May 17, 2011

The styles of Gayle and Sehwag

The two opening batsmen have more in common than just their placid demeanours and astronomical strike rates
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A poll on a social-networking site recently declared Chris Gayle a far more destructive batsman than Virender Sehwag. When Gayle arrived in the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp last month, their two-year purple patch in the IPL had been crushed and the team were preparing for a premature exit. When Sehwag joined a depleted Delhi Daredevils, little did he know that he would have to single-handedly steer his team through his time in this IPL.

But while Gayle's first-game heroics battered the Kolkata Knight Riders, Sehwag's ferocious intent couldn't do much to change Delhi's kismet. Unlike Gayle, who had Virat Kohli and AB de Villers to back his explosive style, Sehwag didn't have a strong batting line-up supporting him. Delhi won each time Sehwag clicked but it didn't happen often enough.

Though Gayle and Sehwag are both big-hitters, match-winners, and brutal on all bowling attacks, you wouldn't quite think their batting styles are comparable. Let's give it a shot, though.

Footwork
Most batsmen have a trigger movement before the bowler delivers the ball. It could be a slight shuffle across, a small press or something else that helps you get moving before the ball is delivered, which in turn helps you get into position quickly. But both Gayle and Sehwag stay completely still till as late as possible before a delivery.

The quicker the bowler, the more crucial these movements, for you don't want to be late for the ball. But these movements can also give away a batsman's preferences in terms of strokes and scoring areas. For instance, if he goes back and across, chances are he's looking for a full ball and transferring his weight on to the back leg. The only movement from that position will be a forward press. Likewise, if he plants his foot in front, he prefers short-pitched deliveries.

But these apply only to lesser mortals; great batsmen can do without. Both Gayle and Sehwag move only when the ball leaves the hand of the bowler, and hence give nothing away. In fact, even when they do move, their movements are restricted to the minimum.

The lack of foot movement may have its pitfalls but their quick hands make up. When you can't reach the delivery with your feet, the chances of missing it increase, but both these batsmen have mastered the art of throwing their arms at the ball. And the minimal movement ensures they rarely find themselves in awkward positions that might lead to their playing off-position shots.

Sharp eyes
Gayle's and Sehwag's batting seems to be based on the simple technique of see ball, hit ball. This approach can only be effective if you do the first part right. While most good players pick the line and length quickly, what separates these two from the rest is their ability to pick slower balls and other variations with ease. Love Ablish, the Kings XI Punjab medium-pacer, changes his pace and disguises his deliveries well, but he couldn't fox Gayle who delayed his downswing a fraction to send the ball over the ropes.

Ashish Nehra once told me that there are only two batsmen in the Indian team, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, who, when countering sudden changes in pace, don't turn their aggressive stroke into a defensive prod. Instead they wait a fraction longer and at times even convert a defensive prod into a lofted drive. Most batsmen would be too early on the shot while facing a well-disguised slower one, but not these two.

What makes Gayle and Sehwag even more dangerous is that they don't need to go down the track or generate momentum to send a spinner for six

Hitting from the crease
What makes Gayle and Sehwag even more dangerous is that they don't need to go down the track or generate bbody momentum to send a spinner for six. While Gayle prefers to give the fast bowlers the charge every now and then, like Sehwag he stays put in the crease when facing spinners. Both trust the downswing in their back-lifts to generate enough power, and it rarely ever fails them.

Astute brains
Since their batting looks simple and uncomplicated, most people discount the tactical shrewdness of these two. If the ball moves prodigiously at the start, they are happy to bide time. Even in Twenty20 games, like they did against Punjab and Deccan Chargers respectively, where they allowed the early swing to fade away before exploding.

Gayle and Sehwag always target certain bowlers in the opposition and play strokes that may look ambitious but are percentage shots. They also trick bowlers by wildly heaving at and missing deliveries intentionally. Once, in a domestic game on a poor surface, Sehwag stepped down the track and played a rather ambitious shot, only to miss the ball by a mile. It looked suicidal but he had a plan in mind. He charged the bowler because he wanted to force him to shorten his length, which he did the following ball, to be dispatched to the fence. Gayle does the same against many quick bowlers only to sit deep inside the crease on the following ball. There are astute cricket brains working behind those rather calm facades.

Both Gayle and Sehwag may have two Test triple-centuries to their names, but their recent performances in Twenty20 have been just as pleasurable to watch. Unless, of course, you are the hapless prey in their sights.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nightwing32 on May 19, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    I really find both overrated. I mean Gayle gets out easily just like that, you can't trust him to win a match and the same is for Sehwag.

    For me the most entertaining player I've ever watched was Michael Bevan because he was the most reliable player I can think of.

    I find players like Ponting, Waugh Brothers, Martyn, Astle, Kallis, Vaughan, Tendulkar and Jayawardene much more entertaining than Gayle, Afridi, Warner, Sehwag and Lara.

    To say it though I think in a match I would trust Sehwag more than Gayle but I would want either on my team.

  • on May 19, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Guys I think we should stop debating on who is better, who is more destructive etc. None of us here can bat like Tendulkar,Kallis,Viru,Gayle ,VVS etc. so just enjoy their batting while they r still there and stop criticizing these great entertainers.

