Shashi Tharoor
Indian MP, former United Nations Under-Secretary General, and cricket fan

How good is Sehwag?

Is he ready to take his place alongside team-mates Tendulkar and Dravid in the pantheon?

Shashi Tharoor

August 8, 2011

Comments: 163 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag celebrates his second half-century of the match, India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 5th day, November 16, 2010
Sehwag: scores big, against the best attacks, regardless of the state of the game © AFP
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As a demoralised, underprepared, injury-ridden and outclassed Indian team attempt to regroup for the third Test, the air of expectation surrounding the return of Virender Sehwag can be compared only to that of the faithful anticipating the second coming.

Despite the facts that he has played little cricket since the World Cup, and that his shoulder has been under the surgeon's knife and has barely had the time to recover, Sehwag is seen as the saviour, the genius whose confident and positive strokeplay will take the fight to the opposition and give India the kind of starts they haven't been able to dream about since he last played.

Whatever happens when he actually does take strike again in Edgbaston, the extent to which he has been missed by India over the last five Tests points to his extraordinary importance to this team. India look like a different side without him at the top of the order.

It also raises the related question of whether he should finally be hailed as one of the game's greats, along with two of his current team-mates, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

When does a cricketer cross the invisible line that separates the very good from the truly great? There is no simple formula. Cricket is famously a game of statistics, but it can be no one's case that a career batting average above 50 is proof of greatness. If that were enough, the likes of Thilan Samaraweera (54.08) and Ken Barrington (58.67) would have to be mentioned in the same breath as Bradman and Tendulkar, while Clive Lloyd (46.67) and Adam Gilchrist (47.60) would fail to make the cut. Sorry, won't do.

Longevity could be another factor. One brilliant season does not a great batsman make, but someone who displays a sustained level of excellence over many years and many Tests can be argued to have a claim to greatness. And yet - what number of seasons and matches should furnish our yardstick? Five years? Twenty-five Tests? The latter would oblige us to omit George Headley (22 Tests, average 60.83) and Graeme Pollock (23 matches, 60.97), both of whom were considered by their peers to be amongst the immortals. Pollock's Test career was cut short by the international revulsion against the apartheid practised by his country, and some would argue he did not play long enough, or against varied enough opposition (West Indies, for instance) to earn the encomia lavished upon him. But Headley played long enough - 1930 to 1954 - to offer enough proof of his greatness, even if World War Two deprived him of six years when he was at his peak.

How about centuries, long a basic yardstick of batting success? Could, say, 20 hundreds be seen as proof of both ability and longevity, and therefore a statistical measure to complement the average? Certainly the unquestioned greats - Bradman, Sobers, Hammond, Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Lara, Dravid, Kallis - all make the cut. But so do Barrington, who made his runs dourly, with impregnable technique and limited flair, and Graeme Smith, who has excelled in spurts without ever suggesting a smidgen of greatness.

Sehwag passes all these tests - 22 centuries, an average of 53.43 in 10 years at Test level. Yet clearly no statistical measure is sufficient in itself.

What about big hundreds, doubles, even triples? There Bradman steals a march on almost everyone. But Sehwag, with 184 as his average century score, and 14 of his centuries exceeding 150, four double-hundreds, two triples (the only triples ever scored by an Indian batsman in Tests) excels over almost everyone else, barring Lara.

One must, then, inevitably, turn to those factors that don't lend themselves to easy quantification. The circumstances in which a batsman's runs were made, the context of the matches and the quality of opposition, are all difficult to measure and to give due weight to. But clearly runs made against Australia or South Africa in the last decade ought to count for more than centuries taken off Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. If a successful batsman's career shows a disproportionate level of success against modest opposition, the sobriquet of greatness would have to be withheld. If, on the other hand, you've made hundreds against the best bowling attacks in the world, as Sehwag has done against the best that Australia, South Africa (remember his 319?) and Pakistan (his first triple-hundred) could fling at him, you are pretty special.

Similarly the role of a batsman in overpowering the bowling - in demolishing the opposition to an extent that undermines the same bowlers' ability to perform against the other batsmen - is difficult to quantify. Strike rate is now available as an indicator, but it omits the value of a Dravid or a Gavaskar, who prized their wickets, rarely scored at a brisk clip, but were indispensable to their sides precisely for this reason. Yet when all the other statistics are allied to a brisk strike rate, the impact on the opposition can be considerable. It can ensure the batsman's success in laying a platform of dominance for others to build on.

 
 
If you've made hundreds against the best bowling attacks in the world, as Sehwag has done against the best that Australia, South Africa (remember his 319?) and Pakistan (his first triple-hundred) could fling at him, you are pretty special
 

When Kevin Petersen declared in the Chennai Test against India in 2008, he thought 387 was too high a target for India to attain in the time, and the roughly 100 overs available, especially since they had been bowled out for 241 in their first innings. He reckoned without Sehwag, who smashed 83 off 68 balls, with 11 fours and four sixes, at a strike rate of 122.05 - and suddenly made an impossible target seem gettable (which, thanks to a Tendulkar century, it then turned out to be). One indication of Sehwag's greatness is the fear he evokes in the other side, that they are never safe as long as he is playing. It is no accident that two of the three fastest triple-centuries on record (in terms of balls faced) in the history of the game are his. His career strike rate is just a fraction short of No. 1-placed Gilchrist's (with a qualification of 2000 runs).

Sehwag appears indifferent to such figures. He has an uncomplicated approach to batting - if he feels a ball is there to be hit, he hits it, often successfully (having brought up several of his landmarks with a six), and sometimes unsuccessfully (having famously perished going for his shots at 195 and 293, when lesser mortals would have pushed and nudged their way into the record books). But when his team has needed defence, he has demonstrated the ability to provide it: 151 on his comeback to the Test side in 2008 after unfairly being dropped for a year - an innings that saved the Adelaide Test - and 201 not out in Galle the same year, when the rest of the team's batsmen put together could only manage about half as much against the spinning wiles of Mendis and Muralitharan.

In other fields, an accepted measure of greatness is the demonstrated ability to overcome adversity in the pursuit of achievement. Indians tell stories of Gavaskar's 220 in the West Indies despite a crippling toothache, or Kumble bowling with a bandaged jaw. Sehwag's adversity was not a physical trauma, but the emotional injury of being dropped when he was arguably one of the side's most valuable players. Someone else might have changed his style of play to get back into the side. Not Sehwag: he backed himself to prove himself while being himself.

The ultimate test of a batsman's greatness, of course, is the extent of a side's dependence upon him. Sehwag is up there as India's Mr Indispensable, in every respect able to hold his own with Dravid and Tendulkar. ESPNcricinfo's Statsguru confirms that if one were to count just the 73 Test matches in which the trio of Dravid, Sehwag and Tendulkar have all played, though Tendulkar has the highest average in these matches (55.45, Sehwag second with 54.40) and Dravid the most centuries (19, Sehwag joint second with 18), it is Sehwag who tops the tables of runs scored (6583, over 650 more than the other two), with by far more boundaries hit and at (obviously) the fastest strike rate (over 81, to 53 for Tendulkar and 44 for Dravid).

Sehwag has been sorely missed every time he has not figured in an Indian line-up. If he transforms the fortunes of this beleaguered Indian side in the second half of this English summer, he will merely confirm the greatness that many of us have long believed is already his.

Shashi Tharoor is an Indian MP and a former United Nations Under-Secretary General

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Posted by VAS4 on (August 11, 2011, 19:08 GMT)

Sehwag has been missed everytime he is not there for India. True. He is a great player, great entertainer. True. But to believe that he may transform the misfortunes of the current Indian team in England is over optimism. But a good article. It would have been nice to have a word or two about the 38+ players in the team to think about team's future. Obvious signs of age catching up with them in England games.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 10, 2011, 23:00 GMT)

It so happened that he has a problem in dropping his wrists properly with some clear safety margin in the first innings of the third test at Edgbaston. I won't base my opinion on this RARE elementary mistake. We can see some CONSISTENT glaring inabilities in Sehwag's game. But yes, he is damn bloody good! Shashi, if you are trying to make him a great with hundreds of lines, I'm sorry you are searching in the wrong places for greatness. I'm a huge fan of Sehwag. But that's that. Let us not use the word great so loosely. For me, Greatness has to be determined by the degree of control and comfort they have at everything thrown at them. You can see that easily when Dravid, Sachin, Kallis, Lara and Ponting are batting. No ball can really trouble them as one of their glaring inabilities that a bowler will say I will get them out with this kind of delivery. Close your eyes and recap the glaring inabilities of Sehwag. You'll know if you can call him a Great.

Posted by Shan156 on (August 10, 2011, 18:47 GMT)

Mentioning Samaraweera in the same breath as Barrington shows that this Tharoor is clueless. cricinfo most likely would not publish this comment since this guy Tharoor is an MP and any criticism of his comments would amount to blasphemy. But, in the hope that cricinfo is fair (to be fair, they have published a few of my comments that I thought wouldn't be published), let me say that Tharoor knows very little about world cricket. Barrington was a great batsman. Perhaps not in the same league as Bradman but way way better than the likes of Samaraweera (Sangakkara and Jayawardene, even). He struggled a bit against the Windies pacemen in England but did well against them away. Otherwise, he has great stats against all teams home and away. Even Sachin has had troubles against few bowlers. Barrington may not be flashy as many of the greats mentioned in this article but to compare him with Samaraweera is, simply, silly. Tharoor better do his research before blurting out nonsense.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 10, 2011, 11:42 GMT)

How good is Sehwag? Of course, he is damn bloody good. Ask Graeme Smith, who couldn't declare until the end of 4th days play at home for the series decider. Yes. Sehwag is a damn bloody good destroyer of the opposition's plans a, b and c, and morale on any day, on any given track. But, is he a great? I'm not sure. He doesn't have all the shots in the book, has some glaring inabilities in his armoury (greats will not have such glaring inabilities) and so can be set-up, unlike say a Dravid or a Sachin or a Kallis or a Lara or a Ponting.....May be Sehwag has a triple and so does Gayle and Mark Taylor. If triple is one of the hallmarks of greatness, then Dravid, Kallis and Sachin will fall flat on their faces. Shashi, when you take yardsticks/tools to measure greatness, each and every yardstick/tool should withstand the test of validity and reliability. Are there measures of greatness? I don't know :). How good is Sehwag? Of course, he is damn bloody good!

