December 4, 2009

Sehwag more destructive than Richards

Time to cut out the buts and salute Sehwag for what he is: one of the greats of batting
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When Virender Sehwag gets going, it's like you're watching a James Bond movie. He can drive a car over a cliff, dodge bullets, fight off 20 armed men bare-handed - all of it while wearing a crisp suit, which remains uncrumpled. Only that in Sehwag's case it is all for real: each of those strokes can get him out.

In causing stroke-making to appear so outrageously simple, Sehwag does himself a disservice. Often the true quality of a batting performance is judged by what the batsman is up against, the kind of bowlers on offer, and the conditions. But when Sehwag starts to rain fours and sixes, it becomes impossible to make sense of anything: the bowlers appear fangless, the pitches seem highways, and the match situation becomes absolutely irrelevant.

Sometimes the batsmen who follow him help put the matter in perspective by appearing human, but often the opponents have been left too scarred by the shellacking to recover their wits. In Chennai last December, India found themselves chasing 387 on a wearing pitch. The enduring image of the match is of Sachin Tendulkar's delicately swept four off Graeme Swann to bring up his 41st hundred and the Indian victory; but in a match featuring four centuries, the decisive innings had come from Sehwag: an astonishing 68-ball 83 in the final session of the fourth day that brought he target down to just over 300 in a flash. In a mere 20 overs, England had slipped from being firm favourites to fumbling underdogs.

The most staggering aspect of Sehwag's career, of course, is that a batsman so outrageous should be so prolific. The words used to describe him - entertainer, destroyer, maverick, match-winner - fail to capture the whole essence of Sehwag. And perhaps because of his methods there has been a reluctance to place him alongside the gods of batting. But there is little left for him to prove now: he is a stunning and extraordinary batsman, to whom the term "great" should be applied without qualifications.

His numbers are up there with the very best. Seventy-two Tests is substantial sample, and over 6000 runs at over 50, with 17 hundreds, comfortably stands up to statistical scrutiny. But there is one number that sets him apart. No batsman in the history of cricket has scored his runs as quickly. In the list of batsmen to have scored 6000 Test runs, he, with a strike-rate of just over 80, stands more than 10 points adrift of the next best man. That man, Viv Richards, scored his runs at a shade below 70.

Reduce the qualification to 5000 runs and there are only two men who have been recorded to have scored faster. But both Kapil Dev and Adam Gilchrist batted at No. 7; Kapil averaged only 31.50, and Sehwag has 700 more runs in 14 fewer Tests than Gilchrist, whose average was boosted by 20 not-outs as against Sehwag's five.

On a more like-like for list, of contemporary top-order batsmen, Sehwag stands miles ahead. Sachin Tendulkar (12,917 runs at 54.73) has a strike-rate of 54.12, Ricky Ponting (11,400 runs at 55.88) scores at a rate of 59.41, Matthew Hayden (8625 runs at 50.73) got his at 60.10, and Brian Lara (11,953 runs at 52.88) at 60.51. Sanath Jayasuriya comes closest, with a strike-rate of 65.10, but his average is just over 40.

But of course, numbers are merely the starting point. Greatness is judged by a number of other factors. Quality of opponents, versatility, the ability to score in different conditions, and most of all being able to turn up when it matters. Sehwag ticks all these boxes emphatically.

His first hundred came in his debut Test, on a lively pitch in Bloemfontein after India had lost four wickets for not many. He has gone on to score big hundreds in diverse conditions in Nottingham, Melbourne, Chennai, Mumbai, Lahore and Galle. He has collared Shane Warne, shredded Shoaib Akhthar, got the better of Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, finished off Saqlain Mushtaq's career, and walloped Mutthiah Muralitharan like no one, including Lara, has before. He has set up wins and saved more Tests than he is given credit for.

The words used to describe him - entertainer, destroyer, maverick, match-winner - fail to capture the whole essence of Sehwag. And perhaps because of his methods there has been a reluctance to place him alongside the gods of batting

That his second triple-hundred, a better-than-run-a-ball 319 against South Africa in Chennai came in a run-fest often obscures the fact that India started the innings trying to save the Test, facing 540. By the time Sehwag finished, he was speaking of winning it. His previous century, an uncharacteristically stodgy 151 in Adelaide had been a decidedly match-saving effort, on the final day of the Test. It was the only time, Sehwag reflects with pride, that he went an entire session without hitting a four.

It is in the hitting of fours that Sehwag reveals his true genius. Fours are the foundation of his batting, and he is obsessive about them. During an interview last year, we asked him which bowlers he found most difficult. McGrath and Murali, Sehwag said. The reason: he couldn't hit them for fours when he wanted to.

No plan to tie Sehwag down has ever succeeded. Nasser Hussain managed to frustrate Tendulkar for long periods in 2001 by getting Ashley Giles to bowl two feet outside the leg stump from over the wicket. The matter came to an excruciating pass in the Bangalore Test, where Giles bowled 99 dots balls to Tendulkar out of 112. Sehwag, playing in his fourth Test then, found a refreshingly simple way to put an end to the nonsense. He went wide of his leg stump, down the wicket, and clouted Giles back over his head. Of his 66 runs, 27 came against Giles, with six fours. It was infectious: soon Tendulkar hit Giles for two consecutive fours and was stumped, for the first time in his career, after charging down to hit a third.

The theme has continued through Sehwag's career. At the Brabourne Stadium yesterday, Murali set the leg trap with a forward short leg, short mid-on, and midwicket. Inevitably the next ball was pitched on middle and spun across outside leg. And inevitably Sehwag hit it for four. Reverse-swept to third man. Later in the day, he played a paddle reverse-sweep against the same bowler, this time to a faster and slightly shorter ball.

And when Rangana Herath fired the first ball of the 60th over down the leg side, Sehwag cast a quizzical glance at the umpire, protesting perhaps that the ball should have been called a wide. And then proceeded to deal with the matter himself by twice jumping wide and far down the wicket to loft the ball, inside out, over extra cover. Throughout the innings he found ways to score in boundaries, through drives and lofted shots, and equally, with chips and deft touches. One ball from Chanaka Welegedara he deflected off the face of his bat past second slip.

It was his ability to strike fear in the hearts of bowlers that set Richards apart. It can be argued that bowling stocks were healthier in that age, but a man can't be held guilty of not being able to choose his circumstances. It's futile wondering how Sehwag would fared in the 70s and 90s. Against the best that his times have offered him, Sehwag has been more destructive than even Richards. Let's cut out the buts now.

Postscript: Of course I defend your right to disagree with me but I would not like you to disagree with something I didn't say. Nowhere did I say, or mean to say, that Sehwag is a greater batsman than Richards. These are my exact words: "Against the best that his times have offered him, Sehwag has been more destructive than even Richards." That's a statement of fact, borne out by numbers. The conclusion I sought to draw was that Sehwag has earned the right to be termed a great batsman in his age.

With this clarified, let's carry on the discussion.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • quantum on December 5, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Richards was conceivably more constructive off the field. He is d maan. Seriously speaking, Sehbag is an alltime great, like Richards. He does that with a gentle appearance, without chewing gums. When in form, both come in the eleven, at number 1 and 3.

  • rubys on December 5, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    i thought you had some credibility, to compare sehwag greater than richards you should have your head exmained. With mediocre bowling standards in test cricket nowadays and batsmen friendly pitches yeah right. Come out of your indian thinking box get real.

  • Unbias_Mohomads on December 5, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    I can only say this India is going well with the help of the umpires If not so why they rejected the referal system.. India is afraid of Sri Lanka

  • karim_s on December 5, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    Anyone who says that Viv Richards did not face great bowlers knows nothing about cricket. Yes he did not face the west indian greats (in international competition), but he had to face imran/sarfaraz, lille/thompson, kapil, hadlee, botham, and abdul qadir just to name a few.

    that said i agree with chokkashokka ... comparing cricketers across time is a foolish exercise ... the game is very different now. pointless article.

  • afridi102 on December 5, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    @cricfan and all indian fans, if sehwag = lara at this stage of hiscareer, sehwag is superior to tendulkar, dravid and al of your othe greats.... the same stats u r using to compare sehwag with richards can be used to compare sehwwag and tendulkar... in the 70s only 8 people averages more than 50, in the 80s they were just 6, and in sehwag era they are 22.... that is just for all of you to think before posting such rubish....

  • Nemo2011 on December 5, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    I could not resis myself!! I am disappointed by the fact that a large number of people out of 243 commented here DO NOT LOVE CRICKET. Some of the commets are completely OUT OF ORDER, unfortunately done without reading the article throughly. If you are reading Cricinfo and making a comment, please first try to love the game, otherwise please do NOT waste everybody's time.

    As far as my opinion concerned, I did not see much of VIV, but read a lot about the legand. But there is a good case what Sambit points out about VIRU as far as destructiveness is concerned. There is no doubt that there is VIRU, and there is everbody else in world cricket at present just becasue of the way he approaches the game. Good Luck VIRU...SKY is the LIMIT.

  • ZA77 on December 5, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    Another great inning by Sehwag. As this is not the first one he already scored 319, 309 and now 293, all in Asia. In Asia, he scored all his six double hundreds on flat pitches. Beside Asia, his record is only good with 5 centuries and 5 half centuries with highest score 195 in Australia. His batting average is only 30.9 in Africa and in England only 39.5 and in Oceania 44.04.

    Just take a look in this inning of him, Murli is already not in rhythm and other bowlers are even not an average bowlers with flat pitch so from quality point of view, this is inning is not one of the great inning in test cricket. No doubt, he proved himself and he is very good batsman too but comparing him with Sir Viv is impossible. I think there is no match between both batsman.

    From quality point of view, even it is more difficult to make judgement either he is better or Laxman is better in batting in test cricket. Sehwag never played master piece inning like his 281.

  • Ribs on December 5, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    I am totally agreeing with Sambit, Viru is more destructive than Viv. I dont agree with the people comment about easy pitches. During Viv days West Indies is the more brutal attack and he doesn't need to face them except in the nets. When Viv rated Kapil's 175 not out more than Viv's 183 according to the circumstances. Luckily Viv batted for the side which rules that period and Viv can play more freely.Viru case is differant he always brough the team from the scratch and his innings wins and saves more than anybody else. His 151* agt Aussies saves match, 319 agt SA brough us to dictate the things. His 309 against Pak and 201 againt Srillanka won match for us. I never seen some one batting fearless like him. Most of the people are talking about him as un unorthodox player they dont know the great Bradman is so unorthodox. He is a very big entertainer and always we feel that he is playing in a differant pitch. People wont forget the famous Bond series only he scored runs our Sachin fails

  • prashant1 on December 5, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    Also, it is blatantly obviousl most of the rude, adverse comments with personal references to the author all originate from a particular geographical location (using fake screen names no doubt)...some ppl will never mature.

  • AZY99 on December 5, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    Sehwag is a fine player. But notice notice that his triple hundred have all come in India, on placid batting wickets. It will be interesting to see him perform on wickets in Australia and South Africa on bouncy tracks that have pace and carry. Then a better analysis can be derived and of ofcourse comparisons with greats like Vivian. I dont think Sehwag would have as belligerent if the likes of Malinga or Prasad would have played. He not the best agaisnt extreme pace and Samit you should know that. He brings around his bat from gully area ready to carve the ball, genuine pace could undo him or at least restrict him. No doubt he is a good player, but yet to prove his greatness. Sri Lanka should have known better to include a bit of pace in the attack, unlike Kulesekera who is not a test bowler for me. I think your article is biased on the fact that you are an Indian, and Indians love to brag about their own. Why is Sachin the best in the world, only 1 200? Thats because he is!!!

  • quantum on December 5, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Richards was conceivably more constructive off the field. He is d maan. Seriously speaking, Sehbag is an alltime great, like Richards. He does that with a gentle appearance, without chewing gums. When in form, both come in the eleven, at number 1 and 3.

  • rubys on December 5, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    i thought you had some credibility, to compare sehwag greater than richards you should have your head exmained. With mediocre bowling standards in test cricket nowadays and batsmen friendly pitches yeah right. Come out of your indian thinking box get real.

  • Unbias_Mohomads on December 5, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    I can only say this India is going well with the help of the umpires If not so why they rejected the referal system.. India is afraid of Sri Lanka

  • karim_s on December 5, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    Anyone who says that Viv Richards did not face great bowlers knows nothing about cricket. Yes he did not face the west indian greats (in international competition), but he had to face imran/sarfaraz, lille/thompson, kapil, hadlee, botham, and abdul qadir just to name a few.

    that said i agree with chokkashokka ... comparing cricketers across time is a foolish exercise ... the game is very different now. pointless article.

  • afridi102 on December 5, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    @cricfan and all indian fans, if sehwag = lara at this stage of hiscareer, sehwag is superior to tendulkar, dravid and al of your othe greats.... the same stats u r using to compare sehwag with richards can be used to compare sehwwag and tendulkar... in the 70s only 8 people averages more than 50, in the 80s they were just 6, and in sehwag era they are 22.... that is just for all of you to think before posting such rubish....

  • Nemo2011 on December 5, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    I could not resis myself!! I am disappointed by the fact that a large number of people out of 243 commented here DO NOT LOVE CRICKET. Some of the commets are completely OUT OF ORDER, unfortunately done without reading the article throughly. If you are reading Cricinfo and making a comment, please first try to love the game, otherwise please do NOT waste everybody's time.

    As far as my opinion concerned, I did not see much of VIV, but read a lot about the legand. But there is a good case what Sambit points out about VIRU as far as destructiveness is concerned. There is no doubt that there is VIRU, and there is everbody else in world cricket at present just becasue of the way he approaches the game. Good Luck VIRU...SKY is the LIMIT.

  • ZA77 on December 5, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    Another great inning by Sehwag. As this is not the first one he already scored 319, 309 and now 293, all in Asia. In Asia, he scored all his six double hundreds on flat pitches. Beside Asia, his record is only good with 5 centuries and 5 half centuries with highest score 195 in Australia. His batting average is only 30.9 in Africa and in England only 39.5 and in Oceania 44.04.

    Just take a look in this inning of him, Murli is already not in rhythm and other bowlers are even not an average bowlers with flat pitch so from quality point of view, this is inning is not one of the great inning in test cricket. No doubt, he proved himself and he is very good batsman too but comparing him with Sir Viv is impossible. I think there is no match between both batsman.

    From quality point of view, even it is more difficult to make judgement either he is better or Laxman is better in batting in test cricket. Sehwag never played master piece inning like his 281.

  • Ribs on December 5, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    I am totally agreeing with Sambit, Viru is more destructive than Viv. I dont agree with the people comment about easy pitches. During Viv days West Indies is the more brutal attack and he doesn't need to face them except in the nets. When Viv rated Kapil's 175 not out more than Viv's 183 according to the circumstances. Luckily Viv batted for the side which rules that period and Viv can play more freely.Viru case is differant he always brough the team from the scratch and his innings wins and saves more than anybody else. His 151* agt Aussies saves match, 319 agt SA brough us to dictate the things. His 309 against Pak and 201 againt Srillanka won match for us. I never seen some one batting fearless like him. Most of the people are talking about him as un unorthodox player they dont know the great Bradman is so unorthodox. He is a very big entertainer and always we feel that he is playing in a differant pitch. People wont forget the famous Bond series only he scored runs our Sachin fails

  • prashant1 on December 5, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    Also, it is blatantly obviousl most of the rude, adverse comments with personal references to the author all originate from a particular geographical location (using fake screen names no doubt)...some ppl will never mature.

  • AZY99 on December 5, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    Sehwag is a fine player. But notice notice that his triple hundred have all come in India, on placid batting wickets. It will be interesting to see him perform on wickets in Australia and South Africa on bouncy tracks that have pace and carry. Then a better analysis can be derived and of ofcourse comparisons with greats like Vivian. I dont think Sehwag would have as belligerent if the likes of Malinga or Prasad would have played. He not the best agaisnt extreme pace and Samit you should know that. He brings around his bat from gully area ready to carve the ball, genuine pace could undo him or at least restrict him. No doubt he is a good player, but yet to prove his greatness. Sri Lanka should have known better to include a bit of pace in the attack, unlike Kulesekera who is not a test bowler for me. I think your article is biased on the fact that you are an Indian, and Indians love to brag about their own. Why is Sachin the best in the world, only 1 200? Thats because he is!!!

  • va_jatt on December 5, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    dont' compare richard with veeru.. richard is a legend.. and veeru have lot more to show us to become a legend,,,, comparing them its like comparing sachin with ricky,, j kallis n don' bradman only person is equall to sachin is lara ......

  • 12karan on December 5, 2009, 5:14 GMT

    The writer has gone overboard and has no idea what to write and forgotten the history. First of all the conditions are batsman friendly now as pitches are covered, rules changed, very protective gear etc. Just imagine damp pitch with uneven bounce and no helmets with fast bowlers bowling unlimited bouncers, Sehwag would never have been so successful. The author has also forgotten that Warne and McGrath in particular was rarely tamed and he got better of Sehwag and even Tendulkar at least 90% of time. So just do not ignore the facts and history.

  • CricFan24 on December 5, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    At a similar stage of their careers Sehwag is better than Lara. You cannot base a sweeping statement like lara is better than sehwag on a couple of inn. like the 153 (which also contained good dollops of luck and numerous other factors) or a marathon like the quadruple( after all hayden,jayawardene etc are all within a few runs of it)....Lara's main claim to fame is big knocks scored at good speed- not great consistency, technique, single taking,strike rotation, match saving knocks, balance, defense etc etc....you associate Lara with style and some big, fast knocks- exactly what you associate Sehwag with (with lesser style)...but Sehwag gets the bigger knocks much much faster than lara...as someone said Sehwag=Lara on steroids.

  • manasvi.lingam on December 5, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Uh oh! Now you've done it Sambit... Lots of enraged fans of "The King" throwing up myriad reasons why Richards is more destructive than Sehwag. And in the process, heaping a lot of scorn on Sehwag and on you as well. Personally, I feel you may have jumped the gun this time. Better bats, easier pitches, easier bowlers (though Richards didn't face the WI pace quartet or spinners like Warne and Murali) make Richards the more destructive of the two, even though he came in the middle order, instead of having to negotiate the new ball. There is no doubting that Sehwag's appetite for big centuried has only been matched by a few - The Don and B.C. Lara among them.

  • TMS8137 on December 5, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    236 comments and counting. WOW!!!!

  • 8ankitj on December 5, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    I think we are doing too much dissection on intentions of the writer. Honestly, many many cricket followers asked this question to oneself - Is Sehwag more destructive than Richards? I did too, and my answer to that was same as Sambit Bal's, purely on the basis of strike rates the two had, and the rate at which Sehwag scores double hundreds.

    That however is not, I repeat NOT, same as saying Sehwag is a greater cricketer than Richards. Richards was more consistent and butchered best of the bowlers. So let's not create a strawman argument out of it.

  • jjs_canada on December 5, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    Viv never faced the best bowling attack, which was his own team. Sehwag has played way more wonderful innings in Auz , Pak, SA, NZ. So why this crap ? Viv did not wear helmet b'coz it was not available. So don't use that as an excuse to prove someone greater than other. If Sehwag is scoring b'coz of helmet, then all batsmen in the world wear it, why ot they score like him ? People are forgetting one thing, that pitches are more lively than ever in today's era. If you see test results, there are very few draws than Viv's time. If you see neutrally, then its obvious that Sehwag is better than Viv at present. I am not saying anything about future.

  • SatyajitM on December 5, 2009, 4:15 GMT

    I would tend to agree to Sambit that Sehwag can be more destructive than Richards on his day. Sambit isn't saying Sehwag is better batsman. Even if you leave bowling standard aside, the pitches are surely more friendly now a days. How often did you here about a 700+ score by a team in the eightees and ninetees? This has happened twice in this series (plus there is another 600+) score. Sehwag is probably one guy who would keep on attacking the bowler even if he had already hit the bowler for three boundaries in an over. Even Viv would have been happy at least in that over and not attack the bowler anymore. On the other hand Sehwag hasn't been able to repeat his success in ODI, where Richards excelled as well. There is certain one dimension to Sehwag's batting. What happens if Sehwag is able to control himself for first half an hour and then plays his shots? Only time will tale. At current though Sehwag is more destructive, Richards was easily more versatile and a greater batsman.