  • KaunD on May 19, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    and people who think Sachin won India plz come out of the illusion. 240 of his 480 came in the Matches that India did not win and don't tell me that they helped India go anywhere. Those 240 are only as useful as Sehwag's 69 , Gambhir's 50's in those same matches. and @kiwirocker: forget about the social service part . It is actually a personal thing and there might be people who have done more social service than Imran khan even though they are not as rich as him. That is not something that should be discussed here. there are other forums for that kind of discussion. as far as god respect given to Sahin is concerned. Don worry yourself with that . that is a feel that some section of Indian fans believe. May be they feel that a Sachin's century wheather India wins or not will make some poor and hungry Indians forget their hunger.

  • KaunD on May 19, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    @kiwirocker : Sehwag is a flat track bully!! may be!! I remember him making two chanceless 100s and a 50 in newzealand when India lost the series 5-2. I remember that all of those tracks are either two paced or were seemer friendly. There was wild swing present in some of them. I also remember that none in both sides combined had an aveage more than 25 !! Ya I also remember his 195 against a very good australian side in melbourne when the rest of the side crumbled. Yes I accept that Sehwag is not very good with the ball bouncing above waist height from a good length with out a lotta room on the off side. But can you tell me the number of batsman who can play such a ball. Kallis and Dravid can play that cause of their footwork and defence. But can either of them even ona flat track accelerate fast as Sehwag. That is something that Sehwag lacks. But you can't call him a flat track bully unless you give 5 people who came after Sehwag and can play better than Sehwag on such pitches.

  • on May 18, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    by the way..i reckon that no attack is quality to an inform batsman..an inform gayle or sehwag can make any attack seem rediculous

  • on May 18, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    @ Kiwirocker..Sachin is respected for his work ethics..show me any person in the world, who even after achieving everything possible in his trait , still work as hard as a newcomes in the trait and loves his job as much.. no one... Thats why when u feel frustrated just say om sachin tendulkarayah namoh...3 times is enough..u will be able to wwork properly

  • on May 18, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    AND NO ONE CANT COMPARE ATTITUDES OF PLAYERS..BOTH GAYLE AND SEHWAG ARE LOVED BY THEIR FELLOW PLAYERS..AM A WEST INDIAN..SO I WILL ONLY SPEAK ABOUT WHAT I NO ABOUT MY TEAM..chris gayle is very affable behind the seens..all west indies love him as much as they love brian lara..from waht i am reading sewag is the same way in the india team..india is our favourite team after the west indies..cheers

  • on May 18, 2011, 20:40 GMT

    lol what is teh debate...they both dont have footwork..they both are aggresssive..gayle is a left handed version of sehweg is right handed version of gayle...but over the years gayle have proven to have that extra more aggression..both bastmen scored 300 runs in test..i no indians love their cricket but your guys dont have to be SOOOOOO defensive because a writer says that gayle is more aggressive..LOL TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR INNNINGS..LOL SIMILAR AVERAGE..EVERYTHING...relax guys...i lvoe aggressive cricket..test or one day..if u can score runs..technique doesnt matter..GAYLE AND SEHWAG IS THE BEST COMBINATION OF OPENERS EVER....

    CHEERS,

  • on May 18, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    Pretty ordinary artcile by cricinfo standards....these points have been made by commentators all along... the way it has been penned down could have been much better....

  • the_blue_android on May 18, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Viru is the most overrated player of this decade and that is an understatement. Viru cost us the SA series with his mindless batting. Viru can never score more than 20 runs in a test match( 5 boundaries where 3 of them would be edges) against a good bowling line up in testing conditions like England and SA. I think it will help the Indian team if even Chopra can open the batting with Gauti in England.

  • Nightwing32 on May 19, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    I really find both overrated. I mean Gayle gets out easily just like that, you can't trust him to win a match and the same is for Sehwag.

    For me the most entertaining player I've ever watched was Michael Bevan because he was the most reliable player I can think of.

    I find players like Ponting, Waugh Brothers, Martyn, Astle, Kallis, Vaughan, Tendulkar and Jayawardene much more entertaining than Gayle, Afridi, Warner, Sehwag and Lara.

    To say it though I think in a match I would trust Sehwag more than Gayle but I would want either on my team.

  • on May 19, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Guys I think we should stop debating on who is better, who is more destructive etc. None of us here can bat like Tendulkar,Kallis,Viru,Gayle ,VVS etc. so just enjoy their batting while they r still there and stop criticizing these great entertainers.

  • KaunD on May 19, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    and people who think Sachin won India plz come out of the illusion. 240 of his 480 came in the Matches that India did not win and don't tell me that they helped India go anywhere. Those 240 are only as useful as Sehwag's 69 , Gambhir's 50's in those same matches. and @kiwirocker: forget about the social service part . It is actually a personal thing and there might be people who have done more social service than Imran khan even though they are not as rich as him. That is not something that should be discussed here. there are other forums for that kind of discussion. as far as god respect given to Sahin is concerned. Don worry yourself with that . that is a feel that some section of Indian fans believe. May be they feel that a Sachin's century wheather India wins or not will make some poor and hungry Indians forget their hunger.

  • KaunD on May 19, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    @kiwirocker : Sehwag is a flat track bully!! may be!! I remember him making two chanceless 100s and a 50 in newzealand when India lost the series 5-2. I remember that all of those tracks are either two paced or were seemer friendly. There was wild swing present in some of them. I also remember that none in both sides combined had an aveage more than 25 !! Ya I also remember his 195 against a very good australian side in melbourne when the rest of the side crumbled. Yes I accept that Sehwag is not very good with the ball bouncing above waist height from a good length with out a lotta room on the off side. But can you tell me the number of batsman who can play such a ball. Kallis and Dravid can play that cause of their footwork and defence. But can either of them even ona flat track accelerate fast as Sehwag. That is something that Sehwag lacks. But you can't call him a flat track bully unless you give 5 people who came after Sehwag and can play better than Sehwag on such pitches.

