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ESPNcricinfo's stats editor S Rajesh looks at the stories behind the stats

The Sehwag issue

Is he trying to score too quickly, especially in bowler-friendly conditions? A look at how his stats have changed over the last four and a half years

S Rajesh

September 7, 2012

Comments: 72 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag was out cheaply, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2012
In Tests in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa since February 2008, Sehwag has been dismissed by spinners five times in 47 balls © Getty Images
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If Virender Sehwag stays fit through the next couple of months, the second Test of the series against England, in Mumbai, will be his 100th. It'll be a fine landmark for a batsman who has thrilled the senses more than most players in world cricket over the last decade with his aggressive brand of batting at the top of the order. He will become the ninth Indian player to reach the mark, and it'll be a well-deserved reward for his longevity.

Over the last few years, though, whispers have gradually been growing louder about Sehwag's skewed record - superb in subcontinental conditions, where fast bowlers don't get too much assistance, but not so flash in other countries, where fast bowlers get more help from the conditions. He has himself expressed the desire to bat in the middle order, but so far there seems to be nothing to suggest that his wish will be granted.

However, over the first six and a half years of his international career, Sehwag constantly defied the odds, and critics who gave his technique no chance in seamer-friendly conditions: he scored Test hundreds in South Africa, England and Australia. Till the 2007-08 tour of Australia, there was very little to choose between his home and away averages. He consistently scored hundreds away from home as well, even in conditions that were supposedly not suited to his style of batting: he averaged 59.50 in seven Tests in Australia, and 39.50 in four Tests in England. He was less successful in South Africa, averaging 26.44 in nine innings, but his overall average in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa was a respectable 40.84 in 18 Tests, with four hundreds.

His last successful tour to one of these countries was in Australia in 2007-08, when he scored 286 runs in four innings at 71.50. Since February 2008, though, Sehwag's consistency, and his reputation of being able to score runs in all sorts of conditions has taken a beating, which is reflected in his numbers. There is nothing to choose between his overall averages during these two periods - 50.46 in 54 Tests till January 2008, and 50.85 in 44 Tests since then. However, delve deeper and the differences are significant: in the latter period, Sehwag has depended on home Tests to rack up the runs - he averages more than 62 at home and 38 away. Then there's the small matter of Tests outside the subcontinent: in 12 Tests in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, his average has dropped to 22.73, with only three fifties - and a highest of 67 - in 23 innings.

There are a couple of differences apart from that in his averages outside the subcontinent. In the first period he converted half of his 50-plus scores into hundreds - he had 13 hundreds and as many fifties. Since then, though, his conversion rate has dropped - only nine hundreds out of 28 scores of 50-plus. Since he scored his last century, 173 against New Zealand in November 2010, he has scored nine fifties in 30 innings without converting a single one into a hundred.

And then's the matter of his strike rates. Sehwag has always been an aggressive batsman, regardless of the bowlers, the match situation or the conditions, but over the last four years and a bit, his strike rate has increased to 92.50, from 75 in the first part of his career. Despite struggling for runs outside the subcontinent, he has still scored at a rate that's 11% faster than it used to be when he was more successful in seamer-friendly conditions.

Overall numbers in Tests for Virender Sehwag
  Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Home 46 4376 57.57 83.38 12/ 19
Away 52 3930 44.65 80.86 10/ 13
Overall 98 8306 50.64 82.17 22/ 32
Sehwag in Tests till Jan 31, 2008
  Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100/ 50s
Home 22 1879 52.19 71.47 6/ 7
Away 32 2562 49.26 77.61 7/ 6
In Aus, Eng, NZ, SA 18 1348 40.84 70.98 4/ 4
Overall 54 4441 50.46 74.89 13/ 13
Sehwag in Tests from Feb 1, 2008
  Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Home 24 2497 62.42 95.34 6/ 12
Away 20 1368 38.00 87.74 3/ 7
In Aus, Eng, NZ, SA 12 523 22.73 79.00 0/ 3
Overall 44 3865 50.85 92.50 9/ 19

Let's further drill down his numbers in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, and check how he has fared against pace and spin over these two periods. Before February 2008, Sehwag's average against pace in these countries was marginally over 46. He had notable successes against fast bowling during this period: against Brett Lee he scored 190 runs and was dismissed twice; against Jason Gillespie he scored 70 for one dismissal; against Andrew Flintoff he scored 54 runs without being dismissed; Makhaya Ntini dismissed him just once, conceding 62. The quick bowlers who did well against him were Shaun Pollock (3 for 43 in 81 balls) and Shane Bond (3 for 16 in 28 balls).

