Cricinfo, the age of innocence is long past." and "Art has been replaced by math."

Reading these two comments I thought he will dump the math and dissect Sehwag's batting from the enjoyment angle but then he spends the rest of the article talking figures!!!

Posted by fununlimited on (August 16, 2008, 6:32 GMT)

There are better reasons to why Sehwag may not be mentioned in the same breath as the Fab 4 than his caste difference. Cricket has been always been the uniting factor for all Indians, irrespective of caste or religion. In the future, kindly avoid such statements.

Posted by zainulabideen on (August 16, 2008, 6:29 GMT)

Sehwag's ability to bat in Tests,one-dayers and 20-20 is remarkable. His contribution with bat for winning is very crucial. He is also handy with his offspin. It is not the footwork that only matters to score runs. It is the timing of the ball. By timing the ball perfectly he naturally eliminates the need of any footwork. So ultimately we need to see the score and not the technique alone. He is least bothered about his records and whenever he gets past 100 he carries a long innings. Usually a selfish batsmanm once he scores a century, he throws away his wicket whereas Sehwag carries over and he converts 100 to over 150+ in the recent times. He is a very big asset to the team. Even if he succeeds only 50% of the matches it is going to be a match winning situation for India. Therefore he should be always given the freedom to bat naturally.

Posted by icesword on (August 16, 2008, 6:22 GMT)

Am sure by the time Sehwag retires, he will be regarded as the world's best batsman. He denied a single to himself when he was batting on 199. I never expected such an act. He is a rare treat to watch. Like Pete Sampras in full flow on a grass court.

Posted by SunilPotnis on (August 16, 2008, 6:07 GMT)

I guess if we are comparing batsman irrespective style of play there are very few players who can come close to Viv Richard's eye sight, Reflexes, ability to dominate the bowling. I am really having hard time to think who can come close to him. Viv was fearless and guess if you ask bowlers, they won't accept, but they were scared to bowl to him. I don't think any batsman has dominaed bowlers pysche/mind as much as Viv. Not even Gavaskar, Chappell, Viswanath can do that. Shewag never will be so dominant.

Posted by Nampally on (August 15, 2008, 23:37 GMT)

The word "great" batsmen is subject to interpretation However for the pleasure of watching cricket, Sehwag is second to none. His style of batting is partly orthodox and partly improvised through his own skills. He totally domonates the bowling through improvisation. Sehwag is there to entertain the crowd through his own style of batting. He is every bowler's nightmare however great that bowler may be. He is not an artistic player such as Hazare or Dravid. But when it comes to scoring runs at a quick pace he is unrivalled in the world.Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Dravid or Laxman have their own way of achieving greatness but none can match Sehwag in getting the score board moving, with the exception of Tendulkar to some extent. There is no other batsmen who is as fearsome to a bowler as Sehwag. He occasionally falls to rank bad shots but his intent of controlling the bowlers always comes first. In my opinion he is the greatest cricket in the world today & best suited to modern cricket.

Posted by Atul on (August 15, 2008, 22:05 GMT)

As far as why Sehwag is not yet considered a part of the pantheon, you only need to remind yourself that Sehwag was not even in the first choice XI on the Aussie tour. The fact that he ended the tour with a match saving second innings hundred speaks a lot about his inconsistency. He seems to have returned a better player now and we certainly hope he achieves the lofy heights of the fab four.

He is certainly the best Indian opener after Gavaskar. I agree that he is a better test batsman than Ganguly but he has certainly under performed in ODIs.

With him entering the early thirties, when batsmen are supposed to play at their best, we can certainly look forward to big things from him. But he is a few steps from being in the pantheon yet.

Posted by Kapil-T on (August 15, 2008, 21:02 GMT)

Amazing player, definitely; based on form, he is currently the best Indian batsman (rankings goes to show too). If he continues to play like this, he will become one of the few Indian greats solely because of his uniqueness.