  • RajitD on December 5, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    The quality of the bowling attack separates a good team from a great team. WI were world champs becuase of Holding, Garner, Roberts, Marshallo, Croft, etc. Sir Richards played for the best team of his era, and never had to play the above. The only other serious quality bowling he had to face was Lillee and Thommo.

    Viru does NOT play for the best team of this generation, because the team has never had a top tier attack. Viru has had to face the best, and come out on tops, scoring 6 scores over 200, whereas Sir Viv got only 3; two of them in a single series!

    Much as Wasim Akram is the most potent fast bowler in my book, and might I add Javed Miandad the most gritty; I think Viru is the most destructive. Again, taking nothing away from Sir Viv, who got me hooked onto cricket in the first place.

  • chokkashokka on December 5, 2009, 3:53 GMT

    I love my apples and I love my oranges - but can't compare the two. Both great but very different. Why the editor would choose a headline/topic like this is clear - hits and 228 responses. Silly shameless tabloid mentality - please get creative and share your insight with the reader, if you have any.

  • Kaushalya_Gurudeniya on December 5, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    Are you talking about all forms of cricket or only test cricket. If all forms of the game, the best in the business is Sanath Jayasuriya, If you are witness the 1996 world cup and after Sanath is playing and how other teams struggle to control him you never say this. I remember once Australians were used steav waugh to open the balling because they fear their master bowlers like McGra and other will suffer.

    Even talking about Test cricket only there are many great players than shewag even in this era. Rickey Ponting is on of the best in the business and there are many more. I don't name them here but if you are a true cricket fan and not blinded by the country boundaries you know what i mean.

  • first_last on December 5, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    I totally disagree with Sambit. Richards is a classic player who is a mixture of class with aggression. He has played on pitches more balanced (for bowlers and batsmen), more quality bowlers, tougher umpiring, 6 day test matches, etc.... Most of these are not applicable to Sehwag. Sehwag can hit the ball, but no elegance in it, no class, no proper footwork. He is certainly a great player, but not worth comparing to Richards, Sachin, Ricky, etc... With the way cricket is turning around, more and more batsmen will hit centuries more often than before (thanks to all batsmen favored picthes, rules, formats, etc). You can't compare players from 2 eras with statistics alone when you have the very basics of game changed to let batsmen score more runs and at a faster rate. If it continues like this, we will not see players like Sachin, Ricky in few years from now, all the new players would be like Sehwag.

  • kal07 on December 5, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    I have never seen so many comments on an article on Cricinfo. This has to be an all-time record. Well I belong to the group "Sehwag is great and has nothing more to prove" so I completely agree with Sambit. I've read each and every comment posted here and I can see quite a few people disagree with the article, most of them haven't read the article properly or tried to understand the underlying meaning. Every sentence written in this article is a fact and there is no reason to deny it. The feeling I get is majority of Anti-Sehwag people here envy his style, simplicity and are not ready to accept that a person like Sehwag with his unconventional batting and quick scoring can be this successful. After he retires these same people will feel the pinch and the cricket world will be saddened to see his departure. Mark my words: "Sehwag is a rare and special talent, natural destroyer of any attack under any conditions. I don't think there will be another like him". I feel privileged to see him

  • vakkaraju on December 5, 2009, 3:03 GMT

    Comparing two great players from different eras is at best a nostalgic mental exercise. Each decade throws up different players of class. Can we really say who was better. Laver Vs Federer ? Viru Vs Richards, Bradman Vs Ponting. We need to acknowledge each one's uniqueness and celebrate CRICKET.

  • DJRoe on December 5, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    How can you make the comparison to Richards? Is it not a fact that the fast bowlers of today are so restricted - eg. one bouncer per over? This as a matter of fact was to curtail the West Indies at the time. But back to Sehwag. If he could bat in those conditions against the likes of Thompson, Lillee, Hadlee then you can compare. I always remember what Richardson said after England were bowled out by Ambrose and Walsh for 46 runs in the second innings of that test match in 1996 - "I never compare people of different eras". Mr. Bal - you work for Cricinfo and not for yourself. Be respectful of others and stop showing your bias for your countrymen. Let's just agree that Sehwag is great.

  • lucky_luke on December 5, 2009, 1:58 GMT

    has Viv played better bowlers than McGrath, Warne, Wasim, Waqar, Donald, Lee, Bond, Ambrose, Walsh, Pollock, McMillan, McDermott, Hughes, Muralitharan, Saqlain???

  • Nampally on December 5, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    Virendar Sehwag is the "Lord of the Crease". He puts the fear of God in every bowler when he is at the crease. He dictates the game to the bowlers. Attack is the best part of his defence. Nobody in the world can score nearly 300 runs in less than a day at a strike rate of over 100 in a test match - Don Bradman included. Sehwag is simply peerless and cannot be compared to anyone leave alone Viv Richards.They said in the 1960's when Kanhai came in to bat, the West indies islands were at standstill. When Sehwag is in full cry, the whole cricket world is in awe watching his utter dominance of every bowler. He may not be as classical as Tendulkar. But for sheer pleasure of watching him, is like Nuyrev at his best. Above all, by the time he has scored his century & left, he would have caused an atomic destruction of the opposing bowlers leading to his team's victory. Such Genius is rare and comes once in a century. India is fortunate to have Sehwag, the Crickets' "Kohinoor".

  • Manush on December 5, 2009, 1:31 GMT

    I am admirer of his immense talents and the fear he puts on the bowlers of any country is to be seen to believe and enjoy. The current little restraint and patience he shows if stays with him, he will go up to greater heights further. If he plays his normal test cricket mode, he will be very successful in the shorter versions too.

  • fawad.Ala on December 5, 2009, 0:37 GMT

    i think when mr. sambit was writing this article, he was not neutral as he should be. consistancy is a quality which makes batsman like viv richard. i remember recent past when majority of people were demanding to get rid of same sehwag. indian and pakistani pitches are not a parameter to judge batsmans greatness. one question to my indian friends; if indian has been serving by great players i.e bradman(sachin), the wall(dravid), someone who is better than richard(sehwag), kumble, mr cool(dhoni), a man who is creating distance between him and rest of the players(ghambir) then why indian's victory average is less than 50%. becuase they all are good on baord. i am sure administrator wont pubish my comments here.

  • kalbavigr on December 4, 2009, 23:51 GMT

    It is indeed fair to compare Sir Viv with Veeru. You cannot take away the greatness of either. A couple of weeks ago, Ian Chappell opined that test cricket should be shortened because one match ended in a high-scoring draw. Now India has set the record for the highest score in India and nobody is ruling out the probability of a result! What makes Sehwag so special is that he can make impossible targets easily achievable. And he does so by invariably going against convention wisdom. Where one would defend as if his life depended on it, he hits with gay abandon. Close to a century? Six!! Is this the first ball he faced? Four! Is he the fastest bowler? The longest six! Is this a good ball? What is a good ball?

    Sehwag's days are not over yet. As long as he is around, we can dream of Lara's record getting broken in a single day's play! Long live Sehwag!

  • lynds on December 4, 2009, 23:34 GMT

    Can you guys actually read what Sambit Bal wrote? He said he is NOT saying Sehwag is a greater batsman than Richards, AND makes the point that the bowlers that Richards faced were probably better than those of today. I actually take issue with that last point, seeing most of the great bowlers of the Richards era were in his team so he didn't have to face them. And helmets were around then, Richards chose not to wear one (not cool enough, probably). Seeing I'm Australian, I'm not biased one way or the other, but Sehwag has collared the greatest leg spinner of all time, the greatest offspinner of all time, the greatest left arm fast bowler of all time and if he'd had to face Roberts, Holding, Marshall and Garner, he probably would have collared them too, because he has absolutely no respect for bowlers. He has been quoted as saying that he bats the way he does because he's not afraid of losing his wicket. And that, more than anything else, makes him one of the greats.

  • TruthPrevails on December 4, 2009, 23:28 GMT

    Sambit, I would go even further and call him the best. Best because of his consistency and success against top teams in hostile conditions. Only in eyes of Westerners the #1 spot is permanently sealed, what humbug. That man played more than 60% of matches against England, talk about familiarity factor. Factor in slower fielders, lack of world-class spin and pace, benefit of the doubt always going to batsman, lack of third umpire and that glass house starts to show cracks. Keep up the good work....

  • kabubaku on December 4, 2009, 22:52 GMT

    The contributions of Sehwag and the likes are the same weather you term them as great or not. So, rather than getting caught up in words, lets just admire the genius of Viru and move on.

  • Rahul_78 on December 4, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    For all the people who are arguing that richards batted against better bowlers, uncovered pitches, with less protection. Is is sehwags fault? The defining eanings came against ausies in indian when he went rampent against an ausie attack comaprising of mcgrath (the greatest in todays generation) and co and put the result in perspective and mind you he was not out. /anyone with common sense in cricket knows that scoring in fourth eanings is most difficult let alone opening against best bowlers on wearing pitch and pressure of scoring runs. Sehwag has done it time and again. Richards was great no doubt but that doesnt make sehwag lesser. Sambit is spot on. We forgot that old James bond used to drive aston martin and the new one a ferrari. Does that make ferrari any lesser..? Anyone who had privilage of bating sehwag scoring 290 odd yesterday should consider himself/herself lucky. A true genius in action..blood and flesh..For those nostalgics..my sympethies.

  • virology on December 4, 2009, 22:37 GMT

    Most of the comments I have read are based on narrow nation minded. I get the impression non-Indians are the most agitated on comparing him with Richards. Honestly, I have not seen Richards play. But I have nt seen any player who demoralise the opponent to that level shewag has done in the present era. Unfortunately, some people have got all their stats wrong, Shewag have got hundreds against all attack in all condition. When Fedrer won the French open, there were few people who argued that he did not play against Nadal to win it. So there will always be dis agreement. Shewag is a better entertainer than SACHIN, POINTING and HAYDEN. Gilchrist comes down second in terms of test cricket.

  • Zubair on December 4, 2009, 22:28 GMT

    Well, to be honest, i am a big fan of Virender Sehwag and one cannot disagree with the fact that Sehwag is a very destructive batsman, infact he is the best opening batsman around right now and i know what Mr. Sambit Bal is talking about but i cant really agree with Mr. Bal that he is more destructive than Sir Richards! There are many reasons not to compare Sehwag with Sir Richards in anyway and the first being is, Sehwag has always been performing on placid batting wickets, where the ball is coming nicely on to the bat but when there is a pitch which supports the bowlers, you will always see Sehwag struggling with his kind of footwork and technique. The second reason is, Sir Viv Richards has a record of scoring quickly against the best in the business of that era and he has a brilliant record against the best bowlers of that time and on the pitches where the batting was very difficult, you can also check out and compare records of both of these batsmen n u'll get to know yourself.

  • varunsaxena on December 4, 2009, 22:27 GMT

    According to me Viv was more destructive against pace whereas is a far bigger destroyer of even legendary spinners.

    VIV played some great fast bowlers of those times although 4 of them were in his team only. So that must be taken into consideration. In this era though Sehwag has dominated better spinners. Looking at Sehwag one of the greatest Fast Bowlers of our times, McGrath has had success against Sehwag.

    Looking at swing and seam, well Sehwag has scored some brilliant hundereds even on seaming tracks(in New Zealand, in Bloemfontein, in TrentBridge, etc.). But on such tracks Sehwag is not as consistent. Well that is expected with the kind of batting style he has. Even the Great Sir VIV averaged a meagre 26 in Swinging and Seaming conditions of New Zealand.

    Bouncy Tracks well Melbourne was quite bouncy when he scored 195, even Bloemfontein was quite lively.

    He definitely has dominated on really turning Tracks - Galle, Chennai, etc.

    Sehwag is simply an entertainer. Enjoy it.

  • rayrana on December 4, 2009, 22:15 GMT

    yes, he is. I would go a step ahead and say that he redefined the role of an opener. In ideal situation for a team batting second, an open sees off the fast ball, the middle order consolidates with a goal of going past the follow on mark. Well, India was close to 450-1 after SL scored close to 390. He is not a gawdly batsman or an artist or an icon. He was neighbor's envy, owner's pride, not a Ferrari, but a benz with an F1 engine in it, a Ted Bundy for the bowlers. I am sure Murli had a mid-day retirement thought in mind. Btw, given a chance, he could be a regular off spinner. So, Samit, you point is proven.

  • cricfan_1977 on December 4, 2009, 22:05 GMT

    The topic is about DESTRUCTIVENESS bw Richards Vs Sehwag and NOT about other batmen or Who is greatest.

    Pure statistics of strike rate (> 80%) over 6000+ makes Sehwag more distructive than Richards. I am not in position to account for Old Vs Modern era as this is highly subjective and hardly conclusive.

    Obviously, its very difficult to compare old vs modern era. All I can say is that modern day batsmen have DIFFERENT set of challenges like more pressure, stiff competition, media critics / technology exposure, better fielding sides etc. There are more forces at work to bring down Sehwag than Richards.

  • KrishnaKapadia on December 4, 2009, 21:54 GMT

    ALL u RICHARDS FANS- NUMBERS DO NOT LIE.

    quite clearly SEHWAGs Numbers are better than richards in terms of AVERAGE and STRIKE RATE, which is why he is more destructive than Richards. And the bowlers today are far better and quicker than bowlers in the days of richards. Sehwag is the one Batsmen today who is dominating and dominated bowlers like Murli, Warne, Akhter, Lee, among the other bowlers in world cricket today.

    Most of u all seem to stuck on the saying "OLD is GOLD" but u need to wake up and smell the coffee. Its a new day and their are better stronger players today and they deserve to be recognized for their talent.

    By the way this article is only comparing statistics of players and clearly one player stands out above the other.

  • Karthikmkrishnan on December 4, 2009, 21:54 GMT

    Bold article. Someone ought to have done it a long time ago. critics commenting on the protective gears of the past are also forgetting the number of caught behinds and lbws turned down due to lack of advanced technologies as available today. With all due respect to Sir VivRichards and all the batsmen who entertained us in past, it was far easier for a 80s batsman to get away with thin edges and lbws and even catches/sun outs etc. With the crowd numbers swelling, it is 10 times more harder to entertain the mass today than in the 80s. I reckon Sehwag is #1 in terms of number of poeple entertained as well.

  • Nibsy on December 4, 2009, 21:43 GMT

    I am proud that Sehwag is Indian. He made my day with his innings. The 309 and 319 were also spectacular. His 201 in Sri Lanka was brilliant too. He may not be consistent as the others but he has got the ability to play amazing innings. It is no coincidence that he has 3 of the top ten innings of all time according to the reliance ratings. He has also the top 3 innings this century according to reliance. I salute you sir. It is an absolute pleasure to see you bat.

  • Cannuck on December 4, 2009, 21:37 GMT

    Wow... What short memories most of us have.. One knock & any player (specially subcontinent ones) is like a God. Compare him to everyone, the greatest & all that. It's like "what have you done for US lately".. Therefore I am not going to waste my time arguing about who is the greatest, the most devastating or any of that. Let me just say that since this article was posted a day or so ago, there are now 157 comments... Imagine all the clicks & hits cricinfo generate (can anyone say Cha-ching!!!!)with these articles, just by rattling us & dropping a few bread crumbs (some have wondered why the quality of Cricinfo has dropped or biased to one country). Now if that is not web journalism at it's best, I don't know what is. Sure as a web guy I can appreciate the traffic this creates... But in reality all of us just fell for it (yeah including me by posting this!). Hope the rest of you post here knowing this too! (I wonder if this comment would get posted???)

  • Alexk400 on December 4, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    Sehwag is more entertainer than batsman. Viv was greatest. Still is. No one can come close. Sehwag is best for entertaining. He can be Super Great if he can control his demons. He is moody. he needs someone to praise him He needs someone to make him happy. He always screw up to see how his team mates respond. he throw his wicket away to test his own team often. he can play well if he become 1% selfish of sachin himalayan selfish level.

    Sehwag is Greatest for cricket entertainment. I used to switch off TV after K srikkanth gets out and sehwag gets out. There is nothing new in watching someone accumulating runs. why do you even waste time little people gathering runs with dabs. It is just waste of time. People say there is skill involved...screw that. There is no skill involved in accumulating runs.

    I stopped watching NBA after 1998 because after MJ retired there is nothing great to watch in NBA. Great players play the way you wanted to play in your fantasy.

  • MohanB on December 4, 2009, 21:27 GMT

    Great artcile, Sambit. Virendar Sehwag is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and is a contender for a spot on an All-Time World XI, jostling the likes of Jack Hobbs and Sunil Gavaskar. It's astounding to think that Sehwag was omitted from the Indian test squad barely two years ago, and only got recalled for the Australia tour at the last minute (after an article by Ian Chappel that bemoane "Now is not the time to give up on Sehwag").

  • Maestro_bats on December 4, 2009, 21:27 GMT

    Sehwag and Richards both have the ability to instill fear in the opposition. There's no point in comparing both of them. Scoring at such a rate definitely requires guts and skills and Sehwag and Richards both share that.

    Sachin has never scored a triple hundred, so is he not a great batsman ??? He might score at a lesser strike rate than Sehwag or Richards, but he can equally demoralise the opposition and so can Rahul Dravid by just being there standing like Solid Wall and supporting players like Sehwag and Sachin.

    Yes Sehwag and richards should be called as great players for players like them can save the test matches from getting buried. They are entertainers from different Era.

    Lets enjoy their music :)

    Moral of the Story - Please dont forget its a Team Game and at the end of the Day if the team doesnt win, A SEHWAG OR RICHARDS both dont matter.

  • raj2ad on December 4, 2009, 21:20 GMT

    Yeah, I say I am bloody glad he is playing on my side.

  • cricketcc on December 4, 2009, 21:18 GMT

    It is possible to argue and say that Sehwag is more destructive than Richards but in his time Richards scored faster than anybody before him (exclude the Don here). The game was different then as it is now. The important thing is to look WHERE Sehwag's runs come from. Away from home Sehwag averages against England=39.5, Aus= 60, NZ=20, SA= 26.44, he has 4 centuries between these countries without any double century. How is Sehwag GREAT? The numbers are simply not there for him to be great. He has so much to prove, not to mention his ODI batting average of 34. All is double and triple centuries have come in the Subcontinent on absolute dead pitches where he can just plant out his front foot and hit the ball anywhere. I am sorry Mr Bal but this was a very disappointing article, it seems to me that you are trying to gain more of an Indian audience here. There is no doubt that he can turn matches around by himself but he is NOT a GREAT, he needs to win many more matches away from India

  • NiteenUNavalde on December 4, 2009, 21:10 GMT

    Did we notice that the shirt sehwag was wearing today had the number 239 and he made 293....!!! Amazing...!!!

  • andygandhi on December 4, 2009, 21:04 GMT

    First of all, this article discusses : sehwag is more destructive then sir viv richards, not sehwag is greater then sir viv richards, those who have wasted their time and energy in writing comment in support of sir viv richards, that richards is greater batsman then sehwag, he could be, but PLEASE read the article first, you guys have either lack of vocabulary, or you dont read properly, there is another pool of cricket fans, (many of them not indians) who just cant accept sehwag's greatsness in terms of dominating the opponents, here is the guy who has made centuries in south africa, australia, new zealand, england (none of these countries produce flat tracks) @tick, haven't you seen the likes of mcgrath, lee, gillespi, shoaib akhtar, shane bond, pollok and Darren gough, - sehwag has played and smashed all of this bowler all over the ground. Some of them who discussed about his consistency, well sehwag is 72 test old , some said that he got benefit of flat tracks.