  • on May 18, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    by the way..i reckon that no attack is quality to an inform batsman..an inform gayle or sehwag can make any attack seem rediculous

  • on May 18, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    @ Kiwirocker..Sachin is respected for his work ethics..show me any person in the world, who even after achieving everything possible in his trait , still work as hard as a newcomes in the trait and loves his job as much.. no one... Thats why when u feel frustrated just say om sachin tendulkarayah namoh...3 times is enough..u will be able to wwork properly

  • on May 18, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    AND NO ONE CANT COMPARE ATTITUDES OF PLAYERS..BOTH GAYLE AND SEHWAG ARE LOVED BY THEIR FELLOW PLAYERS..AM A WEST INDIAN..SO I WILL ONLY SPEAK ABOUT WHAT I NO ABOUT MY TEAM..chris gayle is very affable behind the seens..all west indies love him as much as they love brian lara..from waht i am reading sewag is the same way in the india team..india is our favourite team after the west indies..cheers

  • on May 18, 2011, 20:40 GMT

    lol what is teh debate...they both dont have footwork..they both are aggresssive..gayle is a left handed version of sehweg is right handed version of gayle...but over the years gayle have proven to have that extra more aggression..both bastmen scored 300 runs in test..i no indians love their cricket but your guys dont have to be SOOOOOO defensive because a writer says that gayle is more aggressive..LOL TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR INNNINGS..LOL SIMILAR AVERAGE..EVERYTHING...relax guys...i lvoe aggressive cricket..test or one day..if u can score runs..technique doesnt matter..GAYLE AND SEHWAG IS THE BEST COMBINATION OF OPENERS EVER....

    CHEERS,

  • on May 18, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    Pretty ordinary artcile by cricinfo standards....these points have been made by commentators all along... the way it has been penned down could have been much better....

  • the_blue_android on May 18, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Viru is the most overrated player of this decade and that is an understatement. Viru cost us the SA series with his mindless batting. Viru can never score more than 20 runs in a test match( 5 boundaries where 3 of them would be edges) against a good bowling line up in testing conditions like England and SA. I think it will help the Indian team if even Chopra can open the batting with Gauti in England.

  • nlambda on May 18, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    Arre kiwirocker bhai why are you so disturbed by Indians liking SRT you bother with your own country. We know how much Imran Khan has "inspired" the nation. Thanks to his "inspiration" you are now the #7 ranked country which loses tests to a WI B-team. Three of your players were recently banned for match fixing and several others suspended in the past. Imran Khan entered politics and is a Member of Parliament and his "inspiration" can be seen in the state of the country where SL players were shot at and we know what happened on May 2. Jai Imran!

  • on May 18, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    Okay, I do have to admit that if anyone could be given the 'Crisis-man' tag, that would have to be Laxman, even in international cricket. He's rescued more games than any other player I can think of in modern era. Nevertheless, on pure cricketing grounds, Sachin stands far above his contemporaries in international cricket. @KiwiRocker, I have no doubt that the Pakistani players you mentioned are very active philanthropists and I admire them for that. However, you seem to be lacking knowledge about what Sachin does. Just because he doesn't like to shout it out publicly, it doesn't mean that he's not a philanthropist. It would be good if you do some research before making baseless comments, but oh well... can't expect much from your kind

  • bismoy on May 18, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    @KiwiRocker I am sure you are suffering from sachin phobia.

    For your information sachin is sponsoring education for 200 , who are part of Anapalya, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Mumbai.

    Please do some research before next time.

    VVS laxman is not part of wc winning side "Sachin is WC winner".Hope you understand.

  • davidtt on May 18, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    The comparison of Sehwag and Gayle is indeed unfortunate, as Virender Sehwag is technically a far superior batsman than Chris Gayle. Perhaps only in the T20 form of the game where proper technique is more often forgotten, can this comparison be possible. V. Sehwag is class batsman under any conditions, whereas Gayle may not be as effective on a moving pitch with half decent bowling where his stand and hit approach would not be good enough forthe test arena.

  • delastbastion on May 18, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    I'm west Indian and I love seeing Gayle bat, in fact he can bat and bash bowling for every t20 team in every corner of the world and i would watch him all day..time permitting. .........I'm especially glad as it would keep him away from WI cricket. ...............No!!..but seriously I'm glad for chris and his exploits internationally IPL n all...... but moreso because of the opportunities his absence presents to true W'indian patriots.

  • on May 18, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    Is Chris gayle a complete player as compared to Sehwag???? Chris gayle has no sense of holding a bat.... So there is no comparison... Debate over. :-)

  • skepticaloptimist on May 18, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Haha, I pretty much follow cricinfo just because KiwiRocker's humorous comments. Keep 'em coming man. You are making me, and several others healthier. Here, this is my all-time test XI: Imaran Farhat, Saeed Anwar, Md. Yusuf, Inzi, Hanif Md, Adnan, Abdul Razzak, Sohail Tanvir, Amir Sohail, Afridi and Wahab Riaz. Happy now? Actually, Inzi and Anwar aren't good enough for this team. It will also be an evergreen, always-17-year-old team!