Posted by Nibsy on (August 15, 2008, 20:21 GMT)

Sehwag has the top 3 innings of this century under his belt according to the reliance mobile rankings, 319, 309 and 201 against SL. In my opinion he is much better than Tendulkar who has never hit a match winning knock which compares to the 309&201. That is the beauty of the reliance and mobile rankings it takes a host of variables into account. Until Sehwag, India did not have batter who could take on Pakistan. Surely that has to count for something. He was shunted up the order because the fab four were scared of doing the job. He took the bull by the horns and in my opinion he is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. He is an unlucky batsman because his 180 in the West Indies should have meant an Indian victory if it were not for rain. His 195 in Melbourne gave India a great start but Sachin made duck and India went on to lose. His 319 could have bought india a victory but again the fab four collapsed with Sachin making another duck. 155 v Aus in Chennai ended in a draw

Posted by India_will_win on (August 15, 2008, 19:47 GMT)

Sehwag's greatest ability is that he is capable of putting fear in the opposition and can turn around a match with his swashbuckling batting. The speed at which he scores runs leaves enough time in a test for a result. Every player is in a class of his own and it would be unfair to compare Sehwag with other batsmen of his era. The way Sehwag has clobbered some of the best attacks in the world is ample proof of his greatness. Figures could be wrong, statistics could lie but Sehwag has scored more runs against best oppositions like Australia and South Africa than weaker teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Sehwag is in a different league and it is time to recognize him as one of India's greatest batsmen.

Posted by LA_Cricket_Nut on (August 15, 2008, 19:44 GMT)

I am a huge Sehwag fan and would like to make a couple of points. ONE, Sehwag has played less than half the tests of the other three. If he sustains his averages, the longevity factor will kick in and he will certainly be up there with the others. TWO, he already is the most thrilling batsman to watch, grace or no grace. And what do you make of comments such as by Ajay42 above 'the stroke he played on 195 cost India the match and series'? Hello, was there any other batsman playing in the Indian side?

Posted by SPS1 on (August 15, 2008, 19:23 GMT)

We tend to get carried away with Tendulkar. Dravid has played more matchwinning or match saving innings than Tendulkar. Tendulkar has failed when it has mattered most and propered when it is a dead game. He has failed to handle pressure. The advantage that Sehwag has right now is that the failures of the Fab 4 overshadow the inconsistency of Sehwag himself. The editor has rightly pointed out - it would be really interesting to see how Sehwag reacts when 2 or 3 of the Fab 4 are not in the team. Whether he attempts to play more responsibly - which might in turn have a negative effect on his game - or he continues in the same fashion - lets wait and see. Poor Dravid - I feel sorry for him. I think he dug his own grave in the last couple of years. Clearly he was and is not captaincy material but took it up and rest is history. He is still suffering from the after effects of that phase. And the Royal Challenger Bangalore IPL debacle did not help. Sehwag is the key to India's Test future.

Posted by vakkaraju on (August 15, 2008, 19:08 GMT)

The comparison between Sehwag and a Viswanath is like comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruit but that's where comparisons end. The unique style and run scoring ability of Sehwag is quite incomparable. His batting at the top of the innings allows him play his way. Not quite the responsibility of playing in the middle order where the game needs to be tailored more to the situation.

Posted by redzar62 on (August 15, 2008, 18:39 GMT)

I don't think it is fair to compare Gavaskar and Vishwanath with Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman. Gavaskar and Vishwanath played in the era where they were the only two decent batsmen in the team. Vengsarkar, Amarnath, Azaruddin and Kapil Dev came much later. Those two batsmen had to carry enormous amount responsibility. Those two had to face ferocious fast bowling without any helmet or protection. If Gavaskar had played in the current India team he would have scored at least 12,000 runs and 50 test centuries. For the sake of team he had to cut down his stroke play and concentrate on defense. He retired in 1987, I remember Graham Pollock commenting why he is retiring since there are only two bowlers who are capable of getting out - Marshall and Hadlee. And look at the current test players what a pathetic defense and application level is zero.

Posted by kalyanbk on (August 15, 2008, 18:29 GMT)

Sehwag is an uncut Diamond, his greatness is in the fact that he never plays for records.

However I think this article is in poor taste and reflects how the media and politicians always play to the caste angle for sensationalism and creating rifts without any accountability. Mr. Menon should be in a position to prove in a court of law his statement that Sehwag's caste and background has stood in the way of him being appeciated by Indian cricket fans. If Mr. Menon can't back his statements in court, he should be willing to spend a term in jail for projecting all Indian cricket fans in a bad light.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (August 15, 2008, 17:50 GMT)

Sometimes a bad sentence in an article overshadows the whole point the writer is trying to put across. Using caste in this article is one such thing. I swear I never knew, and everyone one of the people whom I talked with never knew, or cared about the caste of our cricketers. This is the first time I am hearing it mentioned and it leaves a poor taste on the whole article itself. It is the last thing for sure any Indian cares about when rating their cricketers. Of this I have not one iota of doubt. <p>People don't mention Sehwag in the same league as Sunny, Sachin, or Rahul yet because he still has a long way to go to reach 10,000 runs. Once he comes closer to that milestone the comparisions will start. Also, he is a different kind of batsman compared to these three legends. He will more likely compared if he performs long enough to a Jayasurya or Viv Richards or a Gary Sobers.