  • vyseerx2 on December 4, 2009, 21:03 GMT

    I agree with Sambit when he says that Sehwag was more destructive than Richards. That is a fact and is well supported by the numbers. We all have to undrerstand and agree that Cricket has evolved so much in the last two decades especially with the advent of T20, now scores of 200s were possible in mere 20 overs. Batsmen were more adventurous and innovative. Richards became famous as he played in a conservative era, when batting 300 deliveries for a score of 100 was the norm and Richards scored much faster than the contemporaries. As the tests were fewer, and as he was one of the few flamboyant Test batsmen, he was more famous ..Also his style, charisma, and his not wearing a helmet (to appear Macho) helped in his getting Icon status.. As some one pointed out, Sehwag is one of many, we get that feeling since most batsmen are scoring faster these days...Dilshan, Jayasurya.. Tendulkar, scoring a 100 in less than 100 balls is no more a great achievement..( It is the norm...well, almost).

  • OmanBiek on December 4, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    Thank you sir for a good article. The purpose of a chief editor is to stimulate interest and draw crowds. You have done just that. Excellent really!!! You should next dig up the old argument of Tendulkar vs Lara and who's greater...this should garner a few more hits.

  • alphamale on December 4, 2009, 20:26 GMT

    Sambit .. you are writing this because you believe it'll titillate your Indian audience if you write what they want to hear, right?

  • CrickFan66 on December 4, 2009, 20:21 GMT

    Sehwag stands out on his own without comparison to anyone else. He is unique. When you compare other batsmen (of any era) that score at his pace or closer to his strike rate, they very rarely get the mammoth scores that he gets. I mean, here's a guy who scores big hundreds at a break-neck speed. Probability is that any batsman that continuosly scores at this rate is bound to hole out somewhere and get out - caught or stumped. Not Sehwag. Look at Afridi, Hayden & others. They do match him in the strike rate, but they invariably get out because a patient spinner knows his craft, bides his time and gets his man ultimately - and that is somewhere close to a hundred. With Sehwag, it's like a dream run for the home team and a nightmare to the opposition. The debate is not whether the King is better (Viv is the king & will always be the king - though i would have loved to see him play Garner, Croft, Roberts & Holding). Sehwag defies cricketing logic.

  • mycricinfo444 on December 4, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    I am really diappointed after reading this article. Being an Indian doesn't gives licence to Mr. Bal to delibrately underrmine Sir Viv Richards by comparing him to Sehwag. Richards was the king and statistics apart does Sehwag possesses that grace and authority which richards displayed? Scoring chancy runs on flat pitches does not make you eligible for comparisons with the icons.

  • sumithobby on December 4, 2009, 20:08 GMT

    I somehow agree to taraka911...its just that they both are devastating players you cant start comparing...Sehwag has his own identity and Viv Richards his own...they both played in different circumstances and conditions as well...no doubts that Viv Richards is a great player and Sehwag yet to prove it. He is almost there but still will have to wait. And that is also true any country playing against India would love to see the back of Sehwag as soon as possible,even Australians, Just like Viv Richards. But all in all we do have a great batsman who can change the course of any match all on his own...he is truly a majestic player. After Sachin the only players in indian team play entertaining cricket are Sehwag and Yuvi. I love these master stroke players. Keep it up Veeru, I am sure you are capable of getting to that magical figure of 400 as well, and i am sure you are the only player at this point of time in world cricket who can do it.

  • blacknblanc on December 4, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    And why on earth Sehwag can't be compared to Viv? To be fair let me put a few things in perspective. First, Viv had Greenidge,Haynes,Kalicharan,Lloyd to bat with him. Second, Viv did not face the best bowling of his time: Marshall,Holding,Garner,Roberts. Someone also made an arguable point about the quality of spinners in that era. Third, if you take into account that Viv did not have/chose not to use protective clothing, then do also bear in mind the incomparability of fielders between then and now and factor this in while analysing Richard's batting. Fourth, many try to make the point that Sehwag's incredible record is not sufficiently meaningful for lack of quality bowling. One cannot argue both: (i) pitches today are flat and predictable; and (ii) today's bowlers are nothing compared to yesteryears'. If present tracks are handmaidens to the batsmen then the outstanding figures of mcgrath, gillespie, warne, murali, pollock, steyn, bond, akhtar deserve more respect.

  • AllanUK on December 4, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    Good article but to compare Sehwag against Viv Richards is nothing short of an insult to the great West Indian legend. Richards never wore a helmet and faced bowlers of the likes of Hadlee, Lillee, Thomson, Willis, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev..should I go on?

    Richards also played on wickets that were even suited to bowling and batting where everybody had a chance. When you look at the way the rules are weighted heavily in favour of batting over the past 20 years, there is no way that anybody fair minded would say Sehwag was more destructive than Viv. Don't get me wrong, Sehwag is fantastic to watch and fills stadiums but Richards was something else. I remember as a 16 year old in 1984 the one-day innings he played at Old Trafford...189 not out where he pulverised England. He single handedly battered England in that match. I was totally mesmerised by the brutality of the innings and I stood up and applauded in my house, and I am English by the way but this was something else.

  • argylep on December 4, 2009, 19:32 GMT

    Its difficult to compare different batsmen in/from different eras because there are too many variations. However and based on a dispassionate and objective criteria of batting on all tracks, all around the world, against all attacks, and in all match situations and conditions I suggest most cricket pundits, fans, ex and current players would agree that Richards is and was the more dominant batsman. Richards is generally regarded - rightly so IMO - as the finest bastman of the modern era (including the one Sehwag plays in now) and one of the five greatest of all time. Is Sehwag the leading batsman in the first and among the second category? Despite his only slightly superior test match batting average which he'll almost certainly not maintain and his higher strike rate I don't think so somehow!! One things for sure Sehwag hasn't scored his runs with the crease presence and sheer aura Richards had and he doesn't have a swagger!!

  • cric_fan1978 on December 4, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    Nice article Sabit. It is hard to compare batsmen of different eras but there is no doubt that Sehwag ranks right up there with the very best and it is fair to compare him with Viv Richards. People always say that the fast bowlers were much better during Richard's time but then most of them - holding, marshall etc..were in his own team and he didnt have to face them :)

  • nahan on December 4, 2009, 19:28 GMT

    Undoubtedly Veeru proves it again that he is the most destructive weapon of contemporary cricket. He is producing such innings beyond the imagination of rest of the cricket legends of his era

  • blacknblanc on December 4, 2009, 19:16 GMT

    Take a bow. And all of you Sehwag-deniers go home to mommy. Let me proceed by 'word by word'. 1. BETTER: As was clarified (still wouldn't serve the intended purpose for if one can't read the article one can't read the PS) that Sambit did not write Sehwag is better than Viv. 2. GREAT: He has 2 triples, 6 doubles, 9 other hundreds, an average of over 50 with only 4 not-outs, strike rate of over 80, all of this while opening most of the time. If he ain't one of the great test batsmen (let us leave LOIs out for now as apparently Sambit was writing about tests), then who is? 3. DESTRUCTIVE: The less said the better although that was the whole point the author was making, which apparently missed its mark as most of the comment are riding tangentially on their own trips.

  • waspsting on December 4, 2009, 19:05 GMT

    @P.S.B totally agree. PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE THROUGH BEFORE COMMENTING. The authors point is Sehwag is more destructive than Viv Richards - he hasn't gone into who's better at all. SECOND - if your reaction to the article is too overwhelming, TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU MIGHT BE WANTING IN KNOWLEDGE OR JUDGEMENT, before lashing out. the 'can't compare batsmen across eras' argument for this piece is absolute nonsense. Would you say that if someone claimed Geoff Boycott was a more destructive batsmen then Sehwag???

    I've seen Richards and I've seen Sehwag, and the difference between the two (in terms of destructiveness) was that Richards' innings typically featured bursts of high aggression, especially early in the innings or against a particular bowler he had chosen to go after, but for the most part, he was a normal fluent batsmen (like Ponting or Lara). Sehwag usually bats at high aggression level throughout his innings - and many of them are huge innings'.

  • ftsnv1 on December 4, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    I feel the argument still might be flawed. Statistics always don't tell the entire story. You just cannot compare them based on just statistics. You need to compare the pitches, the bowlers, the protective gear worn nowadays and even the bat quality and the increased blade widths. Unless you compare all these factors it's not possible to say who was the best among them. You may re-iterate your statement "Against the best that his times have offered him, Sehwag has been more destructive than even Richards", but the very fact that you are comparing Sehwag to Viv Richards compels one to compare all the above factors. Your article also talks about the fact "Sehwag has 700 more runs in 14 fewer Tests than Gilchrist, whose average was boosted by 20 not-outs as against Sehwag's five". Why would you forget the fact, Gilchrist Batted at no. 7 with lesser scoring oppurtunities and usually batting with the tail. Australia winning most of their matches by an innings did not help him either.

  • m.salmanali on December 4, 2009, 19:00 GMT

    I can only say one thing, out of his 17 centuries 12 are in subcontinent with the average of more than 60 and more than 4000 runs out of his tally of around 6000.....it is preposterous to even compare him with Hayden let alone Richards, Lara, Sachin, Ponting or Gilchrist......he is a flat track bully, nothing more.....one thing I will say is that he is one of a kind when it comes to flat tracks....he use them better than the most!!!

  • RAMKI2404 on December 4, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    Sambit Bal comparision with Sehwagh vs Richards is only for the 6000 runs Strike Rate in which sehwagh is better then Richards but that doesnt mean that Sewagh is more/less in comparision with Richards. All these Cricketers are legends.

  • gunshot999 on December 4, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    the day Sehwag realises that he's got a shot at being one of the greats.... BEWARE .... anyone who knows indian cricket knows what a great thinking cricketer this guy is.... There is a method to his slogging.. The day he figures out "how not to lose his wicket", he will get centuries faster than anybody in world cricket... Big Fan of Australia,South Africa, Pak, England, but there's no one currently in test cricket who can change test matches CONSISTENTLY faster than this bloke...( not even ponting..hes got a great team ) .. Lara came close or maybe he was even better at one man shows... but once sachin,dravid retire, Sehwag's gonna become the best bestman of indian cricket...(yuvraj' technique is not better than Viru's)

  • nyallj on December 4, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    Rohan1...I didn't check strike rate because it didn't strike me as important comparing whether Lara or Sehwag is better against SL. But they reveal some interesting stuff. Sehwag's strike rate against SL is 101.8 (including this match), and considering that rate was when India needed to win, and lost, reflects recklessness, not greatness. By comarison, Lara's of 56.9, 5 centuries, 2 of them doubles, shouldering WI alone, now that shows greatness. Don't forget against names like Vaas, Fernando, Zoysa included with Murali. Other stats to consider, Lara played 14 innings against SL, faced Murali in all of them, got out to him 5 times. Sehwag played 13 inns against SL, faced Murali in only 4!! of them, and got out to him 3 times! What does that say for "plays Murli better than all, including Lara"?? LIke I said, that srtike rate indicates to me recklessness, not greatness. Sehwag is good, not great, not yet.

  • GottaThink on December 4, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    I agree, but not just because of their strike rate & average -

    1. I think they have both spawned innovations in the game of cricket through their genius - had people like Richards not been there, there would have been no need for One Day Internationals; had people like Sehwag not been there, there would be no need for T20s 2. Great batsmen end bowlers' careers - e.g. Jayasuriya v. Manoj Prabhakar; by that token both Richards and Sehwag have quite a few to their name 3. I wonder whether a better comparison for Sehwag would be with openers - say Lara or Greenidge. Regardless, Sehwag would still be up there

  • gunshot999 on December 4, 2009, 18:39 GMT

    Sehwag is great- Richards was great ... End of story... the author just wanted to establish that the word "Great" is now apt to be used for Sehwag too. Richards had an aura of invincibility around him, his theatrics of ruffling bowlers even before he comes in is unmatchable. Lara and Sehwag on their day destroyed attacks while they were quite susceptible to getting out early. Sehwag is unique in his way. He was promoted to open in a line up of tendulkar,dravid,laxman,saurav. None of these batsman,great as they were; wanted to open. Sehwag is without a doubt the best opening batsman in Tests currently going around. Rarely does he not a 40 or 30 quickly which sets the tone for the other "Greats" to follow. Thats all they wanted,but he has excelled in his role as an opener, has an average of 50+ in tests and came close to beating a Don bradman record. Right now, its not important what "people" think of him, whether he is greater than Richards or not; but if HE REALISES IT he does...cont..

  • Cannuck on December 4, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    Wow... What short memories most of us have.. One knock & any player (specially subcontinent ones) is like a God. Compare him to everyone, the greatest & all that. It's like "what have you done for US lately".. Therefore I am not going to waste my time arguing about who is the greatest, the most devastating or any of that. Let me just say that since this article was posted a day or so ago, there are now 157 comments... Imagine all the clicks & hits cricinfo generate (can anyone say Cha-ching!!!!)with these articles, just by rattling us & dropping a few bread crumbs (some have wondered why the quality of Cricinfo has dropped or biased to one country). Now if that is not web journalism at it's best, I don't know what is. Sure as a web guy I can appreciate the traffic this creates... But in reality all of us just fell for it (yeah including me by posting this!). Hope the rest of you post here knowing this too! (I wonder if this comment would get posted???)

  • jjs_canada on December 4, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    I see some arguments stating that at the time of Richards, there were no helmets and pitches were more bouncy. And now batsmen are more protected. There were bowlers like Marshall, Garner, Roberts , Lillee, Thompson. As a matter of fact, in the times of Richards, pitches were never paid much attention. They were only couple of lines in any article. In today's time pitches are discussed a lot more than it was ever before, pitches ares balanced and often times tend to help to bowlers. I have never seen so many tests coming out with results,most of the tests in 3 to 5 test match series ending in draw. If we take example of inconclusive test of Ahmedabad, pitch is derided by all quarters and corners. If it was earlier, then no body would pay so much attention to pitch. In short, pitches are more balanced today than before and fact is Richards played in the times of batsmen friendly pitches.

  • Virtually_Insane on December 4, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    Stop ppl this is a never ending argument...its not like apples to apples. The bases of this article is worng to begin with. The Cricinfo staff should have better and more relevant articles for its audiences then something like this. Greatness of a plyer in any sport is measured by his achievements or his team's achievement due to his game. How may world cups or series wins india got cause of Sehwag ? What are his or India's achievements cause of him ?....yeah you got your answer.

  • lazikid on December 4, 2009, 18:16 GMT

    What is your next assertion? Sachin better than Bradman?

  • Irarum on December 4, 2009, 18:12 GMT

    Instead of comparing Sehwag with Viv Richards (Which 80% of readers do not like), why don't you (Sambit Bal) discuss similar situations of two batsmen. Take a game of Viv richards where he completely dominated opposition (Not just scored runs because of Pitch or Bowling) and compare it to Sehwag's best. Also, Why not publish an interview of one bowler or opinion of multiple players of opposition from different countries. When Don Bradman says that Tendulkar resembles him, 80% of us approve. May not be the case if you n I say it!!

  • AlokJoshi on December 4, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    To clear doubts of some ignorant friends, I wish to submit a statistical analysis: Sehwag averages 59 in Aus (SR: 74) when Mcgrath, Lee, Warne played. He avgs 68 in SL (SR: 93) when Murali played. He avgs 91 in Pak (SR:86) when Akhtar, Sami played. Playing in B'desh (avg: 11, SR: 67), Eng (avg 39, SR: 67) and NZ (avg 20, SR: 97) he probably did not give their bowlers enough respect - these 3 teams arent better than Aus or SL or Pak. He hasnt done well in SA though he scored 100 on debut, done well versus WI. Sehwag has better away record against stronger teams than weaker ones! Viv scored 16 of 24 hundreds against Eng (avg 62) and India (avg 50). Both teams with fairly modest bowling attack during late 70s and 80s. He avgs below 45 against better teams - Aus, NZ and Pak. Sehwag has done well against strong bowling playing away, whilst Viv has done well against inferior bowling, and never played SA. I have seen both bat, and its Sehwag I want to watch bat again and again!

  • tanveers on December 4, 2009, 17:59 GMT

    What are we comparing here? Cricket has so much changed ... shorter boundaries, heavy wide-blade bats, so much safety padding (and also lighter), dead wickets. If you really think about it, in the last few years Cricket has changed so much. With the eye on profits, matches gets played on pitches that offer no assistance to bowlers with short boundaries. "Elegant batting" made way to "power hitting" in modern cricket. With less technique and brutal power a batsman these days can easily score boundaries after boundaries. The boundaries these days (especially in Twenty20 format) is so short that a mishit can go for a SIX if hit with power. When you see such "drama cricket" you start developing an aversion to the game of cricket especially for those who have grown up seeing graceful cricket.

  • Retour on December 4, 2009, 17:54 GMT

    Surprised to read some of the stuff like Sehwag has never done well in Australia when he has hit two hundreds there, one at Melbourne (195) when others struggled on a seaming track and the match saving one (150 odd) at Adelaide. His double hundred at Galle was simply superb on a turning track and helped India win .... Talking abt flat tracks, his triple against SA actually helped India save the game when all the others failed on a so called flat track!

  • rohan024 on December 4, 2009, 17:52 GMT

    sorry to say but sambit bal is increasingly making a mockery of cricket by comparing players every 2nd day. Both r good players, both have entertained public, isn't that enough ? spending time on comparing players, when there is no objective way to compare, is for nerds who have nothing else to do in life. get a life & enjoy cricket.

  • rajesh0122 on December 4, 2009, 17:50 GMT

    Nice article Sambit, I agree sehwag as the most destructive batsaman of the present era....I havent seen(from the time i started following willow) playing viv or bradman or greatness of others from the past....I would compare sehwag with greats from past based on the data....and its clear he is way ahead....also its not abt hurting pple sentiment for their stars....past gives us inspiration but we live in present....sorry for the gyan......Well time has to move on and day will come when sachin's will also stop firing.....no doubt a player will emerge in future and he might be compared.....conparison shud be taken in a positive way...its the way to improvement and praising the deserving one....

  • gangwani on December 4, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    Mr. Sambit is not biased for his comments, he is not pleasing India, with the datas given by him, any fool can prove he is right and moreover we should accept the fact that some of Indian players are doing well then don't feel humilated. We always worship Don Bredman - he is not Indian we do say Richards was a great player so is Murli - Shane Warne, Imran Khan, Brad lee, Andy Robers so were Bishen Singh Bedi Nari Contractor, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin (the best in the world), Kapil Bhaji (please never right Paaji - it's Bhaji), Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid, Srikant, Anil Kumble, Adam etc. all are not Indians

  • Engle on December 4, 2009, 17:41 GMT

    Hats off to Sambit Bal for an excellent article gauged by the number of responses. Disagreement is part of debate; how boring if everybody agreed. Sehwag's place in history is secure, not merely on the size of his scores extraordinary as they be, but in the manner of their making. His comparison to Viv is also valid. Sehwag is the big-century man with 12 instances of 150+ scores in 123 innings compared to Viv's 7 instances in 182 innings. Both these batsmen stand out and get noticed. Both have a style their own. Viv had aura accompanied with bad intentions. Viru smiled, then smacked you around. Both cared less for numbers. Not for them, the slowing down in the 90's. Remember too, that openers generally dont go great guns, another stand-out feature of Viru. Let's celebrate them both, they enhance the game with color, charisma and contribution.

  • mvchilukuri on December 4, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    Hello Bal,

    I think your knowledge in cricket is just limited to numbers and statistics. Of course, you are no exception to millions of cricket fan who think Viv Richards was some kind of Maniac who could have no match, including Sandeep Patil.

    However, I am the only guy in this post to say out rightly, that Sehwag is many a times better than Viv Richards or anybody else. But, I would not like to explain my opinion with all sorts of numbers. However, I shall leave that matter to time and Sehwag batting.