  • on May 18, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Some great insight by you Kiwirocker,

    now that i think about it it makes sense.

  • ygkd on May 18, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    Dare I say, but as good as Gayle and Sehwag are, you may not want both of them in the same test team. You can only carry 1 or or 2 truly explosive types in the one XI. And I mean carry - they will win you matches, but will have to be carried through some tough periods due to the fluctuating fortunes of their natural style. Gilchrist was exceptional because he kept & batted 7, so with him down there you could have someone up top doing something similar and it would work. But two openers like Gayle & Sehwag together would be a recipe for 2 for 2 too many times. In the early days it was common to have a hitter open with a barn-door player to give variety and cover both pace of scoring and negating collapses. It is worth checking out the Pakistani responses to their WI debacle and many are saying that trying to bat like Afridi is ruining Pak cricket. Well, I wouldn't recommend trying to teach others to bat like these two either. You're either like them or you're not. Good article though.

  • harsh12362004 on May 18, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Sehwag is definitely a more destructive player...he has a better strike rate than Gayle in all form of cricket (Test, One-day, T20)

  • on May 18, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Gayle plays some knocks in IPL (Which isn't real cricket IMO, more like fast food cricket) and he is compared to Sehwag? Gayle is selfish, sporadic and has contributed very little to his national team's success.

  • on May 18, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    @kiwi rocker for your comment on charity of martin crowe n all.. there lies the beauty.. u come to india and see it how much tendlya is incolved in charity things....

    and we all respect him not only for his batsmanship (which is undoubtally the best) but for his humanity and love and attraction he shows to his nation and its people.. its some thing u ppl never understand....

    apart from a ball tampering incident(4 which he was proved innocent) can u name any other controversies he was involved in his 21 year stand... respect him for what he is man..

  • KiwiRocker- on May 18, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    I am interested to know for what other reasons you respect Tendulkar? Imran Khan won a WC and he inspired a nation. He built a free cancer hospital in memory of his mother.Inzemam Ul HAQ has done same for his father's memory in his home town Multan. Saeed Anwar goes aorund and does a charity work. I am sorry but may be I am missing something..What other reasons? Is it because Tendulkar bought a 39 Carore Bungalow in Mumbai with all that free money he has earnt fooling Indians.? The man is an imposter who has fooled Indians for decades...India's best batsman of modern era is VVS Laxman. A Champion batsman of few words who has won more matches for India than Tendulkar nad his team mates combined. Tendulkar was one of most vocal opponents of India/Pak matches in late 90's to save his average against two most fearsome bowlers of his time- CRIC Info needs me. I even myself got a clone!..Hanif MUhammad batted 970 minutes in 4th innings on an uncovered pitch against fearsome bowlers..Legend!

  • on May 18, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    Jayasuriya is better as an allrounder and he is the best destructive batman.

  • Cam_PT on May 17, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Yes they smash and destroy opponents, but they are not the only ones. They stand out because of their obvious similarity in that they don't move their feet much and as a consequence they get out cheaply far more often too. Both have two triple hundreds and that can't be sneezed at but it is the low scores inbetween that count against them. Still you can't deny watching them bat. You know something is going to happen all the time.

  • Lallubhai on May 17, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    India & W Indies are very very lucky to be able to boast of producing such talent from their land . For me 20/20 & 1 day- GAYLE . Tests- SEHWAG

  • ravikini on May 17, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    Don't really bother who is better. As long as they whack the ball of of the park and people really pay their hard earned money to see them play.In todays modern world people have so many avenues to spend their money like going to pubs, movies, spa, vacation, food etc. Cricket needs these firebrands to pull people towards cricket. Who would pay money to watch a Dravid or a Bollinger at play? With no disrespect to those people. IF you take out Sehwag, Gayle, Shaun Marsh, Sachin out of this IPL , Who would watch IPL???

  • Kaddy_expert on May 17, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    @Kiwirocker :,It's not Akash Chopra but you who pretent to know everything .Nobody denies greatness of VVS,Kallis..but it comes to entertainment very few can beat likes of Gayle and Viru .

  • on May 17, 2011, 18:16 GMT

    if you consider only this IPL... Then Gayle has done better... but hello.... out of 4 IPL seasons he played 1 of them... and If we talk About the Test and ODI careers of both. Sehwag is much far better than Gayle.

  • on May 17, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    @kiwirocker... yawn... some more joke pls

  • Dani_Monster on May 17, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    Gayle is far better and destructive batsman than Sehwag. No comparison at all.

  • Kaze on May 17, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    Gilly is better than both of them, hes a keeper.

  • TheUparcut on May 17, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    I might sound a little rubbish to say that these 2 guys are old fashion batters.What I mean is that they play straight,they play from the crease and try to present the full face of the bat unlike some of the other so called "big hitters".That is why they succeed more than they fail.Sehwag improved his leg side game after he was fed with the criticism of being a poor leg side player.Same goes with Gayle,he improved his batting against spin.But even today, he is a little circumspect against them.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on May 17, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    @cric_fanatics: Sehwag is among the greatest Test openers ever. Comparing him to flat track bullies like Hanif Mohammad and Inzamam is a big joke! Those two doesn't een belong to the top 15 batsman from their own eras respectively. They should be compared to the likes of Nasir Hussein and Sanjay Manjarekar.