Posted by maxr on (August 15, 2008, 17:06 GMT)

i've read all the articles in cricinfo then and when they are written but never posted a comment. This one required a comment. Wy do you even consider caste a barrier for him not being considered great. This is really bad for a website of crininfo's stature to even talk about caste in one of its articles. These kinda comments are just absurd and unwarranted. Please do not use such statements here after.

Sehwag is special, he has to be a bit more consistent. that day of us calling him a great is not so far.

Posted by r1m2 on (August 15, 2008, 17:02 GMT)

No, Sehwag is not great yet. For me it's mainly in the manner he gets out, rather than the manner he scores his runs or survives at the crease. When he gets out, he plays as well as Shahid Afridi. When he scores and survives, he is great enough, probably Bradmanesque. The average of the two is our Veeru. I think lately there's been a difference in his approach (at least since his participation in the IPL) where he's been more consistent than before. There is another issue with the way he bats. He scores too quickly for the team. Meaning, he is on a different wavelength than the rest and it does not help the team too much. I am afraid for as long as he scores runs as he does, and the rest of the team can't or don't try to catch up, India will NOT be better for it. Speaking of stats, I think Laxman is the greatest batsman India has produced but his stats will never show. Dravid, Tendulkar and Gangs can score plenty against milder attacks but against the best, I put my money only on VVSL.

Posted by boris6491 on (August 15, 2008, 16:56 GMT)

There is no chance that Virender Sehwag's name can be put on the same stage as an individual such as Sachin Tendulkar. I am not a Sehwag fan although see his recent form as commendable. Yet, this does not merit a comparison with the Gavaskars, Tendulkars and Laras of the world. He has never, as Mr Menon has highlighted, been consistent throughout his career and it can be argued that in the last few years prior to India's tour to Australia, his place in the side was by no means properly justified and he was given a 'free place' in the squad regardless of his poor performances on the field with 'past performances' commonly cited as a justification for his position as an Indian squad member. His style is certainly unique and impressive at times but is much too inconsistent and has not achieved near to how much Gavaskar, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and co. have achieved regardless of what statistics proclaim.

Posted by PMDE on (August 15, 2008, 16:41 GMT)

A fine piece of writing style wise (unweaving the rainbow is a splendid expression) but weak on substance. So far as the opposing bowlers are concerned, Sehwag must be the most feared of Indian batsmen, and this has not come out in the article.

Posted by cricfans2cents on (August 15, 2008, 16:23 GMT)

Sehwag throws his wicket away often. No question about that. He gets out in the same manner many times and lacks responsibility for his wicket. But I would like to see play in his own way. SRT used to be explosive, giving nightmares to bowlers in many occasions. But that is all past. Even though he is scoring runs, his explosiveness is lost. That is due to the fact that he changed his natural style. Once you alter from your natural flow, you are losing some part of your potential. If SRT, Dravid or Laxman retires, find another player who can step into their shoes rather than changing the style of a gifted batsman.

Posted by vjkins on (August 15, 2008, 16:14 GMT)

The ultimate measure of greatness of a player should be based not on runs scored, career average, or technical skill but on how effective AND consistent one has been in putting his team in a winning position, if not over the winning line.

Posted by Sanjeev on (August 15, 2008, 15:50 GMT)

AAARGH... it is one thing when an Australian journalist talks about the role of caste in the Indian team (as he did when India last visited Australia but it is even more aggravating to me to see Suresh Menon bring up caste in his writeup about Sehwag.

Sehwag is such a different kind of cricketer than anyone else in Indian cricket - Fab 4 or even historically....i.e. there is so much else to discuss, why is this nonsense about caste pertinent or even brought up!

The rest of the article is also full of such trite and dull analysis -- it makes me wonder where all the good writers at Cricinfo went! The quality of writing and analysis has definitely gone down here, Sambit. Other than your articles, every one else seems to be indulging in cliches, trying too hard to make some very poor similes, and the articles have very little actual analysis or insights that the fans of cricket could relish.