Posted by   on (August 10, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

Great Sehwag OUT on first ball.... wht was the purpose of these articles. common yaar wht a pitty.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2011, 8:00 GMT)

I don't understand why people question his greatness just because of the fact that he hasn't been contributing exactly in the same way as the already-labeled greats. This guy is a genius in his own way, helping India win matches single-handedly, and fearlessly performing when rest of the team was literally washed out by a classy attack.

Greatness is measured from the fear he creates among the mind of the bowlers. The fact that the injury of a player is a sigh of relief to the opposition, shows how great he is!

Posted by SatishTeeparthi on (August 10, 2011, 5:37 GMT)

In the first test against England in Chennai in December 2008, Sehwag's rapid 83 off just 68 balls,[85] in the last session of the fourth day, set India up for its record run-chase of 4/387, the highest successful target on Indian soil. He got the man-of-the-match award despite Sachin Tendulkar scoring an unbeaten century later in the same innings and Andrew Strauss scoring a century in each of England's innings.

He is definitely a game turner...

Posted by ssjumbo on (August 10, 2011, 4:08 GMT)

Anyone who questions Sehwag's 'technique' should watch the 200 he made against Mendis and Murali in Srilanka - on a pitch where 'technique' players like Dravid, Sachin, Laxman couldn't pick Mendis. Don't forget the 100s vs OZs.. More importantly, he has redefined the definition of technique and thrown out that obsolete MCC coaching book. As Ian Chappell says technique is YOUR OWN method to hit the ball in the middle of the bat. Not where the foot is or the hand is. Sehwag is what makes the opposition think twice before declaring. He is what the opposition 'fear'.

Posted by thurc on (August 10, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

hes like mahela jatawardena and thilan samaraweera, a flat track bully who only scores runs on the sub continent. is he a great of the game, well see at the end of his career but he has to score runs in bowler firendly conditions to be considered a great in my eyes

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 20:03 GMT)

Guess Cricinfo is running out of cricket writers! This Sashi Tharoor - a "floater" - is gradually getting involved in cricket writing as his political days are already numbered!

Posted by 200ondebut on (August 9, 2011, 18:30 GMT)

Sehwag is a true entertainer and indeed one of the greats.

Lazy journalism though. - the "ask a provocative question" style is so last year!

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 17:52 GMT)

great article and analisis.glimpses of late rajan bala..the opinion expressed is free,frank, and genuine.messers smg and shastri please note.why can,t you carry on with this sir.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (August 9, 2011, 17:41 GMT)

How do you define greatness? Shashi Tharoor thinks it can be defined by numbers. He talks about centuries and big centuries. Where does this put Dravid's 2 match winning half centuries of the 4th test in the Windies in 1996? How do you measure Sachin's centuries in his early days as part of a very weak Indian team compared to Bradman's and Viv Richards' in their respectively very strong teams? How do measure the pleasure of the asthetic shots played by the big 3 of India when they make their runs? Sport is also about enjoyment as well as competing. The current big 3 can be considered great because in their prime they would probably have played matchwinning innings against the best bowlers on any pitch anywhere in the world. Sehwag is entertaining at best but has been found out by the top bowlers because he doesn't have the technique required for an opener. Greatness is one of those that can't be defined but you know when you see it. I don't see it in Sehwag.

Posted by zico123 on (August 9, 2011, 17:24 GMT)

i think minimum criteria for true true great batsman is 10,000 test runs with 30 test hundreds, sehwag has neither, if he can achieve that then his greatness will be unquestionable, also he needs to play more long innings in ODIs just like he plays in test matches, but in ODIs he throws his wicket away more often than not, that is why he has such poor ODI average and only 12 ODI hundreds.

Posted by voma on (August 9, 2011, 17:24 GMT)

I wonder why he didnt mention Graham Gooch , when listing other countrys great players . Didnt Goochie get a tripple century 333 against India at lords ! .

Posted by tappee74 on (August 9, 2011, 15:38 GMT)

Sehwag is truly a great player,with 22 centuries and a test avg of 53 ,he belongs to the group of elites.He demolishes the new ball with amazing power and maintains a healthy strike rate.We have our opinion about players and a lot could be said of them,but as an opening batsman Sehwag is impeccable. I hardly belief there is any opening batsman with an average of 50 in test .It should also be noted that his runs were made against classy bowling.Viv did not play in an era where the bowling was better,in Viv's time WI were in control of pace.Cricket has now become more academic. Shewag belongs to this academic age of toughness.Greats of this era are Sachin,Lara,Shewag,Dravid, Kallis, Chanderpaul,Ponting and a few more.Sachin and Lara is class by itself.The players i named are still playing with the exception of Ponting and they have in excess of 20 test hundred and an avg of 50 with the exception of Shiv whose avg is 49.04.

Posted by suubsy on (August 9, 2011, 15:37 GMT)

What has Sehwag done in South Africa, he played there in 2006/07 and 2010/11, some might argue he scored century on debut in Safrica, that is it, BUT he failed in 15 innings after that in Safrica ? What in New Zealand ? What is his 3rd and 4th innings contribution except that 83 in Chennai vs Eng, even there without Sachin and Yuvraj century we would have struggled to win or draw the test. Then in one dayers he has failed in almost every big finals or semi finals and rarely done well against Australia in one dayers. If the going gets tough he generally gives it away.

Posted by vinodpalrvangala on (August 9, 2011, 15:29 GMT)

Great article SIR....it's very well written. And now for my request...Please get into Cricket Administration. Cricket can use you...... and to good effect. Some sections tried to pin you for the wrong reasons....you came out clean but ended up giving up a job you were doing so well for the country. You have all the right credentials and no one can deny the knowledge you have about the game despite your busy three decade long career with UN and Indian politics. Please give it a thought Sir.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 15:28 GMT)

Nah - he aint a flat pitch bully. Anybody who averages 49 away from home warrants a special mention. Look he might have had the better of our boys (Pakistan) but he exudes the same aura of invincibility that Tendulkar did in the 90's. In my book he might be the most destructive batsmen of this generation. I love to hate him for what he has done against us, but he sure is one special talent. So lets calll a spade a spade here

Posted by Kishore_Bandi on (August 9, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

Shashi, Nicely written article ! Seems to be you are better at Sports analysis than Politics !!!!!!

Posted by prat1204 on (August 9, 2011, 14:25 GMT)

Sehwag is certainly among the All-Time-Greats!

In earlier days, the role of an opener was to hang on and take shine off the new ball so that the middle order can come and pile on runs. And what has Sehwag done? He comes and plays his natural game. He has reinvented the role of an opener in test matches with an attacking instinct and extra-ordinary stroke-play.

There are few players who change their playing style according to the format and Sehwag is one of them. If its outside the off-stump, he will go for it. He might nick it or he might put it away for a boundary. As Sehwag had once said " A glass is either half full or half empty"!

Even after being mediocre in technique, which he humbly accepts, he has made test runs at a faster pace than anyone in the history of the game. That does tell something about the man!

Hats off!

Posted by unregisteredalien on (August 9, 2011, 13:28 GMT)

As another commentator here asked, with so many "all time greats" in this Indian team why are they now being unequivocally smashed? These are very good players but the national bias in this piece is embarrassing and clearly pandering to the author's constituents. Which raises the further question: how do Indians feel about one of their political leaders wasting time pontificating at painful, illogical, dribbling length about sports rather than making a meaningful contribution to their nation? Pretty good? (and before some cleverclogs parallels John Howard - whom I would never normally defend - he went to the cricket once or twice a year whilst PM and left anything more for post-retirement.)

Posted by jay57870 on (August 9, 2011, 13:23 GMT)

With the Ganguly-Wright team, they ushered in a new competitive era with a "can do" spirit, challenging even the mighty Aussie juggernaut. Importantly, as mentors & role models, they inspired the young guns - Viru, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Yuvraj & Co. The team weathered the destructive Chappell period and reclaimed its ascendancy under the Dhoni-Kirsten leadership. India is now at or near the top in all forms of the game. Sehwag has been exceptional in this success. But I'm uncomfortable with the "Mr Indispensable" title. Nobody's indispensable, not even Sachin or Rahul. One has to look beyond stats - career averages/# of years-matches/strike-rates/big scores - to truly assess a player's greatness. Surely, Viru is "sorely missed" when not playing. But the "ultimate test" will be in how he (w/ Dhoni & Gambhir) carries leadership after the Great Duo retires (heaven forbid, not too soon). Will Viru (& Co) have the same Staying Power to carry Team India on his shoulders as the Great Troika?

Posted by spinkingKK on (August 9, 2011, 13:23 GMT)

Good to hear from Shashi Tharoor for the first time. To use the word, "genius" to the batting style of Sehwag is a big folly. There is nothing genius about it. When he sees the ball in his zone, he will have a go at it. There no special defensive short selections in his style. So, not much thinking. But, that is what makes him successful. He keeps it simple and doesn't try to be a genius that he is not. It is a good article all the same. What Shashi didn't mention is the manner in which an average is achieved by many great batsmen. Bradman in his entire career, Gavaskar and Richards for most of part of their career, made their respective averages in an era where there was no helmets. Gavaskar had to face the hostile West Indian, Pakisthani and Australian bowlers with no helmets and made those centuries. Those 34 centuries are equivalent to 64 centuries today. Tendulkar may have done it if he was playing in those days. But, we can't be sure. Same goes with Sehwag.