    Let him score another couple of triple centuries, then you will not find even one triple hundred from your great Viv Richards to actually compare with Sehwag.

    Also, the quicker the bowlers the faster will be scoring ability. Certainly, I would like to hear directly from Micheal Holding to comment on this matter, but not Sambit Bal or Sandeep Patil!

  • Maui3 on December 4, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    Sambit, very good article. I had expressed surprise in my posts a few time about how Sehwag is not considered an all-time great for what he has done already against all bowling attacks, at home and away from home. Even if you ignore his huge (and superfast) centuries, the 40s and 60s and 80s he makes life very difficult for opposing bowlers and paves the way for the awesome middle order - Think his 86 at Chennei and 46 and 27 at Perth last years. He's eaily the most destructive batsman in last 40 years I've followed test cricket - Only Richards, Gilchrist and Younger tendulkar come close.

    Its is mind boggling what he's done. It's hard to imagine a better batting lines (Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Dhoni) ever to play test cricket. Now only if the bowling comes around!

  • LukeTheDuke on December 4, 2009, 17:27 GMT

    well I agree that "Against the best that his times have offered him, Sehwag has been phenomenal". But I have seen the likes of Hayden and company struggling big time in 90's, In fact Atherton (and I am not referring or comparing the strikes rate and shot making) was a very technical correct and mentally strong batsman, but he has a moderate record compare to opening batsman of current generation, just because of quality of bowling and pitches being suitable to bowling. Graeme Hick, he was a batsman with attacking instinct, what happened, Ambrose spoiled his carreer. I am not comparing any one with any body, I am just saying that I am sure Sehwaag would have struggled a bit in 90's, he might have scored runs since he is talented (no doubt) but he would not have been so prolific.

  • Kautilya_in on December 4, 2009, 17:24 GMT

    I hope Oxford English Dictionary includes a new word "Sehwagic" as being outrageously prolific and destructive. He is a treat to watch while batting.

  • Sach_is_Life on December 4, 2009, 17:24 GMT

    Anybody who actually saw Sehwag batting, will certainly know the difference between him and the other greats.Their egos or the fact that he is not the orthodox textbook Test batsman makes it hard to digest that its HIGH TIME to agree that he was certainly one of the GREATEST to play test cricket if not the Greatest.As a hardcore Tendulkar fan myself,sometimes I can't believe wat Veeru is doing.On his day,he can destroy any bowling attack from any era..i repeat ANY..Becaz of the simple fact that he doesn't CARE who is bowling.Simply,It doesn't matter to him.So,fellas..I didn't see Viv batting..but I saw all Tendulakrs,Laras,Pontings,Haydens,KPs and Gillys from the starting of their careers...So,I can tell you 4 sure..Sehwag is the MOST distructive batsman to play cricket ever.If a batsmen can score 250 runs in a day itself..then he got to be Good and to do that again and again he got to be GREAT..and Sehwag done that again and again and he'll do it AGAIN 4 Sure.

  • arbnav on December 4, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    With all due respect to Sehwag's abilities I still think Sir Viv was more destructive. His very demeanour while batting made bowlers pee in their pants and mind you he was up against the best AND he was consistent. That's what made him the most feared batsman. Sehwag needs to show consistency, maybe then we could revisit this topic. His approach off late is heartening though and bodes ill for bowlers the world over.

  • nirvana_1959 on December 4, 2009, 17:17 GMT

    The word "hostile" was only associated with bowling from the likes of Flintoff, Lee, Roberts, etc. Sehwag has changed that! He is the only batsman who displayes "hostile" batting and that too in the test cricket!!!

  • Idol on December 4, 2009, 17:13 GMT

    Come on Sambit, you are over estimating the reading ability of your own readers. There are too many nuts out there who will refuse to read your post script. There is little to disagree with what you are saying. Destructiveness - is indicated by only one statistic and that is strike rate. Of course, since that will also include people like Afridi and maybe even Muralidharan(!), one needs to judge the longevity ( ala Sehwag's 6K runs). Since that is all you did, the argument you pose is as simple as some of Sehwag's thinking. Some of the comments made here are quite hilarious and I hope you enjoyed laughing at them - my favourite is the one where someone states that Sehwag ( unlike Richards) did not score in SA and Australia's tracks. Melbourne, B'fontein, Adelaide anyone? And when did Viv play Tests in SA? So much data on Cricinfo and still we get Dummies

  • Vkarthik on December 4, 2009, 17:12 GMT

    Uncovered pitches in Richards era. There are sure lot of ignorant audiences we have. They started covering pitches in the 70s itself. Protective equipment? It was Ricahrds's choice not to wear it. That doesn't make him better than anyone else. Wearing protective gear won't make you a better batsman. How many batsmen play like Sehwag in this era in Tests for an opener? None. Tendulkar idolized Richards. Sehwag idolized Tendulkar. At the end of the day they are 3 very different cricketers. As far maintaining consistent assault in Tests i would have to go with Sehwag. He has scored 228, 257, 284 in a single day's play. It is very hard to achieve on a regular basis. But that alone won't make Sehwag better. It is very difficult to say one is better than the other based on mere points. You just have to go with standard assumptions like "No helmet" "No cap" "fast bowlers" .. etc etc. You cannot conclusively say QED Richards is better, Sehwag is better.

    Call him Modern Day Viv.

  • lutun1 on December 4, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    Posted by alisardar90 on (December 04 2009, 15:32 PM GMT)

    Well he wasnt destructive in south afriican or australian pitches like viv ... shame !

    He seemed destructive enough when he scored 150 to save the test match in adelaide recently!

  • afridi102 on December 4, 2009, 16:52 GMT

    Mr sambit, why my three posts not posted?? i am really sad, i am big fan of cricket, a keen follower of cricket, i am on cricinfo for most of the day, knows most of the stats by heart.... i just rectified the stats a poster give, and u r not willing to post, please just tell me why? that is my msn mobashir95@hotmail.fr how can u let some post statistics that are but lies..???? i am talking about Parth_Pala....

  • chandau on December 4, 2009, 16:50 GMT

    No helmets, no heavy thick edged bats, no one bouncer per over, thorny pitches, etc. and then can we wonder how Shewag would have fared. IVAR was definition of arrogance and not lucky edges and miscues in between silky cover drives and flashy cuts. People should not try comparing greats of past years (and out in a disclaimer) period. In this inning he was out LBW in mid 40s, but then umpire Llong made vow not to give any after the horrible decision given to Dilshan. So benefited not only Shewag but also Dravid and Sachin. Compare Shewag with contemporires like Afridi Sanath Gayle but never with greats who played a very different game of cricket, unfortunately many have not seen. Cheers Chandana

  • knowledge_eater on December 4, 2009, 16:43 GMT

    I also want to mention this the best line Sehwag ever said. I read it somewhere by some one famous bowler i forgot either it was Warne or I think famous English player. He was playing county and his team-mate (Non-striker) said it in his book or something. They were playing and bowl was swinging too much reverse and all those kind of thing. Sehwag and his buddy(i think he was Warne or english player) felt that it has been causing problem. Then, Sehwag came to his buddy and told him "we have to loose the bowl its swinging too much" his buddy was confused. Next bowl he came down the track hit six so hard that the ball was out of the ground and they literally loose the ball. Then his buddy shook his head and told himself .. oohh you mean loose the ball." Thats the most funniest and scariest thing i have heard. I just can't recall that players name who wrote that. This kind of things you can only enjoy in playing real cricket. NOt mouth cricket. Grow Up people.

  • matrix123x on December 4, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    Great Article I would say. There is no harm in comparing two most destructive batsman. Again every-one can have there opinion.

  • knowledge_eater on December 4, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    I don't want to compare anything, but here is my philosophy of Sehwag. As long as he is batting, i bet any country wants him to get him out. As soon as you can. I don't care what records suggest, if my team is playing against him, i want to take his wicket. I bet every bowler and every captain currently playing (real cricket, not mouth cricket as it has become trend now days on cricinfo articles' comments pages) wants him to go back to pavilion as fast as possible. This guy will drill hole in oppositions' tactics and he will take buckets of salt and pour it in hole and will make gangster type of smile. Yeh i said he is mobster. This guy will come on field laughing and joking making fun of his non-strike buddy, making fun of his buddies like Dilshan, Sangga, and others .. and suddenly BAM BAM BAm .. he is just going to shoot cannons of shots. And suddenly his buddies will realize .. what just happen .. He is heart breaker. He hurts bowlers' soul so badly. He just demoralize them.

  • taraka911 on December 4, 2009, 16:23 GMT

    I do not agree with this at all....it is impossible to compare Shewag to Tendulkar let alone the great Richards...this is nothing short of slander.Shewag is good but he is no richards. Richards was a icon...a destroyer....great fielder....thinker...pioneer in his time...and Shewag nowadays is a good batsmen among many! It takes more than a shewag to devastate great fast bowling attacks without even a helmet! That sort of thing is done by a RICHARDS. I frequently find that cricinfo are publishing this sort of titles and stories to gain Indian audience....which is deplorable and degrading and an insult to great cricketing heroes of old days. Stop this sort of nonsense immediately. Shewag is shewag. Richards is richards - no comparisons please!

  • prafullobo on December 4, 2009, 16:16 GMT

    Sehwag is a great batsman no doubt and can destroy any bowler on his day. But I am sorry that Mr. Sambit Bal has got it wrong when comparing Sehwag to Richards. Richards played at a time when batsman did not have a lot of protection, they played on uncovered pitches, bouncy pitches and faced some of the greatest bowlers of cricket like Jeff thomson, Lillee, Imran Khan, Pascoe, Hogg. It would be interesting to see how Sehwag would face up to Garner, Roberts, Holding, Croft and Mighty Malcom Marshall. Ask Gatting and Andy lloyd who were floored by Marshall. The bigger bats, Full faced helmets and added protection makes batman feel invincible. Also most pitches of today are batsman friendly and have lost their bounce and zip especially the Waca and Bridgetown.

  • KapilPaaji on December 4, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    I am not trying to support or refute anyone here; I agree that Viv. Richards, Sehwag, Afridi and Gilchrist are destructive players; However, it would not be possible for us to judge as to who was/is the most destructive of them all, since we do not have the same factors to compare them and come to a conclusion; If you go purely by numbers, probably Sehwag will come out as the most destructive; Besides you do have to give him the credit for doing it while opening the innings - that's a feat in itself. Besides Viv Richards innings always followed a great opening partnership of Greenidge/Haynes. That is a big factor since the pressure on Viv is reduced tremendously by a certain score of 100 already on the board.. On the same line of argument, I would consider Sachin and Lara's achievement as far better than Ponting, since they made their scores almost single-handedly, while Ponting made runs as part of a far more superior team than Sachin or Lara. I rest my case!:)

  • vraghu on December 4, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    V.RAGHURAMAN- Viru is the most destructive batsman of any era.Why doubt the greatness of this opener with his trebles,doubles ,52+ average, near 1-1 conversion for 50 to 100,incredible run rate[the best for any opener],a modern day batsman who scores 284 in a single day[the other stars manage the same collectively the next day], with test centuries in almost all countries. He is among the pantheons of batsman. When he leaves cricket, then cricket will never be the same for many and they may ruefully sigh for this man at the crease. When any of the other stars bat alongside him, they lose their sheen and become content to play second fiddle to him. See how he out scored Dravid the great, 3:1yesterday and also in Pakistan when they opened.

  • vik56in on December 4, 2009, 15:57 GMT

    Exactly spot on, Sehwag has bludgeoned the some of the greatest pace bowlers in cricketing history into submission.His century on debut against Allan Donald and co and what a century it was on a seaming lively track.His exploits against the greatest bowling lineup in Australia.His double hundred against Murali in Sri Lanka on a square turner.His pummeling of Shoaib Akhtar and Sami the then fastest bowling pair in the world at Multan.You name it he has done it all! Viv Richards didn't have to face this sort of bowling as all the best bowlers were in his time during his time.

  • aadd on December 4, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    Do you seriously belive in what you have written? How can you even compare someone like Sehwag with the great Sir Viv Richards!! They are as different as chalk and cheese. Very disoppointing article.

  • alisardar90 on December 4, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Well he wasnt destructive in south afriican or australian pitches like viv ... shame !

  • Play_Hard_But_Fair on December 4, 2009, 15:28 GMT

    Bold article Sambit. Totally agree with your take on this - statistics and records exist so as to help make comparisons - no harm stating a fact. I wonder why people don't want to compare players in different eras ...especially make such a fuss about the greatness of bowlers of the past and the protective gear used these days: firstly, the protective gear doesn't count for much when playing spinners (ref Warne and Murali of current era); as regards pace - tearaway speeds of 160+ (Shoaib, Lee) were non-existent in past eras - could it be that bowlers of that era looked more lethal owing to the lack of protective gear worn by batsmen?

  • veeruraghavan on December 4, 2009, 15:24 GMT

    sehwag is the best batsman after Bradman not Richards

    Dear DarkGotenksXI, Ponting is not even a gambir. he is most selfish player in the world. He is also a cheater appealing for pitch catches. He is not even qualified to be called cricketer. cricket is gentleman's game not for cheaters like ponting or any aussie animal

  • Padhuscomments on December 4, 2009, 15:23 GMT

    The article is not confirming who is great Sehwag or Viv. It clearly shows in many occasions he is turning the match convincingly to Indias favours (highly destructive) than most of the great cricketers. You must give some credit for the Test openers, it is not as easy as one day cricket. When India is running for test openers why Tendulkar or Ganguly is not willing to open. Tendulkar has opened more than 350 innings in one dayers and Ganguly is 300 plus. Opening batsman scoring at this pace enventually made easy for the middle order batsman to take time to score runs. If you look at Indias wins for past 8 years, his stike rate of scoring runs made all the difference. Even Viv was not scored centuries by hitting sixes most of the times. But in 309 against pakistant he scored for 100, 200 and 300. We can debate forever, but we will see more destructive viru in coming days and even VIV will himself tell he is more destructive. Wait and Watch

  • AlokJoshi on December 4, 2009, 15:22 GMT

    Very correct analysis Sambit! Just feel the postscript is not required - those who do not understand a full page article will never want to understand the postscript at end. Playeys like Sehwag make test match cricket interesting. He opens the batting, has played against all kinds of bowlers, on all types of wickets, and scores big, with ease because he is gifted. Not surprising then that he occupies top 3 spots in the list of highest scores by Indian batsman. Sehwag is certainly more destructive than all others who played test matches and scored over 6,000 runs (evidenced by strike rate - not by humble views of readers who cannot fathom this fact!). He is at the mid point of his career. If he becomes more consistent, then he will end with a higher average (he has the least # of not outs among the present list of top 50 batsman). Way to go, Virender Sehwag!!

  • Vkarthik on December 4, 2009, 15:08 GMT

    I have the privilege of watching Richards/Kapil Dev/Gilchrist/Sehwag 4 of the most devastating players who do not stop scoring runs because of situations. They have very high strike rate in Tests. They can sustain onslaughts for longer period. They have this positive attitude that you rarely see in other players on a regular basis. Nothing is show stopper for them. For instance players like Tendulkar/Lara/Ponting have been scratchy occasionally to muster a century. But these guys generally make entertaining centuries. Richards was a menace to every bowler in the 80s. His sheer presence, aura was immense. He could play audacious shots like exposing all 3 stumps and slamming to square leg.Coming to Sehwag, is he comparable with Richards? Well lot of angles have to be discussed. On most comparisons you have to check on both sides. Main comparison here is destructiveness. I would say it is unfair to compare them. Both are great. Sehwag is more dominating against spinners than Viv.

  • Peligrosisimo3 on December 4, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    This article has once again has divided opinion on whether Sehwag is truly a great batsman or not.From the first time I saw Sehwag bat I thought gee, he looks a lot like Tendulkar. So in a way he is the very aggressive form of Sachin. I think that the word great sometimes is used too loosely. Were we considering Sehwag a great batman before this innings?Once again its a matter of opinion.We are convinced one way or the other.I think these titles should be given to batsmen when their careers are over not while they are still active. Honestly I didnt consider Sehwag great before this innings. Does one innings define a cricketer?

  • CrickFan66 on December 4, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    Sehwag stands out on his own without comparison to anyone else. He is unique. When you compare other batsmen (of any era) that score at his pace or closer to his strike rate, they very rarely get the mammoth scores that he gets. I mean, here's a guy who scores big hundreds at a break-neck speed. Probability is that any batsman that continuosly scores at this rate is bound to hole out somewhere and get out - caught or stumped. Not Sehwag. Look at Afridi, Hayden & others. They do match him in the strike rate, but they invariably get out because a patient spinner knows his craft, bides his time and gets his man ultimately - and that is somewhere close to a hundred. With Sehwag, it's like a dream run for the home team and a nightmare to the opposition. The debate is not whether the King is better (Viv is the king & will always be the king - though i would have loved to see him play Garner, Croft, Roberts & Holding). Sehwag defies cricketing logic.

  • asim900 on December 4, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Sehwag is brilliant but Viv is a legend..V cant compare Sehwag with Viv because Viv played different bowling attacks at different wickets..Sehwag is excellent but he stilll has shown vulnerability against seam bowling in tough conditions..Secondly Viv has proven it on big stage I mean in big matches like World Cup that he can take the pressure and paly outstanding innings.No one can hit Imran,Lille,Thomson,Hadlee with such extreme prowess that Viv used to do...

  • since7 on December 4, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    some people have made statements that sehwag mad his 3 huge tons in flat pitches,,approved!..but temme who has been able to score them in 278 balls and who s able to muster double hundreds less than run a ball in these flat decks..why cant the great batsmen people glorify so much match this unbelievable strike rates in those so called flat decks?..the manner in which he scores is no child's play..sehwag will continue to the "avant garde man"," the existentialist symbol of orld cricket and of course,he will never get the due he deserves because we are tied too much by conventionality

  • Jatan on December 4, 2009, 14:52 GMT

    Really guys, why compare one to another. Today he's good, then he was good, tomorrow someone else. During the first T20 Yuvraj was in destruction mode, so he was. Really does it matter what someone wants to write. All these batsmen and bowlers whether from past, today and tomorrow will remain their greatness of what they acheived. Relish the moments and enjoy what they do, because yes after Richards retired, after how long did we see another destroyer like Afridi and Sehwag. Tendulkar and Lara unarguably the best batsmen in the world of their eras, enjoy and take delight in what the remaining one is still showing us instead of arguing he was better in destroying Murali or he was better because he took on Warne. Really does it matter. The only thing to compare is both are and were the best and made cricket a pleasure to watch when they were on strike, and might be years till we see another Tendulkar or Lara again.

  • eddy501 on December 4, 2009, 14:49 GMT

    With the greatest respect Sehwag didnt make the third triple let alone the record as Sanjay M predicted he would last night. He remains on two triples with Bradman, the only two that have two triple centeries in test cricket. (Please let us not de-vaule Lara's 400* by calling it a triple. A ton is a ton, a doudle a double, a triple and triple and 400 is a quadruple! However Sehwag does have an uncanny knack of smashing the ball and making huge scores, something VIV didnt do!

  • since7 on December 4, 2009, 14:46 GMT

    i am also heavily disappointed and not surprised really with some of the comments here..sehwag unusually has never been a crowd favourite nor is he favoured by critics..but those who do appreciate his real worth never give him up...the talk of him ebing a flat track bully is utter nonsense..his 105 in south africa.2 100's in seaming greentops in new zealand odi's.the tons in australia,the magnificient 200 in lanka are perfect examples of him being capable of adjusting to conditions..people shid mae sure they get the facts right before they simply make noises..some of the above comments onyl show jealous,envy and utter ignorance..i appreciate cricinfo cause they have always seemd to be the only ones who devote decent space to this cricketer

  • Alexk400 on December 4, 2009, 14:45 GMT

    I am follower of sehwagology. But i still do not think sehwag is not as good as viv richards , richards was consistent. You need to re phrase the article. Sehwag was more fun to watch than viv richards on any day. Sehwag got all shots. Viv is more of brutal force. Sehwag also but some how i feel high when i watch sehwag batting.