Posted by inswing on (August 15, 2008, 15:29 GMT)

I don't know if Sehwag is great or not, but the importance given to "brains" or intelligence is silly. In most sports, intelligence is not a virtue, it is a weakness. Not only you shouldn't expect your players to be smart, you shouldn't want them to be. The ability to play without thinking is a great gift. In golf, they say that you shoot your IQ. A simiar point is true for cricket, especially batsmen. I doubt seriously that Tendulkar, Lara, or Ponting are great thinkers. Sehwag plays more aggressively than anyone, so he will be more prone spectacular failures and great successes. Being "brainless" has nothing to do with failures. It does, however, have something to do with his success.

Posted by sportsguy on (August 15, 2008, 15:28 GMT)

What country doesn't want a batsman who can score runs at such a rapid pace, even if it is 3 out of 10 times because he gives them a chance to win in all those 3 matches. If he gets out quickly, other batsmen need to step up but if he stayed for even 2 sessions, you are looking at atleast 150+ runs. The problem with India is that the other batsmen don't step up. And hence, his failures are magnified. Very rarely did we have all of them click in the same match...and even if they did, most of them probably end up in a draw! I'll give an example where sachin failed to carry his bat and we lost but sachin was let off and in fact, ended up as a hero because he was batted through back pain. I'm talking about sachin's 136 against pakistan and we needed only 17 runs when sachin got out for a rash shot. Yes, he played through pain but we are talking about 17 runs. We lost and sachin was awarded the hero status because he carried his bat in spite of the pain.. Put Sehwag in the same situation!!!

Posted by spinkingKK on (August 15, 2008, 14:33 GMT)

Sehwag, certianly, is great. In my opinion, among the experienced batsmen, only Sehwag and Laxman seems to play consistently. I am not worried about statistics about who averages this and that. Only thing, as an average cricket fan I recollect is, whenever India is in trouble by some hard conditions or mesmerising bowling, Sehwag just plays his natural game and makes India proud. Laxman plays with some kind of fear, but still manages to fight hard and bring some respect to the Indian totals. These other greats, most of the time, just hits centuries against weak opposition or in a rain-affected draws and make the averages. Otherwise, they just see some non-existing deamons in the pitch and spoils the winning chances. I read some comments about Sehwag spoiling a winning chance when he scored 195 and got out (he didn't threw his wicket away. He got out in style. Would you be happy if he just nicked a ball to the keeper instead?). Someone scored 195, but they still blame him. Unforgivable.

Posted by Neo131 on (August 15, 2008, 14:21 GMT)

Why the ridiculous comment about caste? How does that impact the adulation that a player has? In fact, until I read this article, I did not even know that the rest were brahmins...this is unnecessary knowledge to a country that's already in turmoil over various issues..We certainly don't need to fight over the "class" of our cricketers

Posted by rick123 on (August 15, 2008, 14:15 GMT)

I think Shewag is outstanding and should be regarded as one of the best indian batters of all time. I find that indian fans are obsessed with tendulkar who is good but has always failed to deliver in tight situations till recently. There is a lot of slagging of ponting that he cant play in all conditions. So he had one bad series in india, that does not mean he cant play spin. Talking of great batters, schewag should be classified as one becuase i would pay money to watch him against my home team. I would not pay to watch gavaskar, Boycs or dravid who might be good but will do more to scare the paying spectators away!!

Posted by cricamateur on (August 15, 2008, 14:03 GMT)

Suresh Menon spoils the impact of his article by unnecessarily bringing in the issue of caste...don't tell me that Vijay Hazare, Vijay Merchant, and CK Nayudu were brahmins! Luckily so far, casteism does not appear to have entered the confines of cricket, but Suresh Menon takes full credit for introducing it. This part of his article not only reflects his own attitude, but is in exremely poor taste.

Posted by Stang07 on (August 15, 2008, 13:58 GMT)

Perhaps you are more articulate in writing about your points on "Jat" and "Englishness" - mere racism as noticed by manikolbe and some others. Now, I am a big fan of Sehwag and would love to watch him devastate the opposition. But at the same time, as rightly pointed out by you, when he fumbles, he is horrible. What I like about his game is the "Attitude" of a player. Opinions may differ, but I personally like that attitude when you play cricket. I watched the scores of India and SL (Some domestic team) before writing this article where emerging players of good flair like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli scored 25 odd runs in 40 balls - this is what you call pressure to perform. Sehwag doesn't care about the pressure and that's what makes him special.