Posted by jay57870 on (August 9, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

Shashi - What really defines "Great" players is their phenomenal Staying Power. By that I mean the intangibles, things that cannot be measured: Leadership, practical intelligence, character, self-belief, maturity, adaptability, focus & work-ethic. Add to it Sachin's passion; Rahul's perseverance; and Saurav's Chutzpah. Also, physical endurance & mental toughness: ability to handle adversity & crises; to play through pain & injury; to bounce back from fatigue & slumps; and, yes, to face constant scrutiny of media & public; and security threats. Simply put, it's constancy of purpose to stay the long course that sets them apart and do things out of the ordinary. Notice I've added Ganguly's name to Dravid's & Tendulkar's - the great Troika - which established Team India (as we know it today) with its winning culture. This core group, ably supported by Kumble & Laxman, did the heavy lifting: leading India from the depths of the match-fixing scandal to great heights in this past decade. TBC

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

I think that Sehwag has done enough to be considered great test batsman. However he is not among the class of exceptionals or Super Greats. This group which comprises five super players is headed by Sir Don Bradman and also includes Gary Sobers, Sunil Gavascar, Brian Lara and Viv Richards. These are the first five batsmen that must be picked before any other is even considered in any situation in test cricket. Then there is the second group of great batsmen headed by Sachin Tendulkar and comprise the Kallis', Pontings, Hobbs, Huttons, Dravids, Sehwags, etc. Sehwag was not put into the premier group because he has not done enough outside the sub continent yet to merit a place there. the main purpose of Cricket like any other sport is to provide excitement at the highest level for the enthusiasts and fans who are being entertained by the players. I think that this categorisation of the great batsmen in test cricket is about the fairest selection than any subjective panel can produce.

Posted by vpk23 on (August 9, 2011, 11:19 GMT)

Spot on Shashi!!..He is a cut above the rest..True...What we would like to see though from Sehwag is that he tones down his arrogance a bit...mind you just at tiny fraction of a bit..which I should be saying will be manifested as The Tad patience required in him to go that extra inch in becoming a truly great of this fantastic game..(Great in the sense that more of his contributions resulting in wins for his country not just personal statistics.)

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 10:57 GMT)

sehwag is just another flat track bully,as mush as all other indian batsmn apart from sachin.his average is inflated due to his exobitant perfomances on batsmen friendly pitches. but outside sub continent seems terrible and never really shines againt top bowling sides. the indians could not survive a day in english conditions.it just a matter of time before they get back to their deserved ranks

Posted by Faz91 on (August 9, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

How is sunanda pushkar doing? any good news.. leave cricket aside buddy..

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 9, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

Khilsadisher in one post you say "New Zealand are one of the minnows of world cricket like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe ,so records against those sides do not matter" then in your nex post you say "whereas Sehwag averages a awesome 91 in pakistan-Richards has just got 1 hundred against the kiwis away,while Sehwag has scored 4 away hundreds on green wickets of kiwiland in odi matches." Which is it?Is NZ irrellevant, or clear evidence of a batsman's skill. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 9, 2011, 10:07 GMT)

A couple of people has pointed out that he "only" averages 39 outside the Subcontinent. 39 is not an awful average. Not brilliant, sure, but if your "weakness" is a 39 average,there isn't much wrong with your game! It is a thing about averages, if you cherry pick bad bits or good bits, you don't have an average any more.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

very good article by an MP... Well done Shashi....

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 9:10 GMT)

Greatness needs to be also measured in terms of runs scored when the team needs them the most. Shashi Taroor has compared sehwag in this article to Sachin and Dravid. There is one more great in this team which almost everyone forgets. very very special laxman

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

@khiladisher...Please dont compare him with sir Viv...They are of different eras and have played against different class of bowling attacks. Sir Viv is an all time great, while Sehwag has to add some more qualifications on his CV to become one!( I don't doubt he will do so in a matter of time)

Posted by stormy16 on (August 9, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

I think Sewag is an all time great specially considering he is an opener. I think what he does to the new ball is worth alot more than the runs others get. He ability to get big hundreds also is relevant. Most of all the role he plays in the opponents game plans - surely all team talks would start on how to get Sewag out. As a fan I know all the talk is if you dont get Sewag out your looking down the barrel as an opponent. His technique is not the best which would be a problem but his records speaks for himself technique or not. The other thing is his ability to score in all conditions which is a huge factor in defining a great. I think if you had a choice to pick a team most would Sewag as one of the openers.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 9, 2011, 4:30 GMT)

How good is Sehwag? Of course, he is damn bloody good. Ask Graeme Smith, who couldn't declare until the end of 4th days play at home for the series decider. Yes. Sehwag is a damn bloody good destroyer of the opposition's plans a, b and c, and morale on any day, on any given track.

Posted by Mark00 on (August 9, 2011, 4:15 GMT)

As a non-indian, it's clear to me that Laxman is the best Indian test batsman by a country mile because he's the only Indian batsman who can be counted on to score, sometimes massively, in situations in which others barely survive, while Tendulkar has accumulated the most runs with his heavy bat and intelligent shot selection.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 9, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

why did everyone complains that sehwag is not good outside india . look at his records at overseas . in 2002 scores a century against sa in sa ,in 2002 scores 106 against eng in headingly , in 2002 scores 2 centuries in nz against nz .in 2004 scores 195 against aus in melbourne . in 2006 scores a century in wi . in 2007 scores 152 against aus at adelaide , in 2008 scores 201 against sl in galle , in 2009 scores 135 in nz against nz , in 2010 score 2 centuries against sl in sl. forgot to mention in 2004 scores 309 against pak in pak & scores 200 against pak in pak in2006.

Posted by harshthakor on (August 9, 2011, 3:16 GMT)

In the modern era arguably the greatest match-winning batsman,who can destroy an attack like a butcher chopping meat.True he has technical flaws and lack of footwork but bar Viv Richards no batsman posessed better reflexes.Has the great flair of compiling mammoth scores like Brian Lara combined with the imperious ive power and agression of Sir Viv Richards.

To me amongst the 25 best batsman of all time with his genius of destroying any bowling.Lack of consistency and ability to adapt on the fast wickets go against him being placed at the very top with Lar and Tendulkar.His first innings average ultimately speaks for itself that too as an opener.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 3:02 GMT)

Sehwag is doing what Viv did back in the 70s - decimate opposition. He is an all time great.

Posted by khiladisher on (August 9, 2011, 2:27 GMT)

Sehwag is a legend all round and everywhere-compared to him Sanga record away from home is very poor-avg is 36 in India-39 in south africa-29 in England and just 34 in west indies Sehwag scores all round the globe while sanga scores only in sri lanka.

Posted by khiladisher on (August 9, 2011, 2:14 GMT)

Sehwag is much more gifted and talented than viv richards- viv has an avg of just 19 away in seaming conditions of new zealand and an avg of 42 only in pakistan-whereas Sehwag averages a awesome 91 in pakistan-Richards has just got 1 hundred against the kiwis away,while Sehwag has scored 4 away hundreds on green wickets of kiwiland in odi matches.

Posted by khiladisher on (August 9, 2011, 1:57 GMT)

Sehwag is a legend who has changed the course of test matches ,regarding his away record of avg of 25 in south africa is compensated by his great avg of 85 against the same bowling attack in india,also scoring 5 hundreds against south africa-4 at home and 1 away New Zealand are one of the minnows of world cricket like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe ,so records against those sides do not matter. Take the case of south african kallis,he has a away avg of 29 in 12 test matches away in swing seam conditions of england,his record in sri lanka also is poor with an avg of just 33-records suggest that kallis is apoor player in sri lanka and england- Take the case of Ponting -a very poor avg of 26 away in spinning wickets in india-CASE CLOSED SEHWAG THE LEGEND RULES CRICKET

Posted by jr1972 on (August 9, 2011, 1:29 GMT)

Sehwag is absolutely brilliant. The best batsman to watch in world cricket and a true entertainer. I am not sure if there has been a more naturally gifted, aggressive player since Sir Viv. He takes risks which don't always come off but when they do he is a cut above his peers.

Posted by hotwife on (August 9, 2011, 1:25 GMT)

I like Isaiah's view that Sehwag is an Indian great. If the ball is short of a length and bounces into the top of his thigh pad, he's devastating. If the same ball is bouncing into his waist, not so. Sure, he's played a good few brilliant innings in such conditions, which you'd say was invevitable given the number of innings he's had, but not consistently, like Tendulkar and Lara. On all wickets, I'd put Dravid well ahead of him as well.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

Wow, this guy really doesn't like Ken Barrington, eh. Personally I think Sehwag is the best player in this Indian side, but I still hope he gets nothing in the next two tests!

Posted by GenuineCricFan on (August 9, 2011, 0:56 GMT)

Dear Shashi! Great article... Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful cricket experience with all. I really admire on your interest in cricket

Posted by MinusZero on (August 8, 2011, 23:54 GMT)

Sehwag is already a test great. While his average is surpassed by a few players, its his strike rate that sets him apart from the rest. Only a handful of players who have scored more than 1000 runs are close to Sehwag's strike rate and even then, Sehwag is unmatched in other areas.

Posted by Mustafa.kamal on (August 8, 2011, 22:47 GMT)

cricket is by chance by i feel that ENGLAND should search some body to say him Good luck b,coz when veero Goes he goes hard with no mercy....best of luck Team India..