    It is the way he bats. He always does something. Hit different ways. he gives brain the joy.

    You really can't compare Viv Richards against Sehwag. Not yet anyways. When sehwag scores 501 not out and 6 300+ score , then may be.

    Until then sehwag the God of sehwagology , just enjoy the god and worship. And read the what high priest of sehwagology say about God.

    http://www.cricketwithballs.com/2009/12/04/dont-jinx-sehwag/comment-page-1/#comment-26069

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 4, 2009, 14:42 GMT

    This is obviously a controversial subject, and the comments suggest that not many like having great shibboleths questioned. Viv stays in my mind often as the greatest I watched BUT the nearest player to him in modern cricket is KP. Sehwag is like Tendulkar gone mad and he does it at the top of the order- no sweat. Ask anyone what is harder-playing at 1 or 5? Okay Bombay looks easy, but a new ball is a different creature to the old ball. To do what he does takes guts flair and imagination. Viv made great bowlers look ordinary, weak tea. Sehwag doesn't even give it that much respect. Viv was great. Sehwag's just MENTAL!!!! Usually players like him disappear after a few knocks, but he keeps going and doing it....He may not be the greatest ever(but surely one of them), but he'd be right up there with the most entertaining ever. As for the bowlers he faces,some of them have been okay,like Warne,Murali,Flintoff, Hoggard, Pollock,Ntini,Steyn,et al. Genius is really fitting as term for him.

  • since7 on December 4, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    The unhealthy obsession with the so called "greatness" continues in cricinfo.only that the man in question is beyond the realms of "conventional" batsmanship..mr.bal neednt have been too cautious in defining sehwag great..richards might have batted without a helmet and more powerful than sehwag but sehwag's mind is a precious commodity and his style inimitable..no cricketer in the history of cricket has batted with such free spiritidness as sehwag has and i am 100% sure of it..world may see a number of powerful dashers in the future but i dont see anyone coming with a mind of sehwag's.mere numbers dont define his greatness but some people find it irritating and jealous that a batsman so callous about guarding hsi wicket has been able to score mammoth tons that other so called greats defined by conventionality havent been able to

  • Kurapati on December 4, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    @DarkGotenksXI, I dont think this DarkGotenksXI guy know anything about cricket or its statistics..by his comment its clear that he is a Ricky fan but its not the question of comparing players alright....In this current era so many great players are there Ricky,Dravid,Sachin etc!! the article is about how destructive sehwag is, he can make opponents go mad. With the destructive play, shewag is different from all other players. Its not like comparing with great batsmen..its about how sehwag plays his game aggresively and destructivley!!!! Think twice before you post a comment lol!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • raghu1122000 on December 4, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Sorry form the use of words but some people have reachedn the summit of stupidity comparing dean jones to Sehwag. Heres the record in order of VivRichards at top followed by Sehwag and Dean Jones.

    Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50

    Tests 71 122 4 5955 319 50.46 7513 79.26 16 19 Tests 121 182 12 8540 291 50.23 ---- --- 24 45 Tests 52 89 11 3631 216 46.55 7427 48.88 11 14

    Any sane minded person with a little knowledge would know the last column doesnt really stand in the same league as the top 2. and please dont take oneday records to assess greatness. I am sure you will know why .

  • aryaman1994 on December 4, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    How can Sehwag not be considered a great batsman? If there is one man that can win a match from any given situation, its Sehwag. He can single handedly turn a match around. As you said, he almost won us a match after conceding 540 runs in an innings. Sure, he'll fail now & then, but his average of 55+ proves he succeeds more than he fails. People always seem to love him while he's batting, but when he gets out, everyone seems to say "why did he have to play THAT shot". On the other hand if the same shot had fetched him a boundary, everyone would have praised his 'temperament' & 'bravery'. With almost 3 triple centuries, I have no doubt he is a great batsman. Brilliant article.

  • Kart_in_Quartz on December 4, 2009, 14:28 GMT

    Sambit, such write-up, straight from the editor, sadly sounds amateur to note. True, cricket calls for narrating moments; but articles to get to comparisons with legends of bygone eras sounds farcical. May I ask? Is this done to prove a point to Richards, only because he recently challenged Tendulkar and today's players benefiting due to added gears? That it requires retorting through a co-Indian's blitzkrieg of a day when it usurped? Besides, does it call for you to get to singling out balls being dealt with here and there, and related nitty-gritty's? To actually scrutinize, wont you ponder to cover technical correctness, class and consistency over slogs and slashes that too numbered and executed on chosen days in any series? Agreed, they are big entertaining ones, but such single knocks end up enhancing averages and cant be subjected to being taken superior to non-contemporaries. Surely this may have to sink in, rather than jumping to express excitement on one knock in a present day.

  • raghu1122000 on December 4, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    some people so effectively and confidently are commenting on the fierceness and monstrosity of the bowlers of 70s. I doubt if these guys would have been even born then let alone watch the bowling of those bowlers on the field. So whats the basis you are comparing. the word of all those veteran players who obviously glorify the players of their era.(btw, viv played most part of his career after the 80s when the best bowlers were from wi and pak)

    Sehwag surely can be termed great when our english brothers have already proclaimed a certain kp(with half the records) to be a great and had an other Mr. Alistair cook or Mr. Ian bell on his way to greatness. ha!!

  • Rohan1 on December 4, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    1) 4 out of the 5 fastest double hundreds ever 2)Fastest triples ever Is Sehwag more DESTRUCTIVE than viv? Hell yeah. He is the most destructive batsman EVER

  • P.S.B. on December 4, 2009, 14:17 GMT

    Is everyone out there stupid. This article is saying that Sewag is more destructive then richards, but does not mention anywhere that he is better, so everyone please calm down. Overall afridi is probably the worlds most destructive batsman but that does not mean he is the best in the world, in fact he is one of the worst in the world. Back to Sehwag his strike rate is nearly 80 and thats opening that bating in test cricket, richards strike rate is about 60, so obviously sehwag is more estructive but that doesnt mean he is better. richards was before my time so I cant really comment on how destructive he was, but as an Indian fan and watching Shwag bat in all test matches he the most destructive of all time in test cricket. Forget gilchrist coming in at 7 when his team is in a good position most of the time, he never had to bat with any pressure. Sehwag is the King.

  • knpradeep77 on December 4, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    Viv used to play alongwith the greatest of the bowlers of altime, on very dificult pitches and conditions, and with much less body protection. But at the same time there is a factor i dint see many have mentioned here, that most of the intimidating bowlers of that era belonged to his own team!

    But that does not make him a lesser batsman compared to anybody in this world, dead or alive, playing or retired. Yes, if you see statistics, there are some players having better numbers than him in one way or the other, but when players like him play, the assurance of a win his team mates as well as team followers get, i do not think Sachin , Sehwag, even Lara, or Ponting can give to their respective team members and followers

  • Rohan1 on December 4, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    @nyallj, you have conveniently left out the most critical stat of this entire debate- strike rate! DESTRUCTIVE= how FAST you score your runs-period. Sure if you just get a few runs like Afridi then you can hardly quaify.But like Sehwag if you have a decent avg. , a lot of hundreds etc...then DESTRUCTIVE=SPEED of runs. not technical brilliance, defence, balance, stike rotation, ability to vary pace of innings, dig in...nothing...JUST speed of runs......and CLEARLY in that department Sehwag is way above richards and certainly lara.

  • Subra on December 4, 2009, 14:05 GMT

    There is a tendency Sambit to put our cricketers on a pedestal when they do well, but threaten their lives, property when they do badly.

    We must learn not to get carried away, but to reflect somberly. Most of Shewag's runs have been scored on the flat tracks in the sub-contionent. He has NEVER done well when the ball was seeming or on the hard Australian surfaces.

    To compare cricketers of different eras isdangerous, because (just to give an example) Richards never used the sledgehammers that pass on as bats these days.

    He never wore a HELMET, yet faced the fastest bowlers of his times. Neither was he clad with so many protective layers.

    So Sambit, let us enjoy thespectacle of Shewag in his full glory - but spare a thought for the poor bowler, and please Sambit do not compare cricketers of different eras - they are all great and they enriched the game.

    While they are here let us enjoy watching them (I do on the TV). Siva from Singapore.

  • purushotham.lingaraju on December 4, 2009, 14:01 GMT

    Last thing i want to hear about sehwag is that he is a flat track bully, That he gets his runs only on flat tracks is very wrong guys..... Yes he gets his runs on flat tracks but he scores on difficult tracks as well remember his 202* out of the 300 odd runs scored by india. When murali and mendis were all over Indians.... Sehwag was belting the bowlers with such ease.

    Also tell me one batsman who has scored a triple hundred on a bowler friendly wicket.... Sehwag is very special and the way he attacks the opposition is very similar to viv richards.... nothing wrong in the article

  • bibhutiking on December 4, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    Hey sambit how can u joke on an stage called CRICINFO. first u compared Sehwag with Viv. Then u said sehwag Played murali better than Lara. Lara didnot have to face Murali alone But VAAS as well. If I am right these current srilankan pacers are nowhere near chaminda Vass. Again lara had to face a battle within as well. How many times during those knocks did LARA GET SUPPORT FROM HIS TEAM MATE as SEHWAG got in terms of VIJAY and DRAVID. and last but not the least IS IT THE SAME MURALI WHO LARA FACED.

  • Retour on December 4, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    Nice article. IMHO, Sehwag is one of the top two openers of this decade, the other being Hayden .... As someone said, he does well in all types of conditions and attacks. His ability to get huge scores quickly not only helps other players batting with him but also gives his team's bowlers more time to bowl out the opposition. This also brings the age old belief that it's the bowlers that win tests in to debate.

    In short, he is a legend and right up there with other Indian batting greats like Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Dravid! (How you rank these greats in the group is another debate)

    Btw, when Sehwag played his 100th inning, below is how he stacked up with others when they had played their 100th inning

    " if we are to rank them after their 100 innings [99 in some cases] then below is the standing: Sobers - 5345 Gavaskar - 5249 Richards - 5214 Hayden - 5212 Sehwag - 5102 Tendulkar - 4956 Lara - 4778"

  • raghu1122000 on December 4, 2009, 13:51 GMT

    why are we even saying things like @ had sehwag faced the bowlers that Sir viv had...@... hardly 5% of the people commenting in this forum really watched live what or how those bowlers bowled in the 70s. by saying termas like " those great bowlers of 70s" you actually are to an ex tent degrading the mcgraths, akrams, akhtars, warnes, murlis that sehwag has faced. Secondly Sir Viv Richards played most part in the 80s . The only group of teirrrifying bowlers then were from westindies and pakistan. So we know how much Viv faced the so called terrifying bowlers and murdered them is a matter of perception. For me it is no news, the tendency of commentators all over the world to glorify the players of their days and that is the only basis on which we are terming the terrifyingness of the bowlers of those days. word of mouth..I am not the one to deprive greatness to a man who has an average of 50 and many massive scores to his name when kp from eng is already a great with half the records

  • Naren on December 4, 2009, 13:50 GMT

    I did not even attempt to read this article. What a stupid title? What was the bowling attacks that Richards faced and what Shewag faces. He really mesmerised the bowlers around the world. What was Shewag doing in the series against Australia? Shewag only scores in batting tracks. These placid Sub-Continent pitches are making lot of average cricketers as heroes.

    Really stupid subject. Don't compare people with Bradman, Sobers, Richards. It is an insult to those greats.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 4, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    I bet this article will be the one that gets the most comments for 2009! Sehwag's great, but everyone knows Chris Martin for New Zealand is the best, most destructive, match-winning batsmen ever. Just look at all those not-outs. 38 compared to Sehwag's pathetic 4!

  • eddy501 on December 4, 2009, 13:45 GMT

    Although the comparison between VIV and Sehwag is fascinating, I think that particularly this day we should be comparing Sehwag's ability to smash his way to huge innings. In that regard his huge ton making is more like Lara. One former Indian test player (a columnist at Cric info ) went as far as saying he believed that not only Sehwag would become the only player to hit 3 triples he would also go on to break Lara's 400. I think this clearly shows a fundamental misunderstanding (even from a former test player) of what it takes to break that particular record. Lara done it twice.

    It takes a very, very special batsmen to break the high score record. Someone who can smash as well as craft, someone who can handle terrific pressure and history, someone like Bradman, Sobers and Lara (twice). In this regard and this form of huge inning making, Ponting, Sachin, Richards, etc are in a lower league.

  • justjonty on December 4, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    Some of the comments in this section border on the ignorant and the stupid. Let me quash these one by one.

    1) Sehwag is a flat track bully- Anyone saying this, please check your stats. A staggering 194 on a lively melbourne wicket, his debut century under intense pressure, Trent Bridge and his assault in chase of 387 didnt come on flat tracks. 2) Dont compare him to king Viv- Why? I do agree that Richards played in a tougher era. But like most other stories, with time the legend builds. I have great respect for him and I feel very unfortunate that I couldnt watch him bat. Sehwag will never be defined by his triple hundreds,he has been the game breaker for India for quite sometime now and for that singular reason he will be a great.

    I feel saddened that all the rubbish written over here, seems to be based on a single fact-he is Indian ( I maybe wrong but thats the impression I get).

  • dilscoop on December 4, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    No doubt sehwag is the destructive batsman of this era - but to compare him with a player of a different era (Richards) and drawing a conclusion he was more destructive is not correct (despite numbers/stats). First of all Richards faced much potent bowling attacks around the world during his times (lillee, thommo, hadlee, imran, kapil etc) - though not sehwag's fault. Pitches like the WACA, Sabina Park were much faster and bouncier than it is today - also today's bats used by players make the yesteryear bats look like toothpicks. Add to that the number of bouncers per over were not restricted during Richard's time and Richards played most of his innings without a helmet even. All these things will not be reflected in statistics. It is almost like comparing who among Sunny Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar is a more technically correct "Test" Batsmen - you cannot decide the winner based just on numbers. just compare contempararies not players of different era's - an exercise in futility.

  • GuyFromLancs on December 4, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    Sehwag has more or less the same average as Dravid but scores twice as quickly. Many people don't like Sehwag because he is simplistic, an anti-romanticist. People like players with an element of mystery to their batting. Sehwag has none, he makes a mockery of mystery and theory and just plays the ball as he sees it.

    Fans will be sorry when he's gone. I dare say the same people on talking him down on here will be telling their grandchildren how great he was in a few decades.

  • Rohan1 on December 4, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    OF COURSE Sehwag is better than Lara! charles 400, what a lot of rot! firstly in that inn. you mention healy dropped a sitter of lara, he was given the benefit of lbw numerous times,knocked on the head, and they were chasing 350 odd! great inn. sure..but a lot of luck involved with a lot of commtiment by the tail, aus were bowled out cheaply by the great WI bowlers, mcgrath etc had debuted 2/3 yrs back so were not really considered great, just warne was...and so one inni. ( with good dollops of luck) and X is considered the best? what nonsense. Sehwag is better than lara at everything lara did...he gets bigger scores, faster...which was basically laras claim to fame...not consistency,or some such. lara was also very poor against the real pace bowling in the 90s- not the medium pace of mcgrath...so get over your blind idol worship...Sehwag is lara on steroids.

  • Shreyas_Sinkar on December 4, 2009, 13:36 GMT

    Last thing we want is to compare two cricketers just by mere numbers,specially if they have played in two different eras.Even Sir Viv Richards has faced good bowlers like Lillee,Hadlee,Imran Khan ,Kapil Dev,Jeff Thomson,Botham etc. and in those days players never used helmets.And also considering the present day pitches,T20,power plays ,I wonder whether anyone would want to represent his team as a bowler.Take both The ODIs and Tests into consideration and definetely Sir Viv Richards will emerge as the winner of the two.

  • nyallj on December 4, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    If you'll allow me my 2 cents please. It's nice to compare statistics and come up with the "more destructive" title. So here is a bit of statistic Mr. Bal: Lara played 8 matches against Sri Lanka, scoring 1125 runs, 5 hundreds, average 85.x, highest score 221. Sehwag has also played (playing) 8 matches, scored 891 runs, 3 hundreds, average 74.x, highest score 293. Both batting against lineups including Murali (except Lara also faced a certain Chaminda Vaas, who, if I remember correctly was #1 bowler then), so (I was unable to find a Lara vs. Murali vs. Sehwag directly stats) how can you say Sehwag is better than Lara against Murali? But then you might come up with the idea that statistics is not everything when comparing greats, right? But then that would blow your article to smithereens, won't it? Sehwag more destructive than Sir Viv, ha. Ask Sehwag to take off 1/2 the padding he has on now, and then go on English and Australian pitches and be as destructive as Sir Viv. Hmmm..

  • DarkGotenksXI on December 4, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    Seriously???????? one of the most stupidest articles I've ever read...how can you compare sehwag to the great vivian richards???? sehwag don't got nuttin against richards because he sure as hell ain't better than him in my opinion just because he made double/triple hundreds doesnt mean he's better. Ricky Ponting is the greatest batsman alive and not even sehwag can outplay him kthx

  • Prash83 on December 4, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    I have seen Sir ViV batting in some of Highlights and He was pleasure to watch, similarly sehwag on song is a pleasure to watch, so I think we should enjoy what is on offer to us instead of comparing.. What I miss is some real good fast bowlers..where r u guys, wasim,waqar,merv, mcdermot, donald, walsh, ambrose, mcgrath, todays fast bowlers looks like pedestrian in front of these guys but I think more pitches like these 3 pitches in India would definitely kill fast bowling

  • prashant1 on December 4, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    1)@charles400- an "indian paper" did not say tendulkar is a once in a century player .STEVE WAUGHT did. i would reckon he knows much more about batting than you ever will. 2)Heck, i didnt see that sehwag is BETTER than viv ,tendulkar or anyone. it said he is more DESTRUCTIVE- and that he certainly is.

  • Percy_Fender on December 4, 2009, 13:27 GMT

    It is indeed unfortunate that the tag of greatness has to be given so grudgingly and with a trace of appology to one of the greatest batsmen of all time. It is quite likely that this is so because he comes form a place called Najafgarh where there obviously is no coaching manual, so definitive to players form Mumbai, Chennai or Karnataka. That he is a self confessed milk addict and hails from a land known generally for wrestlers, makes it difficult for most people to accept Sehwag as an all time great. I believe he is right there alongside Gavaskar, Tendulka rand Dravid in the pantheon of Indian greats.What makes him so is that he is utterly fearless, has a great body weight transfer, has amazing hand eye co-ordination and above all has appetite for big scores once he is set. The last quality is the one that we seldom see these days. It was normal in the likes of Bradman, Hutton,Hammond, Sobers, Kanhai and Lara to score big. We should be grateful to have such a genius in our midst.

  • Parth_Pala on December 4, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    @ Kiwirocker amongst the other reactionary posters. No one said Sehwag was better but he certainly is more destructive and scores at a much brisker pace. Not to mention he scored big hundreds on all types of pitches not only in India but in Australia, England West Indies almost everywhere he played. And against all opposition . Clearly you comments are of no substance. That is shown when you call Muhhamed Yousuf the best batsmen. That title is between Lara Tendulkar and ponting who score a century every 4.3, 4.5 and 4.7 innings they play. Which is ahead of anyone including Mohhamed Yousuf who had a one good year where he scored 5 centuries against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and was suddenly being compared to the greatest. Please get a hold of yourselves.In fact other than Bradman no one compares to their records. Bottom line is Sehwag is more destructive than Richards, what will cement that he is, is when he tours abroad more in the next five- six years.