Posted by Hemanthkundeti on (August 15, 2008, 13:48 GMT)

Suresh Menon, whats' wrong with you? What is that being a Jat has to do anything with his batting performance? He is not as consistent as some others were. He has the tendency to gift his wickets away in one days and tests. When he scores, he scores big. He is a genius no doubt. Dont u think Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly have been playing longer than sehwag? Sehwag is exceptional at times and mediocre at times. I love his batting. He has nothing to do with Fab four. If you want to join him alongside them, do you mean that his time has come too to drop out of the side. This article is very racist. I m not writing this because I represent upper castes. I am an NRI for god's sake. What message are you sending to people across the table? That, we are racist and dont recognise somebody's importance. You are destroying the soul of India. Everybody is the same as far as cricket is concerned. Dont bring racist elements into cricket. I plead you not to do this to your own cricket brethren.

Posted by Ajay42 on (August 15, 2008, 13:24 GMT)

For a sensible man like you, the comment about caste is ill advised and ridiculous. Sehwag must achieve more consistency to be great.Gavaskar,Tendulkar and Dravid have shouldered enormous burdens alone. Vishwanath was an artist beyond compare, in the Trumper mould. Sehwag must show that he puts the team first...he must learn to bat responsibly and show more remorse when he fails. It is all very well to be brave and hit a six to get to 300 but the stroke he played on 195 cost India the match and series.

Posted by mani86 on (August 15, 2008, 12:52 GMT)

I strongly condemn the writer for his casteist comments regarding Sehwag, Gavaskar etc. This is a despicable attempt to get cheap popularity. Such cheap comments on caste in the modern day are totally out of place and the author must apologize for hurting the sentiments of people.

Posted by Vii_Vil_Vin on (August 15, 2008, 12:48 GMT)

Indians stand united when it comes to the love for their Cricketers. Please dont bring in casteism there. As to the greatness of Sehwag, a bit more consistency is all he needs to get on to the boat. He is great in terms of winning matches, setting up the tone, and demoralising opponents; may not necessarily be great for a Dravid like Technique.!! Still, all that matters are the results!!

Posted by Tony_Vinayak on (August 15, 2008, 12:23 GMT)

I think you nailed the main two attributes, Suresh, that get in the way of Sehwag being hailed a great: * There is function but not enough form. The word "grace" can easily be associated with the greats, while one would be hard pressed to tag Sehwag likewise. * There are runs but consistency has been questionable. Averages can be misleading, as one huge score once in a while can bump up the averages.

Posted by neeshli on (August 15, 2008, 11:46 GMT)

Putting Sehwag's absence in the list of great Indian batsmen to caste is missing the point completely. Casteism, though prevalent in various degrees across the indian social sprectrum has never come in the way of an indian cricketer being showered with love and affection by the average indian cricket fan. It has never stopped the average indian fan from appreciating a player's worth fully. Sehwag's absence from the list of great indian batsmen could be attributed to a chronic lack of consistency, a certian disregard,contempt even for classicism, and maybe a carefree approach makes batting look ridiculously easy and way less challenging than it actually is. All the points that Suresh has spoken about in his article, but DEFINITELY NOT caste.

Posted by MadeInIndia on (August 15, 2008, 11:46 GMT)

Why does caste come into the picture here. Hello? Please come out of your racist thinking Mr.Suresh.

Coming to Sehwag, he is the most destructive batsman ever in the history of test cricket. With such a high strike rate, he still managed the average of 54 which speaks about the genius inside him. I would rate him second to only Bradman, considering the latter's average is much much higher than Sehwag's. He is far superior than any others who have the same batting average as his, because he scores at a much more rapid pace than them.

Posted by tongy on (August 15, 2008, 11:18 GMT)

Maybe this needs a non-Indian to comment. Look at it from this angle: England had a similar style batsman, albeit not quite in the same scoring vein, in Marcus Trescothick. A player with not particularly great foot movement, but an ability to score quickly at the top of the innings. English cricket didn't quite appreciate the value of this launch pad until Tresco retired. How english cricket misses those supercharged starts now we have the cautious Strauss and Cook opening proceedings. Sehwag is of course a better cricketer than Tresco, but a similar player. The nature of such a player is that he will fail and go through periods of failure, but he is worth persevering with because of the big innings. Lets face it, India won the second test against SL because of the supercharged start from Sehwag. It doesn't matter what they did with the ball, take Sehwag's innings out of the equation and SL would have won easily. He is a player to be cherished.