  • on May 17, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    sehwag is better in test than gayle...but gayle far better in odi and t20, check the stats and record ppl.....

  • Rakim on May 17, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    "Style of Gayle and Sehwag"

    They have a style? LOL. They are typical batsmen who can only score on batting friendly pitches against mediocre bowlers.

  • vamsiduke on May 17, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    Dear Paramjit, I think Akash Chopra is talking about trying to negate the bounce of the ball when it pitches at different lengths. One of Sehwag's usual shots is a back foot cover drive off the fullish ball. This is also the reason why batsmen have to stay well within their crease to dig out the yorker. On the other hand, coming forward to a short pitched ball, especially early on in the innings or during powerplays gives you the option to drive uppishly and clear the infield. I'm not sure if this is the explanation, and you may be right too. But I have definitely seen attacking batsmen adopting these strategies more than once.

  • joseyesu on May 17, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    I rate Sehwag a little higher because when Gayle plays against spin he is more cautious and more defensive, but sehwag as usual.

  • hattrick_thug on May 17, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Why is praise for one considered as a put-down to others? I find just as much enjoyment in watching Tendulkar as I do Kallis, or Dravid and Viv Richards, Gower Andy Flower, VVS, and the list goes on. Our quest for Number One extinguishes our ability to appreciate class. If we don't have room for all the variety that the greats come in, we must have really small hearts.

  • cric_fanatics on May 17, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    inzamam was as good as paul valthaty...lets not belittle sehwag by compairing him to hanif and inzamam..who were basically club level..

  • Shankar on May 17, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    @Ankit Jain, completely agree. I guess some people just cant digest the fact that their team players cannot play well on turning tracks. So, what do they do? Define the good pitches to be those which are fast and bouncy. Easy isnt it. Now as you say, poor performances on these pitches can be excused and good ones dont count.

  • rayinto on May 17, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    These two are Feast or Famine cricketers - Totally undependable but utterly ruthless!

  • on May 17, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    C'mon! Sehwag hit his triple hundreds against quality attacks. Against Pakistan at Multan and then Against Steyn and Co. at Chennai. Moreover, his 200* at Galle when the team score was barely 300 was priceless. His 87 (66) against England at Chennai was nothing less than a miracle. Please check Viru's record against and in Australia. It is spectacular.

    Sehwag is definitely much more of a team player than Gayle. He enjoys himself in the Indian Team and has a cheerful attitude no matter what. Whether he is out on a duck or on 293, he is always smiling. Plus his Average is 12-13 runs better than Gayle's. Gayle is destructive but mostly in the off shoot T20 Format. Where real performances count, Viru wins the battle any day.

  • on May 17, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    @kiwirocker well said mate

  • on May 17, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    It's funny how for some people runs scored in India don't count (Sehwag etc), wickets taken in India also don't count (Kumble), failures to score runs in India also doesn't count (Ponting) and failure to take wickets in sub-continent also doesn't count (Warne). I mean everything can't be easy in India! Or if it is, poor performance in all departments can't be excused! All these contradictory positions and yet the smugness!

  • on May 17, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    @KiwiRocker: Comparing Sehwag/Gayle to H. Muhammad, Inzamam or Viv. is definitely unrealistic. However, this article was only meant to compare Sehwag and Gayles' style of batting with the rest. These two are hand-eye coordination players, and I thoroughly enjoyed the piece.

    As for VVS' artistry, here are two cricinfo articles on that: Magic of VVS: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/480644.html

    Always the artist... http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/480388.html

    @Paramjit Das: From what I understand, it's the initial trigger movements that Mr. Chopra's pointing towards. Back and across favours a drive, Front foot trigger(like Imran Khan's) allows compensation to spring onto the back foot. Do try it in the nets. :)

  • on May 17, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    @mani86, I also consider bowler friendly pitches to be ones where spinners get turn and bounce and pace off the track! not low slow turn!

  • on May 17, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    @kiwirocker: We know how much Inzamam average in WC i.e. 23.

    Gayle average 34 with SR of 83 in ODI if you remove his score against minnows http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/51880.html?class=2;filter=advanced;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;qualmin1=5500;qualval1=runs;template=results;type=batting;view=series

    Wheras Sehwag average 34.5 with a SR of 102. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/35263.html?class=2;filter=advanced;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=5500;qualval1=runs;template=results;type=allround;view=series

    So Sehwag is greater than Gayle in ODI as well as test.

  • on May 17, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    @Darren Cook - If it's a contemporary Test XI, Sehwag will make a break, but an All-time XI is beyond his reach. Nevertheless, it's a silly claim that Sehwag can't play well on bowler friendly wickets. Galle 2008, NZ 2003, RSA 2002 are a few examples where Sehwag did superbly on bowler-friendly wickets.

  • mani86 on May 17, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    @ Darren Cook - I find it funny that your definition of "bowler friendly wicket with decent bowlers" is so obviously fast/seam bowler friendly and decent fast/seam bowlers :)

  • Gee_Cambs on May 17, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    @ DARREN COOK you dont know much about sehwag - infact he made his name on bating bowler friendly pitches - 195 not out on boxing day test down under, or a 110 against a pace friendly wicket in newzealand when no one else could get over 30 (both sides)

  • on May 17, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    "For instance, if he goes back and across, chances are he's looking for a full ball and transferring his weight on to the back leg. The only movement from that position will be a forward press. Likewise, if he plants his foot in front, he prefers short-pitched deliveries." I think this shoudl be the exact opposite? if a batsman is on the front foot, then he is looking to drive (i.e. a full ball). if his weight is on the back foot, then he is looking for short-pitched deliveries?