  • Pirki1 on December 4, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    I dont want to put him with Viv. He was a great batsman, played at the tricky piches with best bowlers in the history of cricket the likes of beefy, snow, lillee, thomson, Imran Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Bedi, Abdul qadir, Alderman. in Sehwag's Sachin's and pontinting's case the tracks are Highways, the bowling is very substandard apart from one or two. If you bring richards now in the WI team he will score at the strike rate more than 100 by batting left Handed.

  • mickaero on December 4, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    A well written article! Regarding the relative bowling quality, I would submit that most of the high quality bowling in the days of Richards' actually was West Indian (barring the Indian spn quartet and Lillee/Hadlee). I would have liked to see Richards ba against his own fearsome pace quartet....one wonders what his stats would have been like in that scenario!!!

  • meer_india on December 4, 2009, 13:19 GMT

    Add one more column to every batsman's stat showing the instances when he was saved either by wrong decisions by umpires or by misfields and drop catches. Sehwag will surely top the list in the history of cricket.

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    @VaughanStraker and a few others who joined late..this is the original heading of this article..http://tweetmeme.com/story/323913918/sehwag-is-better-than-richards-opinion-cricinfo-magazine-cricinfocom

  • bipulkumar on December 4, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    I looked at the stats. It does reflect that Viv Richards was more consistent than Sehwag. His average hovers around 50 against all countries and all seasons. Sehwag's fluctuates between 70 to 30. But Sehwag's worst average is against Bangladesh and best against teams like Pak, Aus, SA and SL. So, I don't think anyone could claim that he has scored against easier bowling attacks. Definitely not. Sambit has used the word more destructive while comparing the two and here I agree. Because when Sehwag has gone to score big he has really scored big and in no time. And his good knocks has almost always resulted in unthought-of victories for India.

  • meer_india on December 4, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    I don't think that inspite of his record, Sehwag can be treated alongside other greats. I don't think batsmen like lara,tendulkar and vivian richards have offered that many chances to bowlers.

  • Diwakar on December 4, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    Good analysis, Sambit. As you say, however, numbers are merely the starting point.

    I, among a million others, think very highly of Sehwag and his destructive ability. He is great indeed. I am not sure, though, if Sehwag's presence has struck terror in bowlers' hearts as Viv's mere swagger on to the field with bat in hand did.

    Whatever numbers say, Test cricket is still a psychological game and Richards had the best of everyone he played against.

    Why not ask those who have bowled to Richards? They can speak frankly too, I am sure.

  • Raj_pandian on December 4, 2009, 13:07 GMT

    Comparing Sehwag with Viv Richards.. good joke yaar.... Do u think the quality of the bowling attack is as good as before.. We hardly see any good bowlers. It's clearly a non-sense. Richards is a legend. The kind of bowling attack he faced those days is totally different from now....

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    @VaughanStraker- its charles 400 not charles4000 the headline did say Sehwag better than Richards when it was first published today.Later they changed it to "more destructive".And as of your qulaities-qulaity of opposition?Brian single handedly destroyed Australia nd Murali in Srilanka just to quote a few.Ability to score in diff conditions?Where did Brian not score?And he scord most of his runs when he had little support at the other end. He was not n opener mind you but most times in his career he almost opened thanks to the feeble windies team.Even as i write this I cant beleive somebody is even contemplating of comparing Brian lara and sehwag!!!McGrath and Murali rated him the best batsmen they ever bowled to.Period.

  • Tony_Vinayak on December 4, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    I think the only thing that causes debate about Sehwag being hailed as a great, despite his stellar statistics, is his technique. While "stand and deliver" fetches boundaries galore, it is, well, not in the training manuals. It is his excellent hand-eye coordination that wins him the day. Another similar example is Dhoni. Tendulkar, on the other hand, is all grace and style. When Sehwag hits an inside-out shot from outside the leg stump, it makes me cringe and applaud at the same time.

  • meer_india on December 4, 2009, 13:01 GMT

    No doubt, that Sehwag has good hand eye co-ordination.In addition to that his approch to the game is fearless. You have to call him great from his records. But there are several other qualitiesof good batshmanship, like ability to play solid cricket,patience etc. which he can improve upon so as to be in the ranks of other greats.

  • Mahesh_AV on December 4, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Good article and I like the clarification made at the end. Very true. It has not been said that Sehwag is better than Richards. They are batsmen of two different eras and facing different bowlers. However, what can be said is that Sehwag clearly deserves the tag of 'great' attached to him. True, Richards used to be devastating and he still remains great. Its just that there are more 'greats' being added to the list and Sehwag is one of them. This statement is meant for all those people rubbishing the comparison. How do you measure if you do not compare? Accept the facts. Richards is great. So is Sehwag. Lets go on with life and enjoy the batting of Sehwag for as long as he plays.

  • inquireme on December 4, 2009, 12:57 GMT

    yes its true... Sehwag has a class of his own. he missed the 3rd Triple century So what? the way he scored runs against Sri lankans (splly Murli) it was just demoralising for bowlers...many youngsters would might think of changing as batsmens due to the domination he showed over bowlers..it was like evry one on the field was had come to just bowl himto triple century which was just missed...i hope there are many more innings comming up....

  • cricaddict9118 on December 4, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    it was sad to see sehwag miss out being Ist batsman to score 3 TRIPLE hundreds.. but the manner in wic he batted on IInd day was smthng absoltely astonishing.... wen he was battin indians wer CONSISTENTLY scoring at OVER 5.6 R.P.O thru-out d day(consistently means for almost 80 overs) der is only one batsman who can do dat VIRU....... i knw sm of those sittin in aus woud be sayin so wat it was on flat indian track but for a record bret lee,mcgrath,mitch hav hardly succedded on indian track n keep takin wickets on tailor-made tracks for fast bowlers!!!!!!! he is far greater batsman then hayden,gilly,symo n all othrs... i hav nt seen vivian bat but surely Sehwag is rulin the rules!!!!

  • auggie on December 4, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    Sambit is right in what he says. Sehwag is the greatest and most destructive of the lot even without considering strike rates. A few old names as great as they were should be discarded now as the game is not really the same as what is was then. Bats have improved, gear has changed to permit more freedom of moment, third umpires with TV technology is in place,diet and condition is paid more attention to, etc, etc. Of the more modern names mentioned like Gilchrist, Lara, Tendulkar, Richards ( Not very modern) Jayasuriya there are only two batsmen who can bat so destructively without seemingly planning a shot - nearly all strokes coming automatically and with some kind of super instinct. These two are Sehwag and Jayasuriya. Sehwag is minutely ahead of Jayasuriya but just minutely. In any case the SL selctors have written off Jayasuriya (More or less) so we wont be seeing his flashing bat again, at least not in tests. I hope the Indian selectors will never drop the wonderful Sehwag.

  • SimonSpreadX1 on December 4, 2009, 12:46 GMT

    I've heard some nonsense in my time but 'Sehwag is more destructive than Richards is right up there'.

  • jamrith on December 4, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    @Sorcerer, reur comment about Sehwag's fallibility against Asif, remember that Asif, then, and now, was/ is fuelled by your magic potions :)

  • sushantsingh on December 4, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    One of the worst article ever written in the history of cricinfo & that to by the chief editor.Comparing Sehwag to Richards , I think next he will compare dravid to Sir Colin Cowdrey.

  • Danny01 on December 4, 2009, 12:35 GMT

    The game has changed considerably over the decades which makes comparisons difficult. There was atime when 3 runs an over was the norm in test cricket, but now it is 3.5 to 4 runs an over. This has influenced how batsmen approach the game. However, unless the stats prove me wrong, I consider Sehwag temperamental - he bats well when he is in the mood. If I remember, and the stats may prove me wrong, Richards was more consistent.

  • krsna76 on December 4, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Shewag is destructive in Test - Agreed. But what about ODIs, he still averages mere 34 eventhough the strike rate is 100. It seems, he doesn't like playing in Poweplay when guys all around the circle. So it is better he does not open in ODIs and try coming at 4 or 5.

  • ArmBallMaster on December 4, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    One of the best of his generation and undoubtedly one of the most destructive! However...

    Averages 60 in Asia, and 40 away from Asia. 12 hundreds in Asia, 5 away from Asia.

    Wouldn't want to bowl at him on a flat one in Mumbai, but not versitile enough to be considered a true great.

  • GuyFromLancs on December 4, 2009, 12:29 GMT

    There are also things that work against Sir Viv.

    1. Most of the best bowlers played for his side 2. Where were the decent spinners in the 80s? 3. The standard of fielders in the outfiled during the 80s was laughable. Each and every team appeard to be carrying dead weight.

  • muski on December 4, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    The writer has been careful to put a rider at the end stating that he is not saying Sehwag is better than Richards. Except for Bradman whose average was out of this world, all the batting greats can never be compared. Can we say Gavaskar was inferior to Lara or Ponting or Tendulkar.This would be an endless debate. Sehwag has already achieved enough to have his name etched permanently in the cricketing record books. More than anything else, this man is entertaining millions which is so crucial at a time when it seems Test Cricket is down and out. If Statistics is the only thing to go by to determine greatness, Sehwag should certainly be right up there with the Batting Gods by the time he hangs up his boots.

  • nitrixx on December 4, 2009, 12:25 GMT

    Completely agree with Sambit. He is done enough to elicit such comparisons. Bowlers are not good enough these days? Hasn't he faced Murali, Warne, McGrath, Steyn, Pollock? And the fact that he conjures monumental scores repeatedly at such a pace is enough testimony. @ his detractors: Stop being cynical and accept the fact that he is a great batsman. He has got nothing more to prove (although he will repeatedly do).

  • dane400 on December 4, 2009, 12:17 GMT

    There will always be a comparison of batsmen from the past and present. Lets just accept that. But to the say that Sehwag is a better hitter than Sir Viv is almost comical if we dont understand that Viv played in an era of cricket when almost all teams were playing at peak performance. Fast bowlers were tearing in to knock your head of, there were lots of world class spin bowlers who turned the bowl square. Sehwag is hitting Murali at the end of his career on a flat pitch. BC Lara hit Murali to all parts of the grounds in Sri Lanka in 3 test scoring over 600 runs. Sir Viv has a presence of invincibility when he comes to the pitch. Viru has a weakness to fast bowling and makes most of his high scores on the flat pitches of india. Viv had the power to score runs whenever he fells like and u cant stop him. It's really for me accept that Viru is a better hitter than Viv

  • raghu1122000 on December 4, 2009, 12:16 GMT

    One - lets get this straight. The author in my view is commending on Sehwags greatness focussing more on the strike rate. Naturally this has irked many to even comment on including Shahid Afridi in this list of greatness. It is not just the strike rate that makes Sehwag great , itr is this coupled with his massive triples, doubles and the many many centuries, an average of 50 even after 80 tests and more importantly the ability to win matches that makes him great. So not just the strike rate.. done get shahid afridis name again anywhere near.

    two- What Sehwag would have done if he had faced the monsteresque bowlers of the 70s that viv had faced is a matter of speculation. lets not deprive the greatness to this guy based on speculation. He already has triple centuries, double centuries and many many hundreds, has changed the course of many matches , has an amazing strike rate and a wonderful average, scored all over the world. doesnt need anything more to prove his greatness.

  • KiwiRocker- on December 4, 2009, 12:15 GMT

    It is a great insult to Sir.Issac Viv Richards. Sir Viv had continuously murdered their over rated spinners in India.Go and check records.I like Sambit Bal's writings but this is certainly not one of his best. Really, since when Shoib Akhtar was best Pakistani bowler and in a one off over spent Saqlain Mushtaq failed so what? I repeat Sehwag did not face best bowlers of modern era. Sehwag also has not scored in all formats of game like Sir.Viv did. Sehwag is not even a good slogger. Afridi can take that award. Sehwag is just a lucky player like Dhoni who is enjoying ride on Indian pitches before next big tournament comes & India gets knocked out in second round. Best Batsman of Modern Era is Muhammad Yousaf as far as rankings go.Indian fans overreact . Gambhir is already being compared to greats. India's best batsman was Sunil Gavaskar and India's current best batsman is is Rahul Dravid.Same thing was done to likes of Irfan Pathan compared to Great Wasim. Where is He now a days anyway

  • BHALLAM on December 4, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    HA!! Another masterpiece from Ahmasa !! You need to get this in perspective, however much Sehwag achieves, he will never be put in the league of pontings, sachins, and Lara's, LET ALONE don bradman.

    However, on this day he has taken the term "destruction" to a new level , and Yes A lot of people will agree and endorse articles like this. As for Sehwag being greater than Bradman, I think it is a naive to think that anybody will endorse it.

    You have not failed to amaze us with your ignorance being reflected in your comments

  • Capitalist_Cricketer on December 4, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    Excellent Analysis. Sehwags destructivness also blends in nicely with Gambhirs and Dravids Anchorsheet role. It also compliments Laxman and Tendulkers elegant shot selection. Last but not the least it leaves a benchmark for destructive batting for Yuvraj & Dhoni to build on. Im not going to compare him to anyone as that in my opinion is not correct, He is what he is and thats simple as that. I would love to take a poke at media who keep on writing about the obituary of Test Cricket with players like Sehwag et all , we dont need to worry about the popularity of this format of the game. Test Cricket is true food for the soul of every cricket loving person. Amen !

  • scipher on December 4, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Very good article. I belong to the younger generation and have not seen Viv Richards batting. But there is a sheer bravery in Sehwag that you cant find in other batsmen. I have seen Shahid Afridi batting bravely but without a strong technique like Sehwag, he fails to make it often. I was already in a very good feel about the knock and this raises my excitement to a higher level.

  • CricEnthusiast on December 4, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Thanks for sharing your views Mr. Editor. I know you are a great writer and i follow your articles closely. While some might argue on the 'buts' i believe that many will accept the very fact that you have put forward. It always takes lots of courage to stand out and say something with such assertiveness. But recognising and appropriately appreciating are two great qualities that i like in your writing. The great thing about this (and every article of your) is that every word is so well chosen to reflect the real situation. May your contribution to the cricketing world continue.

  • MaheshSPanicker on December 4, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    during Viv's days, other than Pak no bowling unit was all class. India and NZ had one absolute world class and all others below avrage, after 1982 Australia was not different and they even didn't have that one special one. Botham's best days were behind him after 1983, and all the other English bowlers after him were crap throughout the 80s other than Underwood. like Viv, Sehwag has runs everywhere, SA/Australia/England/SL/WY/Pak. he hasn't done all that well against Bangladesh and Zim, and more importantly, in NZ. Viv had problems against Indian spin, and NZ hasn't been his favorit place either. yet we know Viv Richards is absolute class, and was a total batter. so may be on the futility front, Sambit will have to rethink. otherwise, the article makes real sense.

  • Victorian-Roo on December 4, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    @CKfromBrisbane

    U really are an idiot, aren't you? There's a difference between the words "Better" and "Destructive". Sachin is a better player than Sehwag but certainly isn't as destructive as he is. Did you get it? Try to comprehend what Sambit is trying to say. I said this the last time to you in the previous article by Sambit where you were trying to be a smart-a** and I'll say it again. There's nothing wrong in praising one's own side or a particular player of the side as long as the writer showers the same praise for other deserving players of different nationalities. Ian Chappell, when his own team's on a high, tends to praise them to an extent where one would feel that every single Aussie player is either a Hercules or a Superman, when they are mere mortal, just in good form. Sometimes in his (Ian) articles one may get a feeling that Tony Greig could be the ghost writer for Mr. Chappell because of the exaggerations.

  • Theena on December 4, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Cross-generational comparisons always encourages the sort of tangential debate this article seems to have inevitably done. I don't care if Sehwag is more destructive than Richards. All I know is what I witnessed yesterday was Murali looking utterly helpless for the first time in eight years. The last time I saw him looking as clueless was against another West Indian in 2001. His name was Brian Lara.

    The point of this article is people almost dismiss Sehwag as someone in the Afridi mode - I've listened to several cricket conversations where people have alluded to him as such, only a batsman with more brains - which I thought was a tad unfair. I didn't however consider him a 'great', but an hour and a half of watching the post-lunch session yesterday made me realize that the man is the real deal. As far as I am concerned, Sehwag is one the finest Indian batsman. I consider it a privilege to have seen him at his prime. And so should every cricket lover.

  • ahmasa on December 4, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    Had Sehwag scored a triple century today this article would have been headlined: "Sehwag a better than the God of cricket himself Don Bradman" and people like BHALLAH would have even endorsed that. Believe me India is surely going to win this match easily and they will then be no.1 in the rankings and you can expect more such articles from sambit bal. I hope sri lanka are badly thrashed in the 20-20 and ODIs as well bcoz the bowling line up they have every Indian player must be itching to thrash them. Barring Yuvraj every Indian player has made merry against this attack

  • zs34 on December 4, 2009, 11:40 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with comparing. Here is more For Sehwag: 2 triple hundreds and a few doubles, Performed well all over the world even in SA and Aus. Ability to hit the good balls. Not intimidated by a bowler's variations. Against: vulnerable against bouncers(on a bouncy surface), Doesn't pick the weaker bowler to hit, just above average ODI record For Richards: Probably the best ever stroke player against fast and swing bowling, Ability to hit the good balls, scored fast when nobody else was doing it. Against: vulnerable against quality spin bowling (On spinning track), fewer really big scores in tests(just three doubles), Last few years of his career he was dragging himself To me, Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting are the best batsman our era has produced and they are more destructive than these two.

  • Gee_Cambs on December 4, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Guys - I do believe Sehwag is a one-off, we never had anyone like him - stats dont like

    Talking about Stats, has anyone read article on respected english daily 'The Times' suggesting - ICC should review its ranking system given that India is about to reach the top? lol

    I am very curious what Mr SAMBIT Bal has to say on this...(Sambit, please read this and give your opinion!)

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/cricket/article6942221.ece

  • Lucky13cc on December 4, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    Yet another article to polarise opinions! I think most cricket lovers, regardless of which team they support, will understand that to try to compare any batsmen of this era to sir viv is ridiculous. The greatest thing that is overlooked is the sheer courage that he (and indeed most batsmen of that generation and before) had to display once they walked onto that pitch. No padding, no helmets, just courage and belief in your ability. Sehwag is a truly fine batsmen, one i always love to watch bat. But please, cricket has changed so much and been so heavily weighted in batsmans favourthat i am afraid no player can be compared to those of past generations. Viv is the greatest i have seen in my lifetime.

  • HLANGL on December 4, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Well. Richards may be the more complete batsman having the range of strokes in a technically more orthodox manner. But make no mistake, Shewag is an absolutely stunning player who could dominate any era, so no credit shoudl be taken away from him. His technique may not sound the most orthodox, then how many would question the technique adopted by Bradman, which was sometimes even more unorthodox than Shewag's ?. Well, Shewag is a genius, he'll dominate any era, no doubt. If you can accept so & so players who have accumulated thousands of runs with a 50+ average at a pedestrian like mere 50+ strike rate as great players, why not give the credit to someone who has got his runs by playing a type of game which requires an excessive amount of tallent where chances are lesser to be consistent ? It's true that he could get heaps of runs without much fuss, but that it self is due to his greatness.

  • MaheshSPanicker on December 4, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    well, it seems the debating standards have gone down here. most of the comments seems to be coming out right from the Australian/English press box. Sambit's argument is that Sehwag has become the most distructive batter in test cricket. and in this respect, and only in that respect, he's even better than Viv himsself. the counter arguments? quality of bowling attacks, protection availability, futility of such a comparison, flat tracks vs others and so on. now, Viv and Sehwag are great players, who delt the best bowlers of their generations very well indeed. Sehwag has played Murali/Warne/MCgrath/Shoaib/Entini/Pollock/Stain/Flintoff/Lee the list goes on, and I haven't included all the others who are not there of the same class. I don't think these bowlers are avrage by any means. now on protection, in the 80s it became available very much, and Viv played most of his cricket after that. and in the 80s, of all the bowlers Viv played, only Pakistan had a bowling unit of real class

  • cjbops on December 4, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    I absoluetly agree with the editor , but one point is Sir Viv richard was great during his period and Sehwag is absolutely great during his period and who knows in the future there could be some one who might dominent Sehwag supremecy too .