Posted by Supratik on (August 15, 2008, 11:02 GMT)

Forget Television or Statsguru. No amount of stats or replays seen from the couch can tell one about the greatness of a batsman. Just as you found Vishy greater than Gavaskar, I have no doubt that Gavaskar was even greater than a Richards or a Chappell, who were batsmen of the highest order themselves. Batting is not just about slam-bang with these modern equipments of destruction (with the armour of the helmet as a defense) on smaller grounds, covered pitches, less than great bowlers etc. The strength of your own team, the strength of the opposition, the situation of your team and the conditions matter more than anything else. A Tendulkar or a Lara played more difficult bowlers in the 90s than a Ponting, a Dravid or a Kallis has played in the last 6-7 years. Here's a small challenge, let Sehwag (with his weakness against the short ball at his body) play without a helmet against a decent attack, then we shall judge. To keep it simple, watching him is great fun not less not more!

Posted by Manush on (August 15, 2008, 10:38 GMT)

He would have done better,had he not been dropped,suddenly,for the test cricket, by the selectors,which was a very poor decision. He had a lean period like any other cricketer in the world,that too only in the one day games. The selectors have shown their poor quality judgment. He was the vice captain to be elevated to Captaincy. Even now he is one of the four players who is qualified to play in all formats of the game.He now again stands to become the captain for the test cricket.

Posted by maddykash on (August 15, 2008, 10:13 GMT)

The mentioning of the caste issue spoiled all the impression about this article. Can't we leave that aspect from consideration in any area?! You are lacking something, if you believe fans know the castes and 'gotras' of the crickters. They play cricket and we like and dislike them over what we see..Not which prayer hall the player attends. I dont know who are the ones with brahmin origin and who are not..But I am a thorough 'Sehwag fan' and also I'm a Brahmin.

Posted by prashant1 on (August 15, 2008, 9:55 GMT)

I think it would be more appropriate to compare Sehwag with say a Lara... Bang,Bang players who when in tend to fill their boots and make it count. It is ridiculous to even compare Sehwag to an exqusitely balanced genius like Tendulkar.

Posted by Cric_monk on (August 15, 2008, 9:08 GMT)

Sehwag is certainly playing well at the moment and if we consider his ability to change the game within one or two is absolutely phenomenal.I dont think even Gavaskar or Tendulkar or Dravid have managed to do thathad he played in the first 2 tests in Australia,we would have had a different result for sure..the problem is with the lack of consistency.He has age on his side though and it will be really interesting to see how he shoulders the responsibility in Tendulkar and Dravid's absence.His 201 at Galle was a very matured innings and hopefully these are signs of maturity which has been missing.I would rate him higher than Ganguly and possibly Laxman(based on statistics,though Laxman is a huge personal favourite).We should judge all of them together maybe when their careers are finished and Sehwag might stand out as one of the top three!

Posted by roarster on (August 15, 2008, 9:05 GMT)

"Lies, damn lies and stastistics" Mark Twain (among others) is credited with saying. In this case Virender's statistic of 15 centuries does not come close to capturing the destructive nature of his batting at the top of the order. Of the 15 tons only 4 have been scores of less than 150 and there have been 3 doubles and an amazing 2 triples. In short what this means is when this guy scores he scores big. Often monster individual totals such as these eat into the clock and leave teams with little time to force a result. Lara's pair of landmark knock against England in Antigua (375 & 400*), outstanding as they were, left no time for all 4 innings to be complete and rendered a result impossible. Sehwag's substantial contributions are done at such a lick that a positive result remains a viable option. It is to his team-mates detriment and not his own that they have so often failed to capitalise on his fireworks. I rank him with the modern greats of world cricket, not just the Indian game.

Posted by Dixy109 on (August 15, 2008, 9:00 GMT)

Though Sehwag is undoubtedly a class batsman with two test triple hundreds to his name he does not have the right temperament and is prone to get himself out in whimsical ways and he could never possibly match the batting feats of Brian Lara or Sanath Jayasuriya among other attacking batsman who have the right frame of mind to contemplate the match situation and really build an innings.