  • MeowCat on May 17, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    Sehwag is a champion in all formats,Gayle didnt click at all during the CWC,only once against NED/IRE ? yep, Virender clicked multiple times and overall scored more runs than him.

  • KiwiRocker- on May 17, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    Darren Cook and James Smithee- Please note that Article is only to cater the needs of Indian brain washed fans- I am hoping that Akash Chopra who seems to be expert on everything from reverse swing to Doosra does not start comparing Tendulya to JH Kallis as that will be a a waste of time...An impostor compared to the most complete cricketer ever( Kallis). Sehwag is a sitting duck against a quality bowling out side India- Note his average in 4th innings of a test match- 30 odd...Just like Tendulya's 37 runs. Gayle is not even in West Indian team...Lets write an article about real match winners...VVS Laxman, Inzemam UL haq, Jaywardene..Rahul Dravid etc..!

  • Jose on May 17, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    Both Gayle and Sehwag are destructive batsmen in the modern Era, however Sehwag is lot better as he has more shots in his kitty and is more consistent. Gayle can hit 6s because of his powerful wrists and arms, whereas Sehwag relies more on 4s by cutting, whipping, wristy strokes etc. That makes Sehwag a better player on any track in comparison to Gayle. The statistics collected by the social networking site are purely based on Gayle's IPL performance. I doubt if Gayle can play as good as Sehwag played in Kochi. Please dont forget that Sehwag is carrying the responsibility of Captaincy, whereas Gayle is not and has luxury to play whatever the shots he want. Moreover, Gayle is playing like this in IPL just to show WI Selection Committee that they made a mistake by ignoring him in WI-PAK tour. Whatsoever, The article is brilliant in comparing the skills of the both cricketing Gems.

  • KiwiRocker- on May 17, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    I simply can never understand why flat track bullies like Sehwag and an inconsistent Gayle receive a lavish praise from glamour hungry media. What has Sehwag won for India...He averages 30 odd runs in 4th innings of a test match. Sehwag is an impostor like Tendulya who has scored worthless 18000 runs for nothing. I was concerned that Chopra may even say that Sehwag and Gayle are more destructive than Sir viv Richards..Mate, scoring a triple century on a dead wicket in Multan or flat Indian wickets is not like you become Hanif Muhammad. If strike rate was everything than Shahid Afridi is the greatest! Gayle is not even in West Indian team.It saddens me when a true artist like VVS Laxman and JH Kallis are ignored. It is not about what you score but how you score. I have yet to see an article praising humble, unassuming VVS Laxman who along with Zaheer Khan and Dravid had won more matches for India than Tendulya and Sehwag combined. Chopra seems to be expert on everything now a days...

  • JuggyBear on May 17, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    I realise i have to step in and defend gayle here somewhat. Sehwag is far more consistent than gayle at test level not because he's so much more technically sound than gayle, but because he actually has people behind him who are matchwinners themselves. When gayle gets out in a test, usually all falls down for the west indies. Taking nothing away from sehwag's skill, but just look at his ipl campaign. No batting behind him, therefore pressure to make runs, and he failed on occasion. On the flip side, gayle finally has people behind him who can hold their salt and all of a sudden the pressure is off and he can bat freely and destroy bowling attacks. When he's restricted, he scores occasionally but is not consistent. look at his test numbers while he was west indies captain (his average is over 50). Long story short, if gayle was on a better international team, he would be more successful.

  • rdwights on May 17, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    for the record gayles batting average in ODI is 39 Sewag 35. Gayle is the only batsman to score 6 fours in an over of TEST cricket. This was done against Matthew Hoggard. Gayle was the first to score an international t20 hundred, and has the highest number of centuries so far in T20 cricket. Sewag has 14 ODI centuries Gayle has 19. Where Sewag clearly beats him is in tests batting average of 53 to 41, both have two triple centuries

  • on May 17, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    And on a bowler friendly wicket with decent bowlers I would want NEITHER in my Test team.

  • JamesSmithee on May 17, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    It is easy to bat on Indian and Pakistan pitches. They are batting paradises. Shewag is more consistent because he is batting on batting paradises. I saw two three times, Gayle plays in India for International matches and IPL. He consistently hit sixes and play big scores.

  • rdwights on May 17, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    to Rahul_78 In comparing two batsmen you have to look at the context. Although Sewag has a better test record, Gayle beats him in both t20 and ODIs please check your figures again. Gayle has 19 ODI centuries to Sewags 14 and a higher batting average. Anyway, lets us all just enjoy both players because cricket needs characters like them to add new energy to the sport

  • namanthan on May 17, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    mr akash chopra,a small correction.. unlike gayle,..sehwag comes down the pitch a lot to spinners,...i thought you know sehwag better.