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 22:31 GMT)

in the 17 India victories Sehwag has participated in he has 3 1st innings 100s, and 1 2nd innings 50, not exactly a "match winning" record... the "match winning player" advertisement has been used for Sehwag by the BCCI establishment, when what they really mean is "ticket selling player"

Posted by vallavarayar on (August 8, 2011, 22:16 GMT)

Unfortunately for the Indian supporters, the longer Sehwag is absent from the team the better he seems to get. To wit this article.

Posted by rocket123 on (August 8, 2011, 22:00 GMT)

Tendulkar is a complete batsman and has stats on his side but he has not influenced the rise of India as a formaidable force in cricket. Unlike Tendulakr, Dravid carried the burden of Indian batting everywhere in the world and recorded some amazing victories at home and abroad from 2000-2005. Shewag has matured a lot and has played some great innings at home and abroad save NewZealand where he has been an absolute duck. But the point is that both Tendulkar and Dravid are greats. One with god gifted talent and the other is matching him with less talent but with application, hardwork and perseverance. On the other hand, Shewag has to prove a lot though statistics suggest otherwise. He needs to play a bit longer and continue scoring runs in victories and demonstrate more match savings innings. He is almost there but in a few more years of cricket if he continues to do what he has been doing. Overall, India has 4 greats Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Shewag in modern game.

Posted by khiladisher on (August 8, 2011, 21:56 GMT)

@Semoli-well said friend Sehwag is a game changer as well as the greatest batting innovator in cricket-his records ,stats and productivity shows that he surely is miles ahead of the one -who some people proclaim as god of cricket{the god fails on most needed occasions}

Posted by BillyCC on (August 8, 2011, 21:48 GMT)

Sehwag is unique, no opener will ever be like him. His greatness lies in the fact that opposing captains need to factor him in when setting a declaration score. No other player, not even Gilchrist because he bats at seven, has caused more concern for opposing captains. Sehwag is the wicket that opposing captains "need" (not want) before they think about anything else. Therefore, he is even more valuable than Tendulkar and Dravid and Laxman who are wickets that captains "want".

Posted by khiladisher on (August 8, 2011, 21:48 GMT)

Well said shashi-"it will merely confirm his greatness that millions of fans have always believed is already his"-a once in a life time genius-7700 runs-avg-54-strike rate-82-and in odi cricket-7600 runs at a strike rate of 104-15500 of the most sparkling runs ever made on a cricket pitch. A t20-strike rate of 155{ALREADY IN THE ICC GREATEST TEST MATCH AND ODI TEAM}-IT WOULD NOT BE A SURPRISE IF THEY SELECT HIM IN A ALL TIME GREAT T20 TEAM-SEHWAG WITHOUT DOUBT WOULD BE THE FIRST CHOICE THERE TOO.

Posted by khiladisher on (August 8, 2011, 21:31 GMT)

Sehwag is an all time great player with a great record-Sehwag,Dravid and laxman would all go down as all time greats and also as great match winners and match savers. sachin will rank as an all time great batsman for his statistical highlights only, and has been dissapointing when required to play a crucial innings.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 21:20 GMT)

... continued... this brings us to the other questions that need answering when the framework is "all time XI" arising from 1) machine made balls fly to (and over) the fence like birds, 2) the bats of today are worth at least 10 in the averages compared to the old ones, 3) wickets were left uncovered overnight in the old days, making the 2nd innings a true test of batsmanship --- even in the era of covered wickets Sehwag averages 31 in the 2nd innings, a bit of a 'deal breaker' for me ... continued...

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

I have no problem with Sehwag as a 21st century Indian great, everyone knows he is devastating on subcontinental wickets - my problem with Sehwag opening for the "all time World XI" or even the "all time India XI" can be summarized as follows: he has a 20 average in New Zealand, a 25 average in South Africa, a 40 average in England, a 50 average in the Windies (which drops to 30 if you take out the 1 knock of 180), all countries where opening batting is tested --- now, he does average a fortuitous 60 in Australia composed mainly of 2 big knocks against weakened attacks (Melbourne will always remember him for the 195 made while McGrath and Warne were out with injuries) ... continued...

Posted by hotwife on (August 8, 2011, 21:03 GMT)

Hmm, Sehwag is a fab player, but.... His test record outside the sub continent is significantly worse than in. ie averages 62 in sub continent, 40 outside (which is still pretty good). Deepanjan says he's made runs on NZ's swinging greentops. Not so.In tests180 runs in 9 bats. England, 237 in 6. And try SA, 382 in 15 innings. I'd suggest that SA pitches are quicker and bouncier than many Australian pitches these days. My grandfather says the Ken Barrington was a much underated player. He reckons pitches have gotten flatter and flatter over the years and used to favour bowlers much more in the 50's and 60's. So in hhis opinion, Barringtons record puts him up with the absolute best. He once said to me that if batters like Hayden, Langer, Sehwag, Gilchrist, Martyn, Gibbs, Pietersen, Smith (the list goes on) had batted on a 1960's lords pitch, they wouldnt have the technique to survive long periods of time against decent seam bowling.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 20:28 GMT)

Great article by Mr Tharoor. But why doesn't include Gavaskar among India's greats? Most curious. Visho Sharma

Posted by khiladisher on (August 8, 2011, 20:15 GMT)

Sehwag has surely earned the tag of an all time great player-decimating and destroying bowling attacks all over the world-would rank along with Laxman and Rahul as the all time great match winners for india.

The world has started to take note of the genius of veeru and it will be a matter of time that he will go down in history as the greatest player ever to change the game of test cricket by his histrionics and super skills.

Statistically veeru would be the greatest batsman ever with 7700 runs avg-54-strike rate 82-22 hundreds -14 scores of 150+,-4 scores of 250+,2 triple tons

Posted by Navin84 on (August 8, 2011, 20:12 GMT)

continued...The surprise, though, lies in his poor display against spinners outside Asia; he has averaged just 21 and been dismissed six times. In sharp contrast to his batting form in home wins (average 62.41 with four centuries), he has been ordinary in the five wins outside the subcontinent since 2005 (average 21.55 and no score over fifty). "

Posted by Navin84 on (August 8, 2011, 20:09 GMT)

This part from Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan analysis abt Sehway says it all "Sehwag not a major threat outside Asia, India, who have been well below-par in the two matches so far, will look up to Virender Sehwag who is returning after an injury lay-off. Among batsmen with over 2000 runs in Tests, Sehwag's strike-rate of 81.91 in Tests is second only to that of Adam Gilchrist. Sehwag, who has an outstanding average of 68.80 in the team first innings with 21 centuries, has been disappointing in the second innings where he averages just 30.63 with one century. In Tests since 2005, he has been brilliant in home Tests with a high strike-rate and boundary percentage against pace bowlers and spinners. However, in away Tests outside the subcontinent, the numbers are very different. Although his strike-rate falls to 77.50, he averages over 42 against pace bowlers who have accounted for 22 of his 30 dismissals in the period. (continued...)

Posted by khiladisher on (August 8, 2011, 20:06 GMT)

Without an iota of doubt-Sehwag is already in the ranks of greatest batsman of this era-He is already being hailed as the greatest game changer ever in cricket-His match winning skills are legendary and he also has been named in the ICC GREATEST EVER TEST MATCH AS WELL AS THE ONE DAY TEAM. To score about 7700 runs in test matches at a strike rate of 82+ is unheard of ever and also his great penchant for raking up big scores with 2 triple hundreds,6 double hundreds and 14 scores of 150+ For a hand full of people talking about his away avg of 20 in new Zealand,i will talk about his record in the one day matches in the 2003 tour of new Zealand,where pitches were as green as plants and every ball swung a mile,veeru scored 2 great hundreds ,when others struggled to put bat to ball-HIS RECORD IN ONE DAY MATCHES IN NEW ZEALAND-600 RUNS AT AN AVG OF 56,WITH STRIKE RATE OF 105-WITH 3 GREAT AWAY TONS-CHAMPION PLAYER IN ANY ERA-HAIL THE GREATEST

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

First: Sehwag - on current evidence, is definitely a modern great. Whether he'd become an all-time great is questionable. People like Hayden midway through their test careers looked set for that only to lose inspiration and form as they wound down. Also, greatness is possible without all-conquering record. Many greats have had one bug bear country. Ponting hasn't quite conquered IND, Gavaskar never mastered Imran's PAK, Botham failed against WI and Lillee wasn't even good on subcontinental wickets. Sehwag has, by and large made runs in hard bouncy wickets (AUS), swinging greentops (NZ), spinning dustbowls (SL), and there are only so many other varieties.

Second: Ken Barrigton is a great. No debate. Dour was his style, but by choice - like Gavaskar's ODI century when he matched Srikkanth stroke for stroke, Dravid's 50 (off 21 balls), Boycott's strokeplay in Sunday league - Ken had the ingredients, but he knew what value his stonewalling provides to the side.

Posted by mosin007 on (August 8, 2011, 19:28 GMT)

plz stop counting the indian players runs and centuries and stop discussing there stats in every coulumn of urs, instead advise them to stop earning money from useless adds on tv and stop playing for just there own self in ipl, only then these players will be hailed as true greats

Posted by AbAdvani on (August 8, 2011, 19:06 GMT)

Test of greatness comes when you score runs against quality opposition in their own courtyards and when you score under tremendous pressure. With all due respect, Sehwag does not pass muster on either of those. He has rarely done well outside the Indian subcontinent -he was consistently exposed by shaun pollock in the last SA series. He also does not have a great track record in the 3rd or 4th innings.

And let me remind the ex-minister -Sehwag has more runs than Dravid and Tendulkar because he opens the innings and hence will get more scoring opportunities than either Dravid and Tendulkar.

He needs to be more consistent to be on the same plane as Dravid or Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 18:14 GMT)

As others have commented, it seems strange to me that you're starting with an axiom that "Ken Barrington isn't a great", and then finding criteria that agree with that assessment.