Posted by manikolbe on (August 15, 2008, 8:31 GMT)

I guess i have to disagree with you slightly Mr.Suresh Menon. Sehwag is not considered in the same class simply because he started long after the fab4 and has played only half number of test matches compared to them. Also I like to point out that there is a hint of racism here are there in you article, both international and domestic!

Posted by tusharkardile on (August 15, 2008, 8:02 GMT)

What a pointless article. You use batting average or greatness? Then greats like Victor Trumper will come nowhere near. I think what matters more is how much impact a player has on the game, on the minds of people and to an extent results. I think sehwag has a great impact in all three areas. If you talk about his consistensy, then its like dance of a peacock.... you dont see it everyday, but when you see it, you consider yourself fortunate. would leave those tables with numbers for later, when Sehvag is retired. Till then just sit back and enjoy the ride. Also Sehwag stands out because of his attitude on and off field, not because of his caste.

Posted by Bright_honey on (August 15, 2008, 7:12 GMT)

What is caste has to do with the cricket. By the way, good article but i would say that there is a long way to go for Sehwag to reach the likes of Sachin and Dravid. The way he approached this 60 test innings will say it all, that he is a gifted cricket who has lot of talent, will be a legend if he pays more respect to his wicket and realize that he is an important cricketer in Indian ODI's and as well as tests.

Posted by drinks.break on (August 15, 2008, 6:27 GMT)

PPRK, while I don't deny Sehwag's a good batsman, you should check your facts before putting other batsmen down. Ponting has a better record than Sehwag across the full variety of conditions. There are only 2 countries where Ponting averages less than 40, as opposed to 4 for Sehwag. The fact than one of those 2 is India may have influenced your judgment, however given that his combined average across Pak, Bang & SL is almost 65, I would suggest that his India record is the exception, not the rule. Sehwag still has a way to go to demonstrate that he is the equal of a Ponting, Tendulkar or Dravid.

Posted by ndayannanda on (August 15, 2008, 6:24 GMT)

It is the obscession with statistics( Hayden said it about Indian batsmen few years ago) that is holding a player like Sehwag down. He is not Dravid, Laxman or Tendulkar,BUT what a opening gambit! Few teams in the ages had a more threatening player at the topend;maybe Greenidge- only if you could forget about the statistics for a minute- but he had a world class followup. Sehwag, with a good followup and bowling attack, would have been not just devastating but demoralising- that all important component advocated by Waugh. Unfortunate that his big scores have usually demoralised his own teammates, that they have not followed the lead- the 2nd test Vs SL was just an encore- and then have a passive bowling attack- Can a imagine a Sehwag as a bowling component- the golden team of WI had them- and how they pulvaried teams! Sehwag plays for the wrong team and for the wrong reasons- but certainly a great. I would rather watch Sehwag, the idiot, than Boycott, the Genius!

Posted by KWAK on (August 15, 2008, 6:22 GMT)

My favourite batsman of all time has to be Brian Charles Lara. It was Lara who had the tenacity to do what no batsman in the world could do; to acieve targets which would be thought impossible in other circumstances. Set his team a target of 400 to chase in the fourth innings in few overs, as long as Lara was there it was possible. No Batsman in the world could score 300 with as much ease as lara, and with as much style and sophistication as Lara possessed; no except Virender Sehwag. Sehwag has destructive abilities when batting like many batsman in the modern era, such as Adam Gilchrist, Cris Gayle, Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Peterson etc but none of these batsmen possess the power to accumulate as many runs in as little time as a Lara or a Sehwag. Surely if Sehwag was able to achieve consistency he would genuinely be regarded as the most dangerous batmans since Richards. For sheer heart, will power and desire to score runs Sehwag ranks amongst the very best India has ever produced.

Posted by Sudhey on (August 15, 2008, 5:49 GMT)

A well written article, however, it is not a great idea to compare the averages of Sehwag with others at this stage of his career. Currently, Sehwag is probably at the peak of his prowess, while the likes of Sachin and Dravid are going through a bad phase. A comparison would only be possible once these 3 retire. As far as my personal opinion goes, Sehwag, like Laxman and Azhar, is an Indian cricket legend, but probably not in the same class as Sachin or Gavaskar. This is because there were times when the latter two carried the weight of the entire Indian batting on their shoulders. Just one more thing, you should not have mentioned about as insignificant an issue as caste in the article.