  • rahulsengupta on December 4, 2009, 11:28 GMT

    this thread of comments has justified my initial comment on this matter( 3rd comment from the start). especially when i read this bloke talkin about university degrees... ppl r just attached to the heroes of there era, and will just not accept anything else. to my Indian friends... try telling your parents A.R.Rahman is better than S.D.Burman.

  • Sorcerer on December 4, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    My goodness, dazzler....! that Sehwag's 309 in multan - it was on "deadest" pitch imaginable and he was dropped at least five times en route that figure. Saqlain's career was already dwindling before that Series. Talking about playing on "helpful tracks", remember again what those "dangerous Paki bowlers" did to Sehwag in the Karachi Decider Test of 2006...the difference there was that the pitch was helpful and Sehwag was like a little boy lost in woods against the likes of Asif and Shoaib.....Asif owned him completely then and in some of the ODIs that followed....pause.....

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on December 4, 2009, 11:24 GMT

    @wanderer1 you make a good point but fail to mention that Sehwag also averages 60 in Australia. But he has undoubtedly got to prove his greatness away from home and while he still has the time to do that maybe we are going a bit overboard already ranking him above Richards. Actually the headline is a bit misleading because Sambit's argument seems to be about Sehwag's strike rate more than about whether he is "greater" than Richards or Tendulkar. I don't think anyone would seriously suggest that Sehwag is already a greater batsman than Richards, Tendulkar or Lara (though he might be reckoned to be on a par with those by the time he has finished).

  • Sorcerer on December 4, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    It would be laughable if it were not to be so shameful to even think of comparing Sehwag with King Viv. Poor piece of biased shoddy reporting from someone in such a high position on CricInfo. And such a novice standpoint to be basing it all largely on strike-rates of batsmen who have played in different eras! My goodness Bal, what were you thinking!!

    To the one who has strangely talked about Sehwag scoring so big on helpful pitches too, please indicate how many innings of Sehwag have been against a very good bowling attack on bowler-friendly pitches? Multiple failures stack up though.Sehwag, is in essence, an expert of tearing apart mediocre attacks on dead flat pancake pitches. Imagine him playing like Viv did in that fabulous 189* on a semaing track in Manchester. Not even Bal can conjure up that notion. Batting has progressively become so much easier as compared to the '80s - a fact strangely lost on Sambit Bal for the reason that he was viewing things from an Indian lens.

  • VaughanStraker on December 4, 2009, 11:20 GMT

    Charles 4000, the headline didn't say "Sehwag better than Richards'" as you suggest. Look again, it says "more destructive than Richards". That being the case, strike rate might well be a useful yardstick to measure this by. However, Sambit Bal has referred to other qualities - see "Quality of opponents, versatility, the ability to score in different conditions, and most of all being able to turn up when it matters. Sehwag ticks all these boxes emphatically." Try criticising the article based on what it actually says rather than what you (wrongly) think it might have said. 2/10 please re-do

  • TMS8137 on December 4, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    The fact of the matter is that throughout the history of test cricket there has never been an opener who has consistently attacked the new ball. The way Sehwag plays is totally cavalier and thats the refreshing thing about him. He lives and dies by the sword. He is prone to wafts outside the off stump. Susceptible to short pitched bowling and balls angling into him. The fact of the matter is that if a person like me knows all these things I'm sure every body in world cricket would know this but they still are not able to contain him when he gets going. He knows only one way to play and does not have a second gear. But still that is the reason he will accompany Mr. Gavaskar as the opener for the all time India XI. For bare statistics look at this one, He averages 50.79 runs per innings and that is really special.

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    Contd...An indian news paper recently said a player like Sachin Tendulkar is born every 100 years.But ladies and gentleman there was only one Brian Lara and no one will be ever born.May I remind that Sehwag bats alongside sachin dravid laxaman all of whom average above 50 intrst cricket.Brian for most of his career batted with the lower middle order...oops what am i doing?I am comparing Sehwag to Brian Lara?Am I out of mind?I admire Sehwag's fearless approach but thats about it.

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    re you kidding me?You compare batsmen vis-a-vis strike rates??? And you put Brian Lara in that list? Can Sehwag or any modern batsman for that matter even dream of an innings like 153* scored by Brian Chalres Lara in Bridgetown Barbados?Here is the context of the match for the uninitiated.Aus made 490 Windies were 6/96 and ended up at 329.Aussies bowled out for 146.windies needed 308 to win and were 5/105 and 8/248.Brian scored an unbeaten 153 to steer his side to one of the greatest victories of all time.And this is just one innings for a man who scored 277 for his 1st test 100..am not talking abt his 375 or 400 or 213(Jamaica vs Aussies)here. I do not givea damn if you say Sehwag is better than Richards though i feel its ridiculous..I have not seen Richards bat but let me tell you none of the current batsman can even dream of batting like Brian Charles Lara.

  • proteasfan99 on December 4, 2009, 11:08 GMT

    Whoever said something about strike rates based then Afridi is a better player, misread the article...Afridi might have the strike rate but he does not have the average and runs to talk about but Sehwag is great because he covers all departments...talk about tripple centuries, double centuries, big centuries, match changing and saving centuries...talk about amazing starts to an innings...talk about 6000runs plus....talk about 50 plus average...you cannot leave out Virender...but you cant get Afridi or most of those other guys with 70+ strike rates...then why leave him out of the cricketing greats...his definately made life easier for other Indian batsman around him...he gives them hope, confidence, sets them up..his a star...ask Tendulkar why??

  • mudz112 on December 4, 2009, 11:05 GMT

    Lol. Tick? Sehwag best batsmen in international cricket? Since when? And please Mr Bal. I know you are an indian but don't compare him to the greatest batsmen who ever lived. Its an insult. Sehwag is a fantastic flat track bully. One of the best players to ever play on those cemetery's they call Indian pitches. But that highlights the problem with test cricket in the sub-continent and why nobody enjoy's watching tests there. The article is just how indian journalism is these days. If things go well they are untouchable. If things go bad, they are villians. There are always ups and downs in cricket. But Sehwag would struggle to make top 5 best batsmen in the world, let alone best who's ever lived or whatever rubbish these guys are going on about. In fact the best best indian batsmen of Sehwag's generation are Tendulkar and Dravid. And if you want to talk about the most destructive and feared player in the Indian team. Then 2 words. Yuvraj Singh.

  • GuyFromLancs on December 4, 2009, 10:55 GMT

    I find the bitterness on here strange. He may or may not be as good as Richards. Who cares? Why can't everyone just enjoy an opening batsman who averages 52ish at a strike rate above 80. A player who would probably prefer to get out on 399 trying to knock a 6 than pass 400 whilst playing cautiously. He is an inspiration. A one-off.

  • brlara on December 4, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    Dear Sambit and fellow readers, Can we all take a pledge to stop comparing yester year players with modern day cricketers. Richards, Bradmans, Sobers weren't wear helmet and made tons of runs. Sehwag is an unbelievable talent. No doubt about that. Just think about yesteryear player's technique that they weren't got hit once in their head. If so their life itself would have come to an end. For modern day cricketers, one mistake will cost only their wicket but for yester year players it would have been their end of the life. Can any one bet these modern day cricketers would have survived against Len pascoe, DK Lillee, Thomson, Holding, W Daniel, S Clarke, Marshall, Roberts, Garner like what our team Greats Gavaskar, M Amarnath, G R Vishy have done. Let us enjoy the moment. Finally,, many experts still believes that the Pre University Degree of 1960s is far more difficult than nowadays Engineering, Medical or other prof. degrees. We have to accept this actually. Gud luck VIRU.

  • BHALLAM on December 4, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    An absolute masterpiece of an article , and somehow AHMASA and TICK have managed to match the brilliance of Sambit with SHEER IGNORANCE.

    Neverthe less, Tick and Ahmasa have you ever given a thought other way round, as to how SIR Vivian Isaac Richards (with utmost respect) would have fared against Murali, Glenn Mc Grath, Shane Warne, and the lot. A little food for thought. These three hold 2064 Wickets compared to the greats of the past you have referred to (Lillee, Hadlee, Holding) - 1035 Wickets. Even the average is better by 0.08 %.

    Then how do you conclude that Sehwag has faced any lesser bowlers compared to Sir Viv ?

  • rustin on December 4, 2009, 10:39 GMT

    Well this article was expected to raise a lot of arguments. Just like the one by Ian Chappell on Ponting and Duminy. But I feel there is no point in comparing batsmen from different era. But if anyone needs proof of his batsmanship, please watch the galle test/his debut in SA/his 195 at perth. Forget all his triple hundreds if you want to. Every player will have words of praise for him except these off-field cricket experts who watch a few matches and start strutting about and comment here mindlessly. Personally why I like his batting is his thinking. Bradman once said he tries to hit a ball for a four then 3 ,2 , 1. Sehwag extends it to a 6 which reduces his consistency but you can't argue with the elemental thought process behind it. (Im not comparing them!) Everyone says he is the most destructive modern batsman, no one will say he is the best batsman we have seen since a long time. I mean the first batsman I would choose if I had to make my test XI would be sehwag.

  • binkaf on December 4, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    Well, the stats, at least justifies the Title of this piece of writing but c'mon folks it'z jus abt strike rate,not abt class & hence no worriez. Sehwag'z in the league of hiz own but Viv is the another part of the story, a master-piece & worth reading thousand of timez n to be kept 4evr! With the changing time, comparisions most of the time don't make as much sense as it'z expected to do n tht'z exactly wht has happened wid ths text either.

  • CKfrombrisbane on December 4, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Bulshit ! Richards was much more better batsman than Sewega. Again sambit is backing his team .

  • Jose on December 4, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    It is awful to see bitter exchange of arguments between Monotheistic believers of different cricket gods. Both Viv Richards & Sehwag are great players of their own times. I am sure Sehwag will be called a legend after he retires.

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Well well I am really surprised that Sambit the Editor has written this piece. If some tyro has written a piece basing on sheer strike rates its fine but the editor of the Home of Cricket?I am not sure if i have company but not a single day passes for me without browsing cricinfo-i read not for the news but for the content and the quality of writing,style of writing paralelled in India may be only by the folks form The Hindu. You have amazing guys who bring out the perspective and i feel its writing at its best and not mere reporting. To me watching the matches is not complete until I read the reports on Cricinfo. Having said that I still can not believe that the Editor of Cricinfo has written such a piece and why the headline said:"Sehwag better than Richards'"??Like one of the comments above pointed out if strike rates were the key Shahid Afridi would be the greatest of all.May be Tony Cozier from Barbados should comment on this..he would have seen the best of Viv and Sehwag.

  • dazzler_arpan on December 4, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    Richards never faced fearsome WI attack..Just like Ponting never faced Warne,Mcgrath ..Just for same reason its very difficult to even compare Gavaskar with Viv or even sachin .. But the way Sehwag has played over the years , He should have received more respect as one of the best ever to play the beautiful game of cricket ... Though Sehwag himself says gambhir as best indian opener since Gavaskar , but I will always go for Sehwag.. And please the rhetoric that bowlers today are not of same class as 80 , 90 , early 2000 .. That will be most stupid of Idea .Can you compare Mcgrath with Imran or Headlee ... and if tomorrow any of the present young bowler against sehwag becomes another bowling great?? Bottom line : There is no one like Sehwag in attitude .. Is is already a batting legend . I still remember that 309 against pakistan in multan . He made dangerous paki bowlers like saqlain and shoaib look so silly ... Saqlain career ended after that .. Pause

  • GuyFromLancs on December 4, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    As an Englishman, I can only say that Sehwag is one of my very favourite cricketers. Imagine the scenario, 500 chase, thoughts lean towards wanting to save the match with a bore draw, Sehwag is the only player in the world maybe ever, that a captain could ever say "I want to win this game, how about a run a ball 200 to get us on the way"?

  • tick on December 4, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    SIR Richards is the best batsman of bowling dominant decades of 70,80s.how can sehwag be greater than SIR richards.when he has only played one truly great fast bowler mcgrath in his test carrier.??My god what are people thinking while writing such articles????definitely sehwag is the best batsmen in international cricket now and no one doubts this.but comparing him with 'SIR' richards is disgusting.its a shame why such controversies are made which are absolutly rediculous to even think.To be honest sehwag would not be as good against all time great fast bowlers like lillee,thompson,imran,botham,hedlee,holding,garner,marshall,roberts ,wills etc.sorry io feel for indian fans that writter completely ignored your best test player sunil gavaskar,a true legandry player.

  • Matricfail on December 4, 2009, 10:18 GMT

    Every word Sambit wrote in this article is more than 100% true. Sehwag is a different kind of player who comes to fore once in ages. I still can't understand why modern players are compared to those of in past. They had different arena/setup and environment. Today Cricket is professional, technical and many countries are playing. As far as Sehwag is concerned a fool wouldn't score near 300+ 3 times at astounding rate as him. He is greatest on his day because he make opponents/bowlers look like bunch of rustics throwing pies at him... I am sure he alone would take Test Cricket to a next stage where runs will be scored at faster rate. Many people already started to copy him.. So long may he play.

  • Namboory on December 4, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    Well written article. I think its absolutely true to compare him with other greats of the game. Technique and stats are secondary in cricket. His attitude towards the game is the best, Hit fours and sixes. Give the best in you and try to get the maximum out of everything - A simple principle working well in both real life and any game ! Sehwag seems to be the only one doing this in present day players Fortune favours the brave !

  • ahmasa on December 4, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    Its that time of the year when people like to end the year by cracking a good joke. Just read a bollywood article yesterday where AAMIR KHAN was compared to himesh reshammiya and now I read a article today comparing SIR VIV RICHARDS to Virender Sehwag (note the difference in case of letters, of course it will take some time for someone like sambit bal to understand what that signifies). Looking at Sri Lanka's current attack you shouldnt be surprised if sambit bal scores a half century (i am sorry if thats too many runs for sambit bal). The fact of the matter is that all these subcontinent teams and their players are lions only in their own backgrounds. The rankings signify nothing otherwise how do you expect a no. 2 ranked team looking so far behind the other team and not being able to even compete in one match

  • Saadi69 on December 4, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    Great player, no doubt, better than the other greats in the article, i dont think so. The thing about the greats is not their average or strike rate, its what they bring to the game. players like Richards, Tendulkar, Lara, Gilchrist are not what they are because of their average or strike rate. It was what they bought to the game, as soon as they walk onto the field the game would change. The crowd got excited, television viewers were glued, The opposition were pumped. Plus all the greats were good in both formats of the game, Sehwag hasnt had that effect in ODIs.

  • sunil.guddu on December 4, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    Hey kiwi rocker do u follow cricket or not.your comments show that you dont.Sehwa has played in all kind of condition and not only in subcontinent.well on the same notorious flat pitches of subcontinent batsman from other country like england ,southafrica and australi cant handle a turning bowl,Infact pitches in southafrca and australia are more suited to sehwag than india.And your ridiculous comment of afridi better than sehwag on strike rate but who is talking abt strike rate only.the article also speaks about the number of runs and average of sehwag and to maintain that average with such strike rate is almost impossible.sehwag has also made a mockery of shoiab,asif and saqlian mustaq.That he was not able to face wasim and waqar is not his fault(though he would have attacked them as well).same thing can be said about richards who didnt face west indian bowlers.But I am a big fan of richards and know that he would have handled them as well just like sehwag.So you pls give us a break

  • holywarrior007 on December 4, 2009, 10:06 GMT

    I don't understand any reason why all ignoramus here are adamant that Sehwag is not more destructive than Viv. Records speak for themselves. While Viv was certainly a great batsman, it doesn't mean that Sehwag is less than him. And to say that Sachin isn't better than Viv only describe the knowledge of cricket you have. Look at the record Sachin has created and then talk. It is also stupid that playing cricket in past was difficult. You should also know that these days with the help of technology, it is very easier to pick mistakes and exploit them. All former greats if they were playing in this era would have also found hard to adjust the pressure on current players. You should also take into account that.

  • stevereeo on December 4, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    its not that i actually beleive that sehwag is as destructive as VIV...but most of the arguments refuting this seem to be along of the lines of...its ridiculous full stop!! but no real reason why?

    the argument that sehwag is a flat track bully is actually pretty ignorant as anyone who follows indian cricket knows that when sehwag plays the easy pitches he tends to get out stupidly...

    i only caught the great viv during the end of his career...when he seemed to be more of a 60-70s type player instead of his a 180 sort of a player. I also hear endlessly of richards failures against india ie world cup 1983 etc.

    kiwirocker the only thing more ridculous than the article is your arguments...quite biased and not even sure what u are talking about 1/2 the time.

  • abhishekthakur on December 4, 2009, 10:00 GMT

    Sir Viv recentaly said in an interview that helmets/protection eqquipments have made life much easier for the batsmen and allowing them to do things no one dreamt off 30 years ago. He was very much on point. While Sehwag can certainly be called the most destructive batsman in the last 20 years, he still cannot be compared with Richards who batted in times when no other serious batsman thought of batting that way. However, one must point out that Sehwag has scored runs against every one and in all conditions- his debut century in South Africa when he came down at 68/4, 195 at Melbourne, 155 on a chennai turner against Warne, the match saving 151 at Adelaide and that 201 not out at Galle against Murali and Mendis running amok. The Late Bob Woolmer had compred him with Bradman. One can agree- after The Don, he seems to be another player who can actually prevent the bowler from bowing well! ( BTW, I havn't even mentioned his three highest test scores!)

  • Leggie on December 4, 2009, 9:56 GMT

    I liked every bit of the article written about Sehwag, except the portion that tries to compare him with the greats of the past, and say that he is better in some aspect. Well, I see many statistical holes... Example: Kapil may have any average of just about 31.50, but is he not the same who has bagged 434 wickets?? Same with Gilchrist. He has 400+ keeping dismissals under his belt. The minute we try to prove something statistically, especially so comparing players of the past, it opens up a pandora's box!

  • jaltarang on December 4, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    Quality of opposition bowlers and pitch conditions are no doubt criteria for judging the greatness of batsmen.Under this criteria ,there is no doubt that players like Gavaskar,Richards,AllanBorder,Gordon Greenidge performed exceptionally well . Again,2nd innings performance which are under more testing conditions is another huge criteria in which even Tendulkar has been found wanting.DonBradman played under familiar conditions in England and Australia besides South Africa.How he would have performed against spinners in sub-continental conditions is a matter we would never know. Another criteria for greatness is now the performance significantly tilted the balance in favour of the batsman'steam.Here players like Richards, Adam Gilchrist and Gary Sobers are at the top .Sehvag like wise has also been producing decisive innings from time to time which should put him in the same category .Thus in my opinion these 4 names should head the list of great batsman.

  • Sanks555 on December 4, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    While comparing players based on their strike rates, the differential between the player's strike rate and the average strike rate of that period is, in my view, more important than the absolute strike rate. Comparing Sehwag an Viv on this parameter would be more illuminating.

  • thisisavin on December 4, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    It cannot be denied that sehwag is a master batsmen but Sambit bal has gone over the top saying that he is better than richards.He has justified by stating that a a man can't be held

    guilty of not being able to choose his circumstances.But this applies to Richards too.He played in an era when there was no gears to protect any of your body considerably, in an era

    where the bowlers were armed with more than one bouncer per over,when the bats were not super light powerful.Despite all these odds Richards struck terror in the bowlers mind.I

    am afraid whether Sehwag would have done as well as he is doing now in that era and that too to outdo the don would be an over statement.

  • JohnTheBaptist on December 4, 2009, 9:40 GMT

    Not a chance! Sehawag can play the way he plays only because there is Rahul, Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, & Yuvraj down the line. He is NOT EXPECTED to stick around. So, it is easier for him to do what he does. Out of 70 odd matches, if there are memorable 10 innings, that is barely an accomplishment. Who writes such articles? On a given day he can be exceptional is well understood, but that spike remains only for a day!