Between Barrington's test debut in June 1955 and his final test in July 1968, he scored more test runs than any other player, scored as many hundreds than any other player (equal with Cowdrey), and the only batsman with a higher average was one GS Sobers (although Sober's career average didn't match Barrington's).

With a qualification of 2000 runs, only 5 players in the history of the game have a higher batting average: Bradman, Pollock, Headley and Sutcliffe.

I don't argue that Sehwag's aggression is a valuable asset, but in test cricket it's perfectly possible to be great even if you score slowly. They don't call Dravid "The Wall" for nothing.

Posted by Semoli on (August 8, 2011, 18:13 GMT)

To me Sehwag is great because he changed the way the game is played. In the era of getting behind the ball, he invented or is the best exponent of getting along the line of the ball to score. It seems like the newer batsmen are trying to emulate his approach. This game changing approach and the numbers that support his productivity make him great, just maybe greater than 'you know who' :)

Posted by Rajesh. on (August 8, 2011, 18:09 GMT)

It also raises the related question of whether he should finally be hailed as one of the game's greats, along with two of his current team-mates, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid ---- What about VS Laxman ?? He too is in the same class as Sachin & Rahul........

Posted by Dashgar on (August 8, 2011, 17:59 GMT)

All this talk of greatness in India, but they will still surrender the number 1 with all 3 of these players still playing and arguably in their prime. Why do we care so much about these Indian players then? Maybe Sehwag will save all of them their face, for some reason I doubt it.

Posted by FormerMiner on (August 8, 2011, 17:40 GMT)

Sehwag has already made the cut, with or without Tharoor's endorsement. However to dismiss Greame Smith in passing and so non-chalantly - "without ever suggesting a smidgen of greatness" - is a travesty! Having started his career alongside Sehwag, Smith has practically matched all statistical parameters with him, be it, hundreds, big hundreds, average over fifty (taking a beating lately though). Tharoor forgets one aspect that means a lot in my world, the career defining fourth innings unbeaten century in a long chase. Check the Edgbaston Test of 2008 for Smith's Greendigesque accomplishment followed by the series winning and pain enduring Australian summer.

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 8, 2011, 17:26 GMT)

I am die hard fan of sehwag. For me sehwag is not great. For me sachin is not great also. Stats for losers. Sehwag needs to bat in swinging condition and not throw bats. He has to respect the bowler and condition in swinging pitches. He needs to play like he did in adelaide or galle. if sehwag makes century , all naysayers will run away. Until then people gripe he is not good in swinging pitches.

Posted by butterBum on (August 8, 2011, 17:04 GMT)

I am one of the faithfuls waiting for sachins hundreth hundred more than anything else, look at the man he's 38 and still demands respect from opponents on the cricket field ...... english bowlers just cant hide their nervousness when the king strolls to bat .....he is the BEST ...sewag savour the moment you are gonna be with the best TY

Posted by pankajkumarsingh on (August 8, 2011, 16:52 GMT)

So, Sehwag is great to an extent. His wicket is the most prized wicket in test arena. He can dismantle a side within few overs. He definitely is one of the great openers we've ever seen. Here is why though he'll never make it to the elite club of "All Time Greats". (1) He is and will always be the most talented kid, not a man. He is crude, could never be a great leader, never listened to his coach or captain and blasted Pakistan and Bangladesh bowling on TV interviews. (2) His performance sinks outside the sub-continent. Greatness never comes purely with statistics.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 16:46 GMT)

Our inexorable path to a 0-4 loss remains firmly intact, Sehwag's entry cannot overcome the deeper loss of Zaheer and Harbhajan. The Indian bolwing attack is without teeth and taking 20 wickets in a Test is quite improbable!

Posted by CRGS on (August 8, 2011, 16:45 GMT)

Sehwag is a great entertainer, many times a match winner, great sportsman but I wont call him great. not yet. He is fun to watch but not a pleasure to watch.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

Ken Barrinton not great, please! In an era when travel was not easy and an 'away' tour ment more than drinking bottled water and watching Sky TV in your hotel, KB averaged 69.18 away from home, some 19 (ish) more than his home average.Surely a measure of greatness is a players ability to remove himsef from his natural playing conditions (and environment) and not only to perorm but to actually eclipse his record in the conditions he learnt to play the game in? I don't think they had video futage of Indian/West Indian wickets back then to prepare themselves with?

Posted by NBRADEE on (August 8, 2011, 16:06 GMT)

Mr. Tharoor makes a great argument, even though in my case, he is preaching to the converted!. The people in the West Indies missed him most of all those absent from the Indian team which toured here recently. He hits the ball much like we know, adore and respect, and his scowl has enamoured him to Windies fans of cricket more than anyone else out there. While Sachin is without comparison to any other, Viru is who we crave viewing most!

Posted by CricketChat on (August 8, 2011, 15:16 GMT)

Shewag would be in my team any day any format just for the fact he makes batting exciting and brings joy when he gets going. Pressure of the team situation doesn't seem to affect his mind as much as it does to Sachin and Dravid who both can be boring to watch at times. Only batsman for Ind in the last decade who could change the state of match in a single session.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (August 8, 2011, 15:10 GMT)

Sehwag is a great player. The way that he makes his runs, the amount of runs that he scores, and the way that he forces the opposition to change and abandon game plans sets him apart from any player since probably Sir Vivian Richards, another unquestioned great. There have been better players in the meantime, Kallis and Tendulkar foremost amongst them, but very few who have been able to change the complete face of a game and disrupt the opposition in one session like Sehwag, and even fewer 'touch / eye' players with such an insatiable appetite for big runs. All too easy to get a stylish hundred then give it away I must take exception with the writer though: Any talk about Kenny Barrington not being a great player is uninformed nonsense. For the majority of his career, he played for unexceptional England sides, and his was the wicket most prized by the opposition. Whether his runs were pretty or not (he generally tried to reach a hundred with a six), his greatness cannot be questioned.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

A superb article from a man who enchants us with a priceless display of wit and charm on every occassion.I would love to watch Dravid and Tendulkar bat anyday but I would pay to watch batsman like VVS and in particular Virender Sehwag.He is our only ray of hope at the moment and Team India need him desperately because if he gets going(hopefully),there is absolutely nothing like it

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

I am great Fan fan of Viru...and would add that Sehwag may not be hailed a great as far as his technique is cincerned...however it is mindset and approach what creates thje differnce...even when he doesn't score in one inning, our team and bowlers remain hopeful of a second inning blast...which keeps them away from being Disheartened at any stage of the game..

Posted by Finn92 on (August 8, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

He averages 39.45 outside of the subcontinent. Yes he can be devastating but don't mistake big runs on lifeless surfaces for greatness.

Posted by landl47 on (August 8, 2011, 14:33 GMT)

As far as I can see, Sehwag has never actually scored a test century against either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe and has played remarkably few tests against either of them. His record against Australia and South Africa is very good, so he's made runs against the best. He's also been pretty consistent for someone who plays so aggressively. I certainly think he deserves to be called one of the greats; he has a higher average than Viv Richards, who was voted one of the five greatest players of the 20th century, and he's just as destructive. I think he's going to have a hard time making an impact on the current test series, but you can't judge Sehwag by normal standards- if he gets through the first hour, he could easily score a big hundred.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 14:01 GMT)

@Mark00-What?He carried his bat for a double century when no oneelse scored...!that too @ a rate of 87..It showed the way to play mendis and murali!

Posted by universal.rampage on (August 8, 2011, 13:52 GMT)

I am not sure if Sehwag needs Tharoor's endorsement. He is in the pantheon. He is the only game-changer in the Indian team. And he has played well in Australia. He played in SA in the beginning of his career. Otherwise, only the last series where he was out of form. Thats no big deal.

SRT is an ODI player. He has a lot to prove in Tests. Especially for someone who might play close to 200 test matches, his record is not out of the world.

Posted by BlorScouser on (August 8, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

The 'great' bit about Sehwag is that on a given day(usually on a flat track) he has the knack of being able to knock the stuffing out of the opposition. Its this psychological scarring inflicted on the opposition which immensely helps the team effort and usually results in an Indian victory. However, barring the Chennai knock in 2008, he doesn't seem to be able to produce match winning efforts under pressure,nor is he the player you can bank on to save a test. So he still has some way to go before being classified as an all time great. And yes, my classification of greats is largely based on those who are good team players and guide their team to victory even under the most adverse conditions.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 13:33 GMT)

Great or not, there is not other batsmen I'd rather watch...

Posted by TwitterJitter on (August 8, 2011, 13:26 GMT)

I agree. If India have to rank its "most valuable" batsmen in tests it would be: 1. Sehwag 2. Gavaskar 3. Dravid 4. Laxman/Sachin. Cricket is as much a game of psychology and Sehwag puts fear in any bowlers mind and can change the complexion of the game 2. Sunil and Dravid put so much price on their wicket and makes a bowler really work hard to earn their wicket. I ranked Sunil higher than Dravid merely because he played against better bowling attacks. I ranked Sehwag higher than these two because although Sunil and Dravid make bowler work hard they are not of much help to the batsmen on the other end. The bowler is still aggressive because the batsmen are still in defensive mind set. Sehwag on the other hand can just rattle any bowler and make life easier for his partner at the other end. As for Laxman he has been invaluable for the team in 2nd innings. Sachin on the other hand scores lots of runs and helps India in the process and is tied for 4th in terms of "value" to the team.