Posted by venbas on (August 15, 2008, 5:37 GMT)

I am surprised that in this global day and age, Suresh menon is talking about caste origin of Indian cricketers to make the case of Sehwag. Even if Sachin had originated from a non-descripit tribe in the Andamans, he would still have been the toast of India for his exploits. Ditto with others. Why we have the majestic charming Punjabi Yuvraj cooling his heels during Tests just because he is not good enough for Test Match cricket. With the corporatization of Cricket, only results and consistency matters. If you look at the averages, the Fab four would have consistently performed(Not necessarily making some big hundreds for every 10 poor innings) against the strongest opposition to earn their fame. All said I still love to watch the audacity of Sehwag against any opposition or bowler. Brainless or not, he is a delight as long as he stays at the wicket.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 15, 2008, 5:18 GMT)

Virender Sehwag is certainly up there in the pantheon already. That he is being considered as one nearly there would seem to be because of his rustic background and his approach to batting being seen only in that light. Then news bits like him preferring milk as a drink to any other have probably caused him to be seen in a wrestling pit grappling for supremacy. That is the irony of it all because if he was articulate and suave he would have been placed in the pantheon by the media by now. Though cricket is an English game, one can see through Sehwag that there is more to the game than just its initial identity. It is not dissimilar to Learie Constantine being considered inferior to Bradman. They say Sehwag lacks footwork. Actually his stance with his feet planted wide gives him the balance and enables him to shift weight to either foot with just a twitch of his muscles.The speed at which the ball travels to the boundary justifies his method. This is something for the coaching manual.

Posted by vatsall on (August 15, 2008, 4:17 GMT)

yes . he is obviously in the top five indian test batsmen ever to have lived . he is not the greatest in odis but he is simply devastating in tests . he can also be seen as a future test captain after india's loss to sri lanka in the recent test series in kumble's hands as kumvle is on the verge of retiring .

Posted by NumberXI on (August 15, 2008, 4:07 GMT)

In a generation obsessed with statistics, the likes of Ponting tend to be rated very highly for their record. Yet, what sets Sehwag apart from - and a notch above - the likes of Ponting is that, like SRT, Dravid and the rest, he gets his runs in all conditions against all types of bowling. And he does so at a rate that is astonishingly quick. Besides, he has no prferences. You can expect Sehwag to go after the bowling in India with the same seriousness as he would in South Africa, Australia or Bangladesh.

Therefore, to ask if he fits in India's all time batting greats is to do him injustice. For sheer hunger for runs and batting talent, Sehwag is on the verge of being rated among the best in the world today, and maybe of all time.

Posted by Madscience on (August 15, 2008, 4:03 GMT)


You have a sick mind when you say " Perhaps there is a deeper reason, his Jat working-class background versus the middle-class Brahmin origin of the others".

Where the hell does Cricinfo get off publishing junk statements like this. Whats next Mr.Menon, writing about Irfan pathan saying he is discriminated against because he is a Muslim? God ; get your brain cells in order; where the hell does caste or religion come into cricket?

Other than that, its a nice article about one my favorite players; he might not have the grace of dravid, or the aura of tendulkar: but he sure does know how to entertain an audience.

A rare gem thrown away by almost the world and especially India as too defective to polish

Posted by SunilPotnis on (August 15, 2008, 3:43 GMT)

Shewag is a good player but certainly cannot be ranked in the great ones. One of the most important aspects of great players is they sum up the situation, good OR bad, play accordingly and turn around the match on a coin. There may be handful of situations where Shewag may have done it but when we talk about of players like Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Tendulkar, Shewag is far from that league. He is devastating on his days, few though, but good bowlers can outsmart him with sheer intelligent bowling. There are too many gaps between his TWO solid innings and that indicates a good streaky player. One of the strong points of great player is consistency and Shewag dearly lacks that.

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Suresh Menon Suresh Menon went from being a promising cricketer to a has-been, without the intervening period of a major career. He played league cricket in three cities with a group of overgrown enthusiasts who had the reverse of amnesia - they could remember things that never happened. For example, taking incredible catches at slip, or scoring centuries. Somehow Menon found the time to be the sports editor of the Pioneer and the Indian Express in New Delhi, Gulf News in Dubai, and the editor of the New Indian Express in Chennai. Currently he is a columnist with publications in India and abroad, and is beginning to think he might never play for India.

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