  • Sorcerer on December 4, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    Bal has simply gotten too carried away and ventured into the farcical - comparing Sehwag with Viv! Of course, Sehwag can only face the opposition bowlers put in front of him, of course he has to use these modern cricket bats of immense power and play on grounds with carpet outfields, in circumstances where bowlers - even fast ones have their powers severely restricted due to bouncer rules, plethora of cricket leading to extreme fatigue which affects bowlers far more than it affects batsmen. And the list goes on. But the fact of the matter is, given the vast advantages on offer to Sehwag, it is quite simply incoceivable to imagine him dominating the brilliant attacks of '80s in those conditions like Viv did.

    Quite simply, it would be very surprising if many non-Indians would say that Sehwag is even near, let alone better than Viv.

  • ShinSplint on December 4, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    I have seen King Viv batting many a times and I have seen his vulnerability against genuine spinners in Indian subcontinent just the way some people have pointed out that Viru does not have a great record against the more bouncy and seaming wickets. Both are from different era and different opponents and have pulverized their opponents to no end. They cannot be compared just the way Sachin Tendulkar cannot be compared with Don Bradman. One is great in a given set of conditions such as opponent bowlers, pitches, protective gears, rules of the game and time changes these conditions. Comparison across era is futile.

  • waspsting on December 4, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    one of the hardest players to judge ever is Sehwag. He can be so inconsistent, that at times your tempted to wonder whether he even belongs in the team. but when he gets 'in', he does things that NO ONE ELSE can do. For size of scores and the speed at which he scores them... unmatchable. Given the reduction in over rates and the tendency to bowl defensively at a batsmen in full flow, it was ALMOST UNTHINKABLE that anyone would ever score 250 runs in one test match day ever again. Sehwag's done it twice. IMO, what makes Sehwag more destructive than Richards is SIZE of his quick scores. Richards played a few mad short innings with huge strike rates, but he'd usually tone it down in middle for centuries. Sehwag plays the same way when he's scoring triple hundreds, much less centuries. keep in mind, he's been forced into opening. I sometimes wonder if it hadn't been better for Indian cricket if Dravid had opened and Sehwag at one down. Dravid would score fewer but Sehwag would score more.

  • cricmypassion on December 4, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    For all those who are crying out loud over Sambit's article, I would say - take a step back. He just says, Sehwag has been more destructive than even Richards! He doesn't talk about the quality of the pitches, quality of the bowling,size of the bats, performance in ODIs etc. And in terms of pure destructiveness, Sehwag is definitely better! He opens the batting and faces the new ball, Richards did not! Sehwag has scored 2 triples, Richards does not even have a single one! And just to remind you, Richards did not face the most demanding attack of his time, Sehwag has! If you want to demean one player to make the other look better, I can play it as well! So, cut the crap, cut the sour grapes out, accept that Sehwag is the most destructive batsman going around.. Not necessarily better than Richards, but more destructive!

  • JawS on December 4, 2009, 9:29 GMT

    Why do all indians praise their players to unseen heights ?? I do seem to struggle to wonder why Indian commentators, journalists and fans seem to think India are number 1. Yes they are a good team and possess wordly talent but to compare Sehwag to Sir v Richards is ridiculous. Sehwag wears a helmet and etc protection , holds a very fat woody bat, has nowhere near the physical strength or fitness as Richards did ! Im sure even I could hit a few fours with his bat. So lets not be stupid and just call Sehwag a better batsman of modern times. BTW Sehwag move your feet !! In my area we would call you a SLOGGER

  • RoshanF on December 4, 2009, 9:28 GMT

    If he really set out to,Viv Richards would have hit 400 in a day against this motley crew from SL on that 2nd day pitch (to his credit Sehwag himself admitted about the easy playing pitch). I cannot believe that someone has the temerity (to be a little kind) to even try bringing in Richard's name to compare with Sehwag. True yesterday's innings was a smashing one BUT it was achieved against the most friendlies of Sri Lankan attacks and on very placid 2nd day pitch. Even the unheard of Vijay made merry. I loved way the Sehwag vs Murali match-up was described " decimated the best bowler in the world". Well for one Murali, at this point of time, is not even the best bowler in SL. In fact for past 5 - 6 months he has looked very ordinary starting with the T20 world cup where average batsmen, took him apart with ease. And then the defensive mindset of Sanga on his field setting for Murali. By the way, had Dilshan not been given a howler by Mr. Llong, he most certainly would have got a 200.

  • sanjumadhav on December 4, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    It can be safely said that on a cricket field, Virender Sehwag is a law unto himself. No bowler can even dream of containing him let alone dismissing him on his day as was shown yesterday. That a bower, widely considered to be the best spinner of his time, looked like a clueless schoolboy speaks volumes of the impact that Sehwag has on a game. With Sehwag in full cry, a respectable first innings score of 393 was made to look hopelessly inadequate, solid batting performances from the other Indian and Sri Lankan batsmen faded away into oblivion. Such is the power that he weilds. Way to go, Viru, you are a rockstar!

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on December 4, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    @wanderer1 you make a good point but fail to mention that Sehwag also averages 60 in Australia. But he has undoubtedly got to prove his greatness away from home and while he still has the time to do that maybe we are going a bit overboard already ranking him above Richards. Actually the headline is a bit misleading because Sambit's argument seems to be about Sehwag's strike rate more than about whether he is "greater" than Richards or Tendulkar. I don't think anyone would seriously suggest that Sehwag is already a greater batsman than Richards, Tendulkar or Lara (though he might be reckoned to be on a par with those by the time he has finished).

  • TMS8137 on December 4, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Oh please. Dean jones was a joke test player compared to sehwag. Not even tendulkar has turned as many games as quickly as sehwag. Sehwag's only problem would be that he has only one gear. Which is fine as long as you have players like dravid, tendulkar and vvs in the team. His real test will be to see how he plays when he is the senior pro in the team after their retirement.

  • samod on December 4, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    Sehwag's dominance can be seen in the scorecards of some of his big centuries. You can clearly make out he was miles ahead of others.. He bats so fluently that he makes people believe that the pitch was flat and totally batsman friendly. But if you see how the batsman that followed him were not able to score so fluently you can really tell that the pitch wasn't flat.. Or do you want to say that pitch is too kind to only Sehwag???

  • KiwiRocker- on December 4, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    I am amused/slightly offended to read comparison between Sir. V Richards and Sehwag. Sir V.Richards was greatest of all. Viv Richards was scoring his runs all around world with his 291 coming against England in England while Sehwag has advantage of playing mainly on notoriously flat pitches of subcontinents. Furthermore Richards scored at an amazing strike rate with a superb average in ODI's while Sehwag has rather average record in ODI's.

    Give us a break and do not write such comparison again. If Strike rate is criteria then Afridi is greatest of all? Sehwag was lucky that due to ban by Indian Govt, he had this luxury like Tendulkar of not facing Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and co. I did not see him really dominating Warne & McGrath either. M.Asif made a mockery of Sehwag's off stump few years back and poor man ended up losing his place in Indian team. Big thumbs up to Sehwag for a fine knock but lets do not get carried away. Tendulkar and Sehwag combined will not compare to Sir.Viv.

  • samod on December 4, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    Excellent article Samit bal. Liked every bit of it.

  • sillierpoint on December 4, 2009, 9:02 GMT

    Better than Tendulkar? - definitely!

    Better than Richards? - in his dreams!

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 4, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    We all know that the game today is very easy for batsmen and it has been for the past 10 years or so. Viv Richards played in an era where bowlers dominated. That in itself should end any comparison. Add to that the placid pitches in the subcontinent and the fact that Sehwag has mostly scored his runs on the subcontinent and it is even more in Richards's favour. Sehwag can be horrible when he is doing badly but on his day he can go on with it. What is so special about that? Dean Jones had more test double centuries than test centuries, but Dean Jones was a very consistent one day player, which makes him superior to Sehwag in my book. Sehwag has his moments but most of the time he doesn't really deserve to be in the Indian team, let along comparing him to the great Sir Viv. I'd love to know what Viv thinks of these comments. Sambit Bal, I'd be running if I were you. Viv isn't too nice when he is angry!

  • TMS8137 on December 4, 2009, 8:54 GMT

    Its almost impossible to compare players across different eras. How good would dravid be on sticky wickets. How good would barnes be on covered pitches. Would ponting have been as successful as say Ian chappel if he came to india in the 70's?. Would Bradman have averaged 200 with modern cricketing equipment? Its futile to speculate. But to say that Sehwag is the most destructive batsman who has played test cricket in the last 20 years would not be a lie.

  • rahulsengupta on December 4, 2009, 8:54 GMT

    hmm... Virender an equal of viv richards seems a ridiculous travesty here to some. a certain English player who has played for 3 years at half that level of sehwag is a bonafide great already.. when infact he is just good, and yeah his best years 2005-08 was the worst phase for england as a team

  • CricFan24 on December 4, 2009, 8:52 GMT

    Guys, NOONE is saying that Sehwag is a "better" batsman than Viv- "Better" means a lot of things- solid, consistent, good technique,in all conditions, against all bowlers, ability to change the pace of an innings( eg. match saving innings), stike rotation, defense etc etc etc....... What IS being said is that when Sehwag gets going he is more "Destructive" than Viv......which is entirely plausible....Sehwag not only has a penchant for big scores ,he scores them at a rate higher than anyone ever. He has got 5 of the top 10 fastest double hundreds ever, 4 of the top 5. Fastest triples....etc etc.... He may not be the finest batsman with a watertight defense.....but when he gets going , he really gets going and gets going FAST.

  • CricFan78 on December 4, 2009, 8:52 GMT

    Well said Sambit. Sehwag is one of most destructive batsmen ever and people forget he is an opener as well. Now wait for chippy Aus and Eng fans to bring in useless stats.

  • wanderer1 on December 4, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    The age old complaint that will be levelled against Sehwag is that outside of really flat subcontinent pitches he just isn't as good, he goes from the unbeatable to merely "good", which is acceptable if you're not Sehwag. In SA he averages 26, in England 39, New Zealand 20. The match winning standard just isn't there like it is in the subcontinent. Compare to Viv's record which falters only in NZ where he played only 3 tests. That and the fact that "home" conditions often favoured the bowler in West Indies anyway. Now the real question is how would Sehwag have played if he was not allowed to wear any helmets, I couldn't quite picture him audaciously charging Shoaib Akhtar if that had been the case.

  • Eddie2000 on December 4, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    I Disagree :) Viv Richards was James Bond, Sehwag is Shane Schofield - 'The Scarecrow'. His Bat is his Maghook and No-one leaves a trail of Destruction quite like him.

  • rahulthewall3000 on December 4, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Never saw Viv Richards bat live so I am definitely not in the position to compare them. Tales aplenty there are of the miracle that was Sir Viv though at the height of his powers. And tales aplenty there will be of Sehwag. For all those who brand him as a mere slogger, just look at how the other 21 batted - not only in this test match, but in almost every match where he has gone berserk the rest have looked mere mortals in comparison. Find me another devastatingly opener in world cricket right now and I will heed you.

  • rahulsengupta on December 4, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    I started watchin cricket from 1995, the commentators of the time "oh the bowlers wre so much better in the 70s and 80s". in 2004 "oh the bowlers wre so much better in the 90s, no ambrose , waqar". and now in 2009 "oh the bowlers wre so much better in the 90s early 2000s they should ve faced akram, waqar,mcgrath". so are the commentators contradicting themselves??

  • harikeshan on December 4, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Once more the Writer proves partiality when Comparing Sehwag to the Legendary Sir Viv Richards. Statistics may prove that Sehwag's better in terms of strike rate when compared to Sir Viv. Do the very same statistics take into consideration the surfaces on which Sehwag has been able to pulverize the opposition or take into to consideration that the bowling attacks that Sehwag has faced compared to the ones that Sir Viv faced? It would be travesty, if someone compared, Ishant Sharma to the Late Malcolm Marshall or Irfan Pathan with Wasim Akram based on Strike Rates.

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on December 4, 2009, 8:23 GMT

    I think the most important aspect of Sehwag that this article has so wonderfully captured is the totally off the mark reasoning that Sehwag is a flat-track bully. A flat-track bully wouldn't score test match centuries in Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and West Indies. That he has done so by collaring the bowling to all parts makes Sehwag one of the greatest hitters this game has seen. Twice he has now unlocked games for India which seemed out of reach: the Chennai test against England and this Mumbai test. Add to that the starts he gave to India in winning matches at Perth , at Galle and at Kanpur, Sehwag is certainly in a class of his own.

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 8:20 GMT

    Ridiculous.Period

    I love reading Sambit Bal's articles but am afraid he got carried away here. After close of play yesterday my face book status update read:Srilanka 393.India 441/3(79 overs).Sehwag.Period. So today if you say Sehwag is better than Richards I say only this. Ridiculous.Period.

  • Nipun on December 4, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    I haven't seen Richards bat,but I've always found that Richards' name is mentioned by bowlers like ....... !!! I mean,all the leading bowlers say that when Richards came out to bat,bowlers felt terrified & didn't want to be there,throughout his career.But current bowlers say that they always feel that they have a chance to get Sehwag out.So I wonder if that's where Sehwag misses out.Nevertheless,I am a big fan of Sehwag;because he is the only player in my view who reduces batting to its simplest form of playing the ball,not the bowler,always focusing on the next ball & nothing else,a loose ball is always a loose ball,etc.To be honest,I feel privileged to be born when Sehwag is playing.:)

  • IndiaGoats on December 4, 2009, 8:16 GMT

    Absolutely. More than all the records - the strike rate, the hundreds, double-hundreds, the average - it is Sehwag's ability to turn a match so decisively and in a consistent fashion that sets him apart from many of the other contemporaries. Faced with the same situation as England in Chennai, a Dravid or Lara would be many folks choice to save the match. But if you have a positive intent and want to win, Sehwag it is over anyone else.

  • Roscoe on December 4, 2009, 8:15 GMT

    Watching Sehwag some days, you get an idea of what it must have been like to bowl to Bradman, of the terror he induced in the opposition. Bradman had all this, the watertight defence of a younger Dravid &, by his own admission, the sweet shots of Tendulkar. No wonder Bradman's average was twice anyone else's. Only twice did anyone get Bradman to the point where he wasn't dictating terms: in the Bodyline series, & he even found ways to counter that; & on the last tour to England in 1948, when cracks were starting to appear in his defence. Sehwag isn't on that plane, nor was Richards. Nobody again ever will be.

  • rahulsengupta on December 4, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Yes finally someone has had the courage to say it. Players from the past have always been put on a pedestal. Because its natural human behavior to glorify the players from there youth years( and i point my finger at every commentator out there). But its fine because spectators from this generation will always condescend a batting prodigy say in 2020 even if he is the real deal.

  • Hammad.Fayyaz on December 4, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    Its too early to compare Sehwag with the likes of Viv. Viv dominated the most furious era of fast bowling attacks like a King and his performance was equal in magnitude in both the formats of the game. ehwag lacks consistancy a little bit, than Viv. We still have to wait for another 3 years i think, in order to make any comparison b/w Sehwag & Viv.

  • kpisthebest on December 4, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    I wonder what Viv would have done if he had played with present day bats, pitches and the bowlers.

    It is interesting to see that in the past you have said Sameraweera's average is high because the wickets have become flat and the bowling attacks have become worse but don't consider that point with regards to Sehwag!!!

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  • kpisthebest on December 4, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    I wonder what Viv would have done if he had played with present day bats, pitches and the bowlers.

    It is interesting to see that in the past you have said Sameraweera's average is high because the wickets have become flat and the bowling attacks have become worse but don't consider that point with regards to Sehwag!!!

  • Hammad.Fayyaz on December 4, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    Its too early to compare Sehwag with the likes of Viv. Viv dominated the most furious era of fast bowling attacks like a King and his performance was equal in magnitude in both the formats of the game. ehwag lacks consistancy a little bit, than Viv. We still have to wait for another 3 years i think, in order to make any comparison b/w Sehwag & Viv.

  • rahulsengupta on December 4, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Yes finally someone has had the courage to say it. Players from the past have always been put on a pedestal. Because its natural human behavior to glorify the players from there youth years( and i point my finger at every commentator out there). But its fine because spectators from this generation will always condescend a batting prodigy say in 2020 even if he is the real deal.

  • Roscoe on December 4, 2009, 8:15 GMT

    Watching Sehwag some days, you get an idea of what it must have been like to bowl to Bradman, of the terror he induced in the opposition. Bradman had all this, the watertight defence of a younger Dravid &, by his own admission, the sweet shots of Tendulkar. No wonder Bradman's average was twice anyone else's. Only twice did anyone get Bradman to the point where he wasn't dictating terms: in the Bodyline series, & he even found ways to counter that; & on the last tour to England in 1948, when cracks were starting to appear in his defence. Sehwag isn't on that plane, nor was Richards. Nobody again ever will be.

  • IndiaGoats on December 4, 2009, 8:16 GMT

    Absolutely. More than all the records - the strike rate, the hundreds, double-hundreds, the average - it is Sehwag's ability to turn a match so decisively and in a consistent fashion that sets him apart from many of the other contemporaries. Faced with the same situation as England in Chennai, a Dravid or Lara would be many folks choice to save the match. But if you have a positive intent and want to win, Sehwag it is over anyone else.

  • Nipun on December 4, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    I haven't seen Richards bat,but I've always found that Richards' name is mentioned by bowlers like ....... !!! I mean,all the leading bowlers say that when Richards came out to bat,bowlers felt terrified & didn't want to be there,throughout his career.But current bowlers say that they always feel that they have a chance to get Sehwag out.So I wonder if that's where Sehwag misses out.Nevertheless,I am a big fan of Sehwag;because he is the only player in my view who reduces batting to its simplest form of playing the ball,not the bowler,always focusing on the next ball & nothing else,a loose ball is always a loose ball,etc.To be honest,I feel privileged to be born when Sehwag is playing.:)

  • usual_suspect on December 4, 2009, 8:20 GMT

    Ridiculous.Period

    I love reading Sambit Bal's articles but am afraid he got carried away here. After close of play yesterday my face book status update read:Srilanka 393.India 441/3(79 overs).Sehwag.Period. So today if you say Sehwag is better than Richards I say only this. Ridiculous.Period.

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on December 4, 2009, 8:23 GMT

    I think the most important aspect of Sehwag that this article has so wonderfully captured is the totally off the mark reasoning that Sehwag is a flat-track bully. A flat-track bully wouldn't score test match centuries in Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and West Indies. That he has done so by collaring the bowling to all parts makes Sehwag one of the greatest hitters this game has seen. Twice he has now unlocked games for India which seemed out of reach: the Chennai test against England and this Mumbai test. Add to that the starts he gave to India in winning matches at Perth , at Galle and at Kanpur, Sehwag is certainly in a class of his own.

  • harikeshan on December 4, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Once more the Writer proves partiality when Comparing Sehwag to the Legendary Sir Viv Richards. Statistics may prove that Sehwag's better in terms of strike rate when compared to Sir Viv. Do the very same statistics take into consideration the surfaces on which Sehwag has been able to pulverize the opposition or take into to consideration that the bowling attacks that Sehwag has faced compared to the ones that Sir Viv faced? It would be travesty, if someone compared, Ishant Sharma to the Late Malcolm Marshall or Irfan Pathan with Wasim Akram based on Strike Rates.

  • rahulsengupta on December 4, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    I started watchin cricket from 1995, the commentators of the time "oh the bowlers wre so much better in the 70s and 80s". in 2004 "oh the bowlers wre so much better in the 90s, no ambrose , waqar". and now in 2009 "oh the bowlers wre so much better in the 90s early 2000s they should ve faced akram, waqar,mcgrath". so are the commentators contradicting themselves??