Posted by Nampally on (August 8, 2011, 13:23 GMT)

An excellent summary of Sehwag's prowess, Sashi!. I always described Sehwag as the Governor General of the crease. He really dictates & controls bowlers. He improvises and makes the art of batting richer though his own strokes such as Sixers over the point or even paddle sweep for six over the fine leg or the WK.Bradman was great & consistent batsman. But Sejwag does one better by his originality & the belief that ball is meant to be hit irrespective of who the bowler is. The big question now is can he revive the Indian team from their current low? He is rusty and is playing on 100% different conditions as existing in India But he is self confident which is half the battle. His very presence in the side is a huge psychological boost.Can he deliver punch#2 with a 50 or a century? If he does, it will rally the Indian side & bring England back to ground level.from a dreamland. In my opinion even a rusty Sehwag is more exciting than Bradman.Lets go Viru - lets see a vintage Sehwag!.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (August 8, 2011, 13:06 GMT)

Yet another poor article from Shashi Tharoor. Ken Barrington not a great batsman? Lol. He averages almost 60 in test match cricket. Scored 20 centuries. And how on earth does he call Adam Gilchrist a great ahead of Graeme Smith. Smith has achieved FAR more than Gilchrist, and Smith is just 30. By the time Graeme Smith finishes his career he will have a far better record than Dravid, Laxman, Gavaskar, Sehwag.

Posted by vissu295 on (August 8, 2011, 13:02 GMT)

Put the great ricky ponting on dust bowls and you'll see him scoring 0-10s all the time.. where as a certain viru would score a mster class 201* like he did in Galle..Every cricketer has weaknesses and you shouldn't pick and choose stats to suit your agenda. He has a great ability to turn matches, and what's more surprising is that he does it with amazing consistency.

Posted by crazyuddie on (August 8, 2011, 12:57 GMT)

There is one more thing to the qualification to greatness: and that is the beauty of the batting. Something where the likes of Graeme Smith definitely do not qualify, but a Mark Waugh qualifies highly.

Whether or not Sehwag's batting can be called beautiful or elegant, that is (part of) the question.

Posted by demon_bowler on (August 8, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

Sehwag has benefited from an era of helmets, perfect bats, lightning-quick outfields, and flat pitches. Not his fault of course. Can't see him scoring much on an old 'sticky dog' or even on the faster pitches of the eighties and nineties. Also, he has a strangely poor average against England -- 31. And that's not on English pitches but overall (average in England is just under 40). Of course, he now has an opportunity to put that right. Don't want to put him down, just point out how hard it is to make comparisons between eras. Barrington was the right player, and a great player, for his era, Sehwag for his. Best attacking opener of all time? Yes.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 12:48 GMT)

without sehwag, india didnt cross 300 in five test matches

Posted by swarzi on (August 8, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

The whole world knows from the indisputable records that India's batting dependables are Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman. How come Laxman is substituted for 'another player', even though he has not retired out? I think that what some of you guys try to do when you write is to try to run away from the unvarnished truth and underrate the real bedrocks of India's cricket. Then you continue to push your favourites 'beyond their limits', even though when the hidden softness of their underbelly is properly examined and the truth exposed, you accuse people of bashing your favourites. But if you guys do fair analyses about your players, I think that people would think that some of them are much more than spoilt brats.

Posted by ramji48 on (August 8, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

All talking about entry of Sehwag to the ongoing India England series with much of expectations, but what about the contribution of the so called Greatest (from some quarters) SRT, even compared to Sir Donald Bradman. SRT plays on the foundation of contribution from Sehwag and Dravid. Continuing playing due to compulsion of endorsement earnings naturally creates records. Just analyse the records created by SRT's 50 tests segments up to 1995, 50 tests from 1996-2000 when Dravid started playing and 2001-2011 when Sehwag also entered the scenarion, things will settle down. Let's leave this issue to history and enjoy the game.

Posted by Proteas123 on (August 8, 2011, 11:57 GMT)

@ _NEUTRAL_Fan_ - Absolutely. Maybe not on current form but overall yes. They are certainly a lot closer than what the author suggests. As for Bradman being the best, you are absolutely correct. He is the best in history without question. Anyone who challenges this is not objective and is just trying to make their own heroes seem better than they are.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 11:45 GMT)

Impact yes, anywhere in the world. But when there is a plus 8 difference between overseas and home average which is worse when it is taken as subcontinent vs elsewhere I do not think he gets to the same pantheon. Article takes a very biased view aimed towards reaching a conclusion which the author already has made up before he got beyond the title of the article.

Posted by hindolm on (August 8, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

completley agree with Fifthman, averaging 54 in cricket in the modern era is not that special. Plus Ken barrington was truly one of the greats. He played in an era where the bowling was much harder to face and the pitches were 'real' pitches (bit for both bat and ball). Batsmen like him who grind it out and fight till the end is what makes test cricket so special.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 8, 2011, 11:32 GMT)

@vatsap. How about we do a "2 country" analysis. If you take 50 test matches combined from 2 countries, will you find any player averaging over 90?... with a SR like Bradman's? Will you find anyone with the tendency to rack up double and triple centuries as often, in 2 countries? Will we see as huge a gap between them and their peers that Bradman has created? Also the pitches then were uncovered, which means conditions varied quite a lot. Look, it is no secret that it is difficult to compare players from such an era but an avg. of 99 (>90 in all FC matches), scored quite often at a fast rate in an era where his nearest competitor averages 60 (and only played 20 odd tests I think) is not something you can find excuses against. The funny thing is, if Bradman came from the subcontinent, we would be hearing less and less about him only playing in 2 countries.

Posted by Punter_28 on (August 8, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

Sehwag definitely needs to prove himself on seaming tracks . His performances in England & SA are much below his career averages ...though he has scored 100's there... he is definitely suspect on these conditions... but having said that do you count out Dennis Lille out of the greats as he hardly payed in the Sub-continent and has a total of 6 wickets out of his tally of 355. The rest coming from Australia, England & NZ pitches. Yet many rate him as the complete fast bowler of all time!! So, Sehwag by the same argument , should also be considered as one of the greats!! But, for a cavalier batsmen like him, one will be more than happy if he silences his critics with a better show in England.

Posted by arvin on (August 8, 2011, 11:24 GMT)

sehwag played in 9 matches india won outside sub-continent... his ave... 28... highest score of 47... strike rate 68... with that statistics only no knowledge of crciket brains will hail him as great and as for his presence in england to boost india team... well all these experts are living in fools paradise and will be justifying themselves after sehwag's failure that he was not fully fit... thats his style... he did not get enough match practice and all that nonsense...

Posted by douglondon on (August 8, 2011, 11:23 GMT)

He's a flat track bully. When he scores big, the game result is inevitably a draw, because both sides are scoring runs for fun. Of his big scores outside the sub-continent, the 151 came in a game in which both teams scored 500+ in the first innings. His 195 came in a game in which Ponting hit 257. His 180 came in an innings in which two other Indian batsmen scored 140-odd.

That said, he's the finest flat track bully of all time. In some ways, that could be considered a form of greatness. I can't think of any other batsman so capable of exploiting favourable conditions.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 8, 2011, 11:22 GMT)

@Proteas123. Smith better than Sehwag? I'm not sure about that.

Posted by Pankaj_INDIA on (August 8, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

to those who say he is good only on flat tracks: a batsman is not measured on what kind of tracks he play, if it was so, ponting would have been successful in india. but his pathitic record in india suggests otherwise. a batsman is friendly on the wickets he plays often, doesnt matter if its flat or fast track. smith/ponting play on fast tracks regularly, so they score heavy there. but sehwag has also scored big hundreds outside. 195, 151 in aus, centuries in nz eng wi pak sl.. if he has failed in one country (SA), then thats not big deal. if u all notice, all peitersen and cook's top 5 scores are on home soil. the fact here is, SEHWAG IS MOST DESTRUCTIVE BATSMAN OF THE GAME, EVER... not only he destroys bowling, but bowlers' confidence, opposition's morale... we are proud of u VIRU...

Posted by moikei on (August 8, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

Sehwag is the swash-buckler of the 3, who grants himself permission to thrash the ball all over the place. The role of Dravid and Tendulkar is to feed off the result of Sehwag's runs... This is the most unpredictable part of their efforts; if Sehwag has hit a big innings pressure is taken away ( to some degree) and Tendulkar and Dravid can feed off thatm just as they CAN'T feed off Sehwag's failures.... self evident I think..... Just supposing Sehwag was in the role of the other 2 and vice-versa.....how do you think things would change ?

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

Well when you consider Sehwag's average and the fact he opens and then consider his strike rate then it's clear he is the most important batsman in the Indian team. And if he's a flat track bully what does that say about the guys who follow who don't take advantage of said flat tracks?

If I was picking a world team he's be the first batsman I'd pick.

Posted by vichan on (August 8, 2011, 11:08 GMT)

As some commentators have already mentioned, Dravid and Gavaskar are included in the greats because their batting relies on technique, accumulation and dourness. Yet for the same reasons, Barrington (who has a better record) is not included. Where is the logic behind this?

Posted by ramsharat on (August 8, 2011, 11:06 GMT)

Guys today people watch test cricket because of presence of players like sehwag, dilshan etc who make the game interesting. u cant have everything. i.e having 100+ SR, 10,000+ runs, triple hundreds etc. even if he flops in a game, he gives the team a positive attitude. See how india is now without sehwag at the top. Even players like sachin, dhoni r not playing well. SEHWAG U ROCK!!!

Posted by Fifthman on (August 8, 2011, 10:54 GMT)

This lamentably uncritical article is just another excuse to inflate the reputation of a flat-track bully. Put Sehwag on a seaming, bouncy track and he becomes very ordinary indeed.

Posted by mvchilukuri on (August 8, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

I think Shashi Tharoor must realize that Sehwag stays ahead of Sachin and Rahul as he bats ahead of them. In addition, he is the only batsman who plays positively and for result over Sachin and Dravid when it comes for test cricket.

Let us wait and watch what would Sehwag means to India in the remaining test matches!