  • asimnehal on May 17, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Excellent comparision, I would say Gayle is Lest handed Sehwag and Sehwag is a Right handed Gayle to keep it simple. Is it not amazing fact that world never sees anything alone there is someone on the other side to cmpare with Like for example : When Allrounders were flourishing Cricket world saw : Kapil, Bothan, Imran, Headly, Marshall all in same era and played together against each other....When the likes of Batsman : Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Zaheer, Javed, Border, Gover, Richards, Martin Crowe, Gatting etc......anyhow Fielding is exception to this, we saw greats like : Solkar, Randall, Logie, Jonty, Azhar, Jadeja, Gower, Jones etc in different era. Today the modern world saw few great batsman Like...Sachin, Lara, Ponting, Rahul, Kallis, Yousef all playing together.

  • stormy16 on May 17, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    Interesting article and the lack of stats obvioulsy meant its not to compare the two in tests ETC which alot of seem to have missed. Gayle for me is a power hitter and can hit huge hits over the rope while Sewag is a more calculated boundry hitter - both awfully devastating and top wicket for the bowling side.

  • on May 17, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Gayle >>> Sehwag. Common sense.

  • Prakhs on May 17, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    Good article Aakash!!! These two are undoubtedly the most explosive batsmen of modern cricket. They have developed a technique of their own which is beyond the books of cricket but is surely making money for them. Most interesting thing to see is their unafraid attitude under all conditions because they play their natural game always. There was a Sri Lanka series in 2009 when Ajantha Mendis bamboozled the strong Indian batting line up who were dancing on the tunes of his bowling but it was Sehwag who stood out with his unique technique to counter the attack.. it was amazing to watch and an answer to all those who rely heavily on heavy words like TECHNIQUE and all. At the end of the day, what matters is runs on the board and you are getting that, so be happy and enjoy the game...

  • on May 17, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    ha, the only format in which Sehwag is better than gayle would be test, the stats show it, but in ODI's and T20 Sehwag Doesnt stand a chance,just bowl the ball to his bodyand u got him....stop hating on Gayle

  • muggsy9 on May 17, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    i think they are pretty even as player. just sehwag has been lucky enough to have great batsman behind him to take the pressure off him. gayle has had shiv and thats about it and in the last 2 years when shiv has been injured/form has declined he has been the focus and the pressure is squarely on him to perform or the team doesn't perform. In this IPL the roles have been reversed and gayle has the backup where sehwag doesn't which is y gayle is averaging more

  • on May 17, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    Some of these comments on the board are from some individuals who are clueless when it comes to Gayle , When Gayle is on there is NO batsman in the world that can touch him , WE sometime get carried away by numbers which can be misleading and sometime subjective because it doesn't always measure how truly talented a player is,, For example we consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest basketball player of all time .. yet he doesn't have the MOST rings or lead in any category including for the most points .But our eyes didn't LIE to us in what we were witnessing .

    And another misinform comment on this board is that Gayle CAN'T play SPIN ... which is beyond silly,,, because one of his TRIPLE CENTURY came against SRI LANKA who TOSS a BARRAGE at you. If you CAN"T play spin you are not scoring a century much less a TRIPLE against SRI LANKA.

    BTW.. Tendulkar NEVER SCORE a TRIPLE hundred, does that make him NOT a great player that you would even put in mention of the greats... hardly

  • big_al_81 on May 17, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Fascinating article for its technical insights and analysis. I'm most definitely not a blind India fan, far from it in fact, but I'd have to agree with those who question the bracketing of these two together as great players. They are certainly great in context of the IPL and entertaining to watch but I'd suggest that only one is in contention to be regarded as great in the truest test of cricket - Test matches. Sehwag is well ahead in this since he transfers his destructive talents into that arena far more consistently than Gayle. I doubt he'd make the greatest XIs of all time (his figures aren't yet good enough considering different opponents or geography) but there are too many 'greats' to get into one XI so I'd certainly say that he's in with a chance of being considered great one day. Gayle is very good to watch in ODIs and T20 but frustrating in Tests.

  • Parvatanand on May 17, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Both have theri own specialities. Gayle banks more on his power so even his mistimed shots result in sixes or one bounce four's. Sehwag irritates the pacer by showing the adverse effect of his own medicine by using the pace of the bowler to play his shots. But one thing is for sure that both of them surrender to swinging deliveries, where in or out.

  • on May 17, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    but sehwag stands apart as he s a team player... and mor importantly consistent s v all lik gayle.. but ny given day i wud prefer sehwag than gayke

  • Rahul_78 on May 17, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    I know that most of us Indian cricket fans on this forum will labelled as bias in supporting sehwag but stats dont lie. Just visit the stats guru and see the figures in the ultimate test of any cricketer worth his salt i.e test matches...both are openers and have faced almost similar oppositions in recent years. Sehwag is miles ahead in every aspect that includes the strike rate, 6s and 4s column also. Here are the figures in nutshell: Sehwag: Inns: 150; Avg:53.43; Sr:81.91; 100s:22; 4s:1105; 6s: 85; Gayle: Inns:159;Avg:41.65; Sr:59.10; 100s:13; 4s:936; 6s: 75;

  • on May 17, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Let us not compare only on the basis of IPL. We need to consider ODI and Test achievements. If we analyze all three forms of cricket, Sehwag wins the battle like a cakewalk against gayle. Gayle is extremely powerful with minimal skill. No wrists, no whips but shear power. Do not forget his unforgettable worldcup campaign. Sehwag is by far the best of the two. You can see the sehwag's performance in Test and ODI. Number speaks!!!!