One thing is proved that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is neither legend and nor Robinhood after 2-0 defeat.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 10:25 GMT)

back of the Super hero Sehwag, the next tendulkar

Posted by Lazys0d1990 on (August 8, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

Gee mate you've really got a problem with Ken Barringtion don't you? What ever happened to the importance of technique and just scoring mountains of runs? I never saw Barrington but my grandfather (an aussie) rates him as one of the best batsmen he's seen, says his technique was excellent, he DID HAVE attacking shots (he just shelved them for the good of the team) and was a great team man. Everyone has their own opinions I know but you're pretty much saying that he's not a great simply because he had patience. So Dravid's not a "great" either?

Posted by ccsekhar on (August 8, 2011, 10:12 GMT)

Yeah...Possibly one can say He is on the Climb up to "Greatness"...One thing goes with out saying is...Sehwag's ability to change the game and alter the psyche of the opposition drastically at the start of an innings...We would like to see him there...at the pinnacle of Greatness...Statistics apart...he plays "Uncomplicated" cricket and entertains us to the core when he is on Song...!

Posted by HatsforBats on (August 8, 2011, 10:07 GMT)

@ Ben Tumilty: you'd rather have Smith than Gilchrist?! You're taking the mickey aren't you? As for Sehwag; give him a flat track in Asia and a mediocre attack and he's a great. He's very good, but not a great.

Posted by crocker on (August 8, 2011, 10:00 GMT)

Inspite of the presence of SRT, Dravid, Laxman etc. people miss Sehwag is an indication of his importance. With the presence of above seniors in the side, all the juniors try to emulate their style, to be in good books of selectors / high brow commentators, and forget their own natural play. To win test matches, it takes the daring of Sehwag, to throw the contemporary thinking out of the way and play his natural and bold game, and create a platform for the senior trundlers to sleep-walk to glory. Popular demand is "To win test - have Sehwag" and to save test - have SRT, Dravid, Laxman etc and more. So Sehwag is GOOD.

Posted by Gizza on (August 8, 2011, 9:55 GMT)

Sehwag's average in England is a little on the lower side at the moment. What better way to boost it than to score a massive century against the Poms in the next Test :D

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 9:49 GMT)

I disagree that Sehwag is great. He needs to start performing more widely around the world, outside of the sub-continent more rather, where he is, admittedly, king.

Posted by Mark00 on (August 8, 2011, 9:41 GMT)

Sehwag's biggest scores have happened when everyone else scored massively. He's the master of maximizing scoring in conditions that could be considered bowler's graveyards but utterly useless everywhere else. Statistics bear this out. He, even more than Tendulkar, has profited considerably from the bouncer restrictions as his technique against bouncers is laughable. It's a miracle he hasn't got out shoulder-before-wicket as well.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 9:30 GMT)

to those telling sehawg is bad out of home thus cant call him a great well if u say only stats make greats then like wie vvs is not a great which is completly wrong the kind of fear viru generates the sachins the dravids the laxans the gavaskars never did and a 105 on debut ,195 mebourene 151 adelaide nz tour 2003 etc etc he is a great and big big match winner

Posted by getsetgopk on (August 8, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

well the point here really is why tendulkar, dravid, ghambir dhoni and laxman so out of every thing?? And is sehwag that good to turn the match around single handedly? the answer is NO. He will try though but i dont think English bowlers are gona let him settle down.

Posted by vatsap on (August 8, 2011, 8:52 GMT)

There is only one sure way to look at a batsman's greatness on top of runs scored, average, longetivity ... which is runs scored away or in conditions different from home conditions. When this is applied a lot of the greats are exposed. Some greats toured only 2 countries (Bradman, Trueman, Lillee) to name just a few. Most of the others were Kings at home with an average difference > 10 for away games.

Would be good for Anantha's stats column analysis based on Away averages (Batting and Bowling)

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

No one can match Shehwag ever i think. I feel he has won more matches for India than any other has. The fear in opponent in him is the biggest of them all. He is a pure masterclass and a legend........

Posted by dancingdownthewicket on (August 8, 2011, 8:42 GMT)

Sehwag is needs to prove himself be scoping on seaming wickets to be called a great.

Posted by Proteas123 on (August 8, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

Sehwag is a flat track bullie as he proved again on his last tour of SA. Smith is a very good player and certainly a better player than Sehwag. Smith is more dangerous than any other current test player in the fourth innings of a test chasing a big score. Ask Eng and Aus. His recent poor form should not cloud that fact. Sehwags higher average is simply because he plays more often on flat tracks. To the author, you simply state that stats are not everything yet you didn't even analyse Sehwag's stats in different parts of the world. He is nowhere near a great.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 8, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

Another conclusion which could be drawn is that Ken Barrington is very underated..... averages of 50 and 20 tons are dismissed as measures because Ken acheived them by scoring slowly and securely.... but slow secure scored is a virtue when applied to Gavaskar or Dravid. Dourness and lack of flair excludes him, but Kallis is an "unquestioned great" despite Dour being his middle name. He was arguably the Dravid of his generation.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

Virendar sehwag is truly a cricket entertainer...But dragging him along other greats is still not justified...Sehwag is known as a flat track bully...Though he has performed well in Australia...yet his averages in England(39.50), South Africa(25.46) and New Zealand (20.00) do not support his case for the greats list... So! I dont think he can make much difference to this England-India series...or in other words, England supremacy over a weak indian side...! Anyways best of luck to the Indian fans...

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 8:16 GMT)

I think Shewag is good enough to compare with himself, because we cannot compare him with any other batsmen, he has his own way & style of batting & he is 95% scuccessfull to that. He is the most entertainig batmasn I've ever seen in all formats, while he is in crease he's just entertaing us & himself, never undergoes the pressures of his STARDOM, he dosen't want that and thats his success. So let him bat, we all are sit & watch no need to put him under any category.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

@Tigg, Viru only can score in flat pitches I don't think you know much about viru's knocks. His first century against SA in Blomfontein coming against swing and seam movements. His 195 against AUS also something special to remember. His first test century as a opener against Eng headingly a master piece. His match saving 151 against Australia another master piece. Recollect my friend

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

The author has pretty much lambasted Ken Barrington. Barrington was a finer batsman than half of the players you mention, a better batsman than Gilchrist, Clive Lloyd, Laxman, possibly even Gavaskar. And to be fair to Graeme Smith, I'd rather have him in my side than Gilchrist, he may not be a great but he's a far better batsman. And for the record, Sehwag is not a great. Check the stats, as mentioned by quite a few Indian fans in the comments section. In NZ he averages 20, in England 39, in South Africa 25.46. Also, his 3rd innings average is 31.72, and his 4th innings average is 28.86, adding further backing to the views that he is a flat-track bully and struggles when the ball is doing a lot. He's a good player, a very good player. But by no means a great.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

For people banging about his away performances ought to remember the century on debut in SA (105), Amazingly entertaining 195 in Melbourne,a match saving 151 in Adelaide and a disciplined 106 in Nottingham...His exploits in Pakistan (triple hundred in Multan along with others) and Srilanka (his 201 in Galle amongst others) are well documented...He would always be a bit susceptible to swinging conditions as an opener who doesnt leave too many balls but the only places he has struggled and averages less than 39 (England is 39.50 in 4 tests) are NZL and SA and thats a pretty good stat for any opener...He might have some way to go to compare with Sachin and Dravid in terms of consistency and statistics but there is no question about the impact he has on both his team as well as the opposition... Also please remember that Ponting and Lara, two of the acclaimed greats of modern game averages less than Sehwag away from home.

Posted by Meety on (August 8, 2011, 7:53 GMT)

Sehwag has had a big impact on test cricket, transforming India into a dynamic side, a bit of an x-factor. I wonder how age will treat him though. He seems to rely a lot on his eye's, (he does have a classical defensive technique), however when his sight & reflexes go - I think he will be less productive away from the subcontinent. That being said - I remember when he first came onto the scene - he appeareed to be a Sachin clone, IMO, he will need to draw from SRT & learn to scale back at some point in the not too distant future & learn to accumulate.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

@comment about the most no. of triples: but chris gayle has made two triple centuries too other than sehwag....

Posted by dennisbergkamp on (August 8, 2011, 7:17 GMT)

tbf Tendulkar & Dravid have piled on the runs against some of the finest bowlers that cricket has had to offer, the likes of McGrath, Donald, Akram, Walsh, Ambrose, Warne, Muralitharan etc. Cricket worldwide has been on a downward spiral and bar England bowling is definitely not as menacing as it used to be. Sehwag thus has a great opportunity to score runs by the bucketloads in the next few years provided he keeps fit.

Posted by sifter132 on (August 8, 2011, 7:08 GMT)

Greats tend to be rounded cricketers. Sehwag is a brilliant match winner, no question, but he can't save a match for anything as his record in the 3rd and 4th innings shows. It's like he gives up after the first innings. To a lesser extent Dale Steyn faces the same problem- fantastic strike rate, but how good is he when a batsman gets his measure? Not very, he leaks runs liberally. Both are fantastic attacking players, but I'd be hesitant to hold them as shining examples of their craft.

Posted by KAIRAVA on (August 8, 2011, 6:53 GMT)

Sehwag was the main advocate campaigning from the players side for having lesser practice games for a touring Team India before the start any test series. He has repeatedly said throughout his career that 3 or 4 day practice games should be a minimum number as they waste time in this era of T20 & ODIs. Hence he has hardly ever played or performed in such matches. He always reserves his best for the test matches & I wouldn't be surprised if he scores a big ton at the Edbagston test.

Posted by ejsiddiqui on (August 8, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

I am a Pakistani and believe Sehwag is one of the greatest all time opening batsman. I do consider him as great.

Irrespective of statistics, his ability to change the game and play long is unmatched. Other players may have runs more than him, but they certainly does no influence the game as much as he do.

He is a match saver but a match winner.

Posted by Tigg on (August 8, 2011, 6:16 GMT)

Is he great? No. Very good with the potential for greatness... yes.

With averages of:

20 in 5 tests in New Zealand 39.50 in 4 tests in England 25.46 in 8 tests in South Africa 35.20 in 4 tests in Bangladesh

He's only scored big runs on flatter pitches away from home (Asia: 69.56 in 16 tests, the only other place he has an over 50 average is the americas vs the Windies).

His home average is 10 points higher than away where it drops. He's an excellent player, sometimes devastating, but usually it takes a flatter pitch to make him so which is currently what holds him back.

Good to see him back in the Indian side though.

Posted by Faeq03207 on (August 8, 2011, 6:08 GMT)

How about number of runs on seaming, fast pitches? How about style, finesse? Where is Sehwag on those fronts? He is good, even very good but great?????

Posted by RajitD on (August 8, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Superbly researched article by Mr Tharoor, which just confirms the fact that every Indian fan has known all along. Viru rocks!

Posted by Bigmoose on (August 8, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

Sehwag is an out and out match winner, probably the best ever (as a batsman) in Indian cricket history along with Laxman coming a very close second. Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly would form the list in that order IMHO. Sehwag is in the same mold as a Lara, Ponting or Gilchrist. Of course, no one compares to Viv. In Viv's vein, the way Sehwag makes runs has as much to do with wins as the number of runs he makes.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 5:41 GMT)

Mr. Tharoor, your knowledge and writing is amazing.. having said that , Indian Selectors are missing the bus, they need to give youngsters a chance , you cant have the trinity carrying long , and results like this would become common if youngsters are not blooded, Rohit Sharma does well in Windies is then dropped, Sreesanth bowls well in test is again dropped, Mukund for all the reasons we know will not play the next test even after being the only batsman after Dravid to score a century(even if its a tour game), what message does this send to the team, on top of all this Dravid is recalled, at least he had the sense to retire from ODI's. Where is Irfan Pathan , cant he bat no 7 and bowl like Ganguly did , may be 10 overs in a test and 5 overs in ODI, is he that bad, the Selectors are suffering from "Mental Fatigue"

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 8, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

sehwag is the only hope for india . however it will difficult for him after coming from a shoulder injury .

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (August 8, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

don't see Sehwag as "great" by any means. Stunning entertainer and match winner, but not great.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 5:18 GMT)

Well all that praise went a right way. He is the only option left with India to carry out the work of torch bearer, infact i wud frame him to to b Saviour of the beleaguered.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 5:09 GMT)

Great as he might be, Sehwag has a huge challenge up his shoulders. And although its not beyond him, changing the fortunes of the current side may be something that even his genius may find it difficult to achieve.

Posted by Bagapath on (August 8, 2011, 5:06 GMT)

mr. tharoor is a genuine cricket fan, i can see. i love the stats analysis and the hopeful prayer that sehwag saves india in the last two tests. if that indeed happens, then as the author says, viru belongs in the rahul-sachin league for sure.

Posted by donda on (August 8, 2011, 4:58 GMT)

Stop. First he needs to score out side of sub continent. Greatest of batsmen are those who score away from home and against the best teams in the world specially. Sehwag is great great player but he has not played for more than 10 years and to become a real legend he has to play for 15 years and have to score more than 30 centuries. But still With Gavasker, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman ....this can become the greatest batting lineup of all time. Just count the runs, centuries.

I think along with Sehwag, Laxman is also a great great player and he needs to play 3 more years to become a legend. In that way India will have 4 legends at one time before next WC. Hu hu.

Posted by arunnhk on (August 8, 2011, 4:43 GMT)

Absolutely right!!! No Doubt that Sehwag is a great player... If he is successful in England then he'll surely polish that image to a deeper level...

Posted by muski on (August 8, 2011, 4:38 GMT)

Mr Tharoor- Irrespective of whether Sehwag performs in the next two tests or not, he is already an all time great. He has done enough and more to ensure that. Cricket has always been a bastsmen's game and will be so. As a Child, I loved Sunny's batting and was fortunate to watch his last test against Pak at Blr. As a youth, watching the new little master bat bought immense joy. Over the last 5 years or so, Viru has been delighting all of us with his exceptional form of batting. So whatever be the parameters you pitch to check his greatness, he will be right up there. I wont be surprised that before he hangs up his boots, he will be counted as an all time World Test opening batsmen.

Posted by sankar8000 on (August 8, 2011, 4:30 GMT)

Sehwag is surely one among the Greatest Legends! He will prove that in future also!

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 8, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

I think he enters the conversation due to his SR. His SR per avg. ratio is phenomenal. Many persons tend to at times neglect SR when comparing greats of SIMILAR ROLES. Take nothing away from Dravid and Kallis, their roles were more of solidity and they quite often executed their role better than the "up tempo" players performed theirs. Comparison with peers is vital. Bradman way way better than his peers in terms of stats, Jaywardne not quite so, not even SRT has put that much daylight between his peers. Longevity I take with a grain of salt, the more you play the better you will be until the body fails. Look at FC records and u will see for many greats there is not much change in avg. despite playing 250+ FC matches. Will Sehwag be Ind's hero? I don't know. He wasn't a hero in SA, Steyn ate him for breakfast and Ind could find themselves even more demoralised if he fails in the last 2 tests. They better hope for clear skies.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 4:17 GMT)

On flat home tracks Sehwag really is a very good batsman but on the other hand when the ball is doing something he is very ordinary, check his record in SA and England

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 4:01 GMT)

@topic Sehwag has scored 73% of his test runs in subcontinent, there is a difference of 22 runs per inning in his avg in subcontinent and outside subcontinent.

Sehwag has scored 77% of his test runs in the 1st and 2nd innings of the test match, there is difference of 38 runs per innings to his avg in the 3rd and 4th inning of a test match.

Further if you consider his test records in subcontinent only, out of his total runs in subcontinent he scored a massive 81% runs in 1st and 2nd innings of test match, there is difference of massive 51 runs per inning to his avg in 3rd and 4th inning of test match.

Posted by xylo on (August 8, 2011, 3:45 GMT)

gee... is Sehwag good enough to be compared along side Tendulkar? I will leave the math to you, but lets count how many tests have been won due to significant contributions from Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Laxman, and the 'great' Tendulkar. And then lets get to deciding who is good enough to be compared against whom?

Posted by Woody111 on (August 8, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

Never has so much pressure been put on Sehwag! If anyone can ignore the expectation though it's him. I hope for the sake of the series and India's chances that he can make a big one first up but people are naive if they think he's the answer to a greater problem India have. They cannot take 20 wickets against England and Sehwag can't change that fact.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

There are several sehwags are in pipeline for india....Rohit sharma has such potential....Selection commission shud start thinking giving importance to match winners like sehwag rather than so called match savers???

Posted by Sinhabahu on (August 8, 2011, 3:17 GMT)

Sehwag is undoubtedly a great. I rate him higher than Tendulkar now. Don't forget that he almost got a 3rd triple century, just falling short after having scored 290-odd against Sri Lanka. I'm a Sri Lankan, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed when he got out in that innings.

Posted by SomeoneStoleMyLungi on (August 8, 2011, 3:04 GMT)

Sehwag is a great and will always continue to be. All he needs to do is perform more when under pressure. He has often performed in all type of circumstances but he comes up a bit short when put under the pump. He can play defensively and responsibly like he did in adelaide 2008, he made 151. Sehwag is my favourite player and he definitely completes the Indian side. He is the soul and spirit of the Indinan test team. If we put too much expectations on Sehwag for the next few tests, we might be heavily dissappointed so I just think we shouldn't overestimate him. Cricket isn't won by one man, it's won by eleven and all of India has to perform.

Posted by RD270 on (August 8, 2011, 3:00 GMT)

Sehwag is easily the best batsman India has produced followed by Gavaskar and Dravid. They have/had a method and have/had the mental strength to stick by it. Sehwag stands by attack and SMG and RD by defence (with judicious stroke-play).

Ask any opposition captain- Whose back would he like to see? The answer would be Sehwag before anyone!

The "technique- obsessed" India has not valued and acknowledged the greatness of Viru as much as the rest of the world has, which is a pity....

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (August 8, 2011, 2:53 GMT)

Sehwag is good, but to put him up with the "all time greats" is just an injustice to the actual greats. He may prove to be a pivotal role in the rest of the series and then again he may not. With Sehwag you never know what you're gonna get. Funnily enough, I do not think he will do much in the next two matches. The England attack is very good right now, and if I was Sehwag, I would be more troubled by Christ Tremlett who always seems to get some of that extra bounce. Extra bounce is very dangerous to stroke makers and people who like playing shots, so should be interesting to see Sehwag vs Tremlett or even Sehwag vs Anderson. Don't think he will make that much in the next 2 matches. But then again, you never really know with Virender Sehwag.

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Shashi TharoorClose
Shashi Tharoor Shashi Tharoor watched his first Test match at age seven and has been hooked ever since. He wanted to play cricket very badly, and that's what he has done, playing cricket very badly in such hotbeds as Singapore and Geneva. He also managed a three-decade career at the United Nations, rising to the rank of Under-Secretary-General, and was India's candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary-General. After coming a close second in that race, he returned to India and was elected to Parliament by a near-record margin from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency. A former Minister of State for External Affairs, Tharoor is the author of 12 books, including Shadows Across the Playing Field: 60 Years of India-Pakistan Cricket (co-authored with Shaharyar Khan). Among his many awards and distinctions, including the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, he captained the Ministry of External Affairs cricket team in its triumphs over the British High Commission and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in early 2010.

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