  • on May 17, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    blakka mann z da best-------------------hail Gayle kip on bushing dem for fours and sixes

  • East_West on May 17, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Gayle hasn't been consistent but Viru is "inconsistently" consistent! Gayle is the worst for Test cricket - he has no respect for Tests whereas Sehwag scores Double or Triple Century faster than ODI!..list is endless BUT both are great to watch! Action packed Guaranteed!

  • on May 17, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    Sehwag is Brilliant batsman no doubt, Gayle is best in IPL but in ODIs and test he can't play like Viru (Sehwag) .

  • Vijay_MatchWinner on May 17, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    I would love to watch Viru than Gayle anyday. Though Gayle is destructive, Viru is more consistent

  • Raza_sarani on May 17, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Good Article Akash, i really like the way u described two of the most destructive batsmen of the modern game.

  • killer001 on May 17, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Its just that gayle is in the form of his life and if you compare the overall record, sehwag would definitely fair better. Also Sehwag has done well against best bowlers in the world for the last 10 years or so, gayle is having a ball with the mediocre and below par bowling which the IPL offers. Ofcourse there are few good bowlers, but they are few and far between.

  • Praxis on May 17, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Yes, these two are incredibly talented & a treat to watch in action. But their approach being successful is largely due to the decline in quality fast bowling and flat pitches.

  • PradeepR on May 17, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    I admire both these players, very entertaining and very destructive.

  • PradeepR on May 17, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    They have played almost equal number of games and if you compare them both Sehwag is a better player. His strike rate in tests is about 30 points higher and still his average is about 10 higher than Gayle. Same is the case in ODIs, Sehwag has a strike rate of 21 points higher than Gayle, but here Sehwag's average is about 4 lower than Gayle. How can Gayle be more destructive than Sehwag if his strike rate is lower than Sehwag's?

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on May 17, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    Good writeup Aakash. But where Sehwag is a better player of spin. Gayle isn't.

  • ejsiddiqui on May 17, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Grate Article Aakash (as always), This is a new style of play, A very strong hand & eye coordination, the footwork beyond textbook. An amazing thing is that, both are grate players.

  • Arpra on May 17, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Call me a blind India fan, but I still think Sehwag is the more skilful of the two. Gayle generates more power, but when it comes to sheer ability to manufacture shots, Sehwag is beyond compare in modern day cricket. He whips balls from off stump to anywhere on-side a la Azhar, plays whippy square drives like Lara, executes upper cuts; the sheer imagination in his batting is mind-boggling. This ability stands in him good stead in deteriorating pitches and high quality spin bowling. Gayle struggles against even decent spin bowling on low slow pitches.

  • MarkBobbyChandy on May 17, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    No doubt what so ever. These two are the most explosive batmen of the current era, nd more importantly, they r consistent unlike mcullum, who can be even more explosive, but not consistent.

  • on May 17, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    gayle z da bst............................................................

  • CricEshwar on May 17, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    As always, an insightful article from Mr. Chopra.

  • on May 17, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    i love both of them, hard to say who's more destructive.

  • on May 17, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    good comparison btwn 2 great players

  • on May 17, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Just as aesthetically explained as their batting! Brilliant piece!

  • Dr_SC on May 17, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    erm yeah, except that Gayle is better.

  • Sukumar_Kantri on May 17, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Both Gayle and Sehwag are of different class in terms of thier game but both have lot of similarities with them- hitting every bowler to dust and their willow power. Gayle is more successful against pacers than spinners while Viru can demolish anyone on any track. You can never call a sort of delivery as a weakness to both these, all kinds of bowling are thier strengths as well as weaknesses. Once they keep going its very hard to stop them. Classic examples are thier triple tons in test cricket against formidable attacks and thier devastating odi innings throughout thier career.

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  • Sukumar_Kantri on May 17, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Both Gayle and Sehwag are of different class in terms of thier game but both have lot of similarities with them- hitting every bowler to dust and their willow power. Gayle is more successful against pacers than spinners while Viru can demolish anyone on any track. You can never call a sort of delivery as a weakness to both these, all kinds of bowling are thier strengths as well as weaknesses. Once they keep going its very hard to stop them. Classic examples are thier triple tons in test cricket against formidable attacks and thier devastating odi innings throughout thier career.

  • Dr_SC on May 17, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    erm yeah, except that Gayle is better.

  • on May 17, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Just as aesthetically explained as their batting! Brilliant piece!

  • on May 17, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    good comparison btwn 2 great players

  • on May 17, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    i love both of them, hard to say who's more destructive.

  • CricEshwar on May 17, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    As always, an insightful article from Mr. Chopra.

  • on May 17, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    gayle z da bst............................................................

  • MarkBobbyChandy on May 17, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    No doubt what so ever. These two are the most explosive batmen of the current era, nd more importantly, they r consistent unlike mcullum, who can be even more explosive, but not consistent.

  • Arpra on May 17, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Call me a blind India fan, but I still think Sehwag is the more skilful of the two. Gayle generates more power, but when it comes to sheer ability to manufacture shots, Sehwag is beyond compare in modern day cricket. He whips balls from off stump to anywhere on-side a la Azhar, plays whippy square drives like Lara, executes upper cuts; the sheer imagination in his batting is mind-boggling. This ability stands in him good stead in deteriorating pitches and high quality spin bowling. Gayle struggles against even decent spin bowling on low slow pitches.

  • ejsiddiqui on May 17, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Grate Article Aakash (as always), This is a new style of play, A very strong hand & eye coordination, the footwork beyond textbook. An amazing thing is that, both are grate players.