Against spin, though, his average was much lower, generally paying the price for his urge to dominate slow bowlers from the start. Stuart MacGill, for example, conceded 73 off 81 balls to Sehwag but dismissed him three times.

Since February 2008, though, Sehwag's numbers against both pace and spin have plunged. Ben Hilfenhaus (3 for 64 in 117 balls) and Dale Steyn (3 for 49 in 91) have dismissed him most often, while James Anderson, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle have dismissed him twice each in these four countries.

Against spin, though, his stats are even more shocking, especially given that the matches in question have mostly been played in conditions that don't assist spinners. In 47 balls he has been dismissed five times by spinners, even though he has scored at more than seven an over against them. Here are his stats against some spinners: 1 for 13 off 19 balls against Graeme Swann; 1 for 30 off 16 balls against Nathan Lyon; I for 7 off three balls against Daniel Vettori; 1 for 4 from two balls off Jeetan Patel. (That tendency to dominate from the first ball was again on display against Patel in the recently concluded Bangalore Test, when he hit a six and a four, and was then bowled.)

It's also noticeable that his scoring rates against both spin and pace have gone up, even though his averages have dropped.

Sehwag against pace and spin in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA till Jan 31, 2008
Bowling type Runs Balls Dismissals Average Run rate
Pace 1106 1640 24 46.08 4.04
Spin 189 182 7 27.00 6.23
Sehwag against pace and spin in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA since Feb 1, 2008
Bowling type Runs Balls Dismissals Average Run rate
Pace 466 615 17 27.41 4.54
Spin 57 47 5 11.40 7.27

A common criticism of the latter-day Sehwag is to do with his tendency to attempt extravagant strokes early in his innings, especially in conditions that are favourable for seam bowling. Here's a look at his stats in the first 15 overs of an innings over those two time periods, in Tests in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa.

His average in the first 15 has dropped to 28.81 in these countries since February 2008; in the earlier period it was 35.67. His rate of scoring boundaries is a good indicator of his aggressive intent: though he has scored almost the same number of fours and sixes in the two periods, he faced 232 more deliveries in the first period. Thus, his frequency of scoring a boundary - a four or a six - has increased from one every 9.5 balls to one every 6.8. That has led to him taking more chances, and increased his frequency of dismissals as well.

Sehwag in the first 15 overs of an innings in Tests in Aus, Eng, NZ and SA
Period Runs Balls Dismissals Average Run rate 4s/ 6s
Till Jan 31, 2008 535 784 15 35.67 4.09 79/ 3
Since Feb 1, 2008 461 552 16 28.81 5.01 78/ 3

While none of this may be a factor over the home season - though both England and Australia have fast bowlers who could trouble him if the pitches have some pace and movement - it will again be one when India begin their next sequence of overseas tours in 2013-14.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by trueanalyst on (September 10, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

@maddison Did the MCG pitch suddenly turned into a batsman's graveyard when he got out for 195 @Kiwirocker Multan was the same ground where Pakistan was dismissed for 200 odd following on & The innings that spell doom for the Pakistani spin great Saqlain Mushtaq.

Posted by trueanalyst on (September 10, 2012, 3:13 GMT)

@SCC08 His average of 11.4 against the spinners in foreign conditions shows who is the destroyer. Sehwag is self destructing himself .He is averaging a reasonable 27 even in this lean period against the pacers.If you remove his performance against Newzealand his average improves.Pl don't comment for the sake of commenting

Posted by trueanalyst on (September 10, 2012, 3:05 GMT)

@hotwife Sehwag scored his first century on debut against SouthAfrica. These are his centuries:105 against SA,106 against England in Nottingham,180 against Westindies and 2 centuries against Australia

Posted by g.narsimha on (September 9, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

KIWIROCKER - when did JAVED MIANDAD played a memorable inning out side sub continent he was pathetic in AUS - AVE 38, IN WI-33 , ENG -46 , i have checked the atats in stat guru but nothing of substance out side, yaa if u r referering his last ball six off an unknown inexpereanced, rooky bowler off a rank full toss ball in u r fotress than ok ,

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (September 9, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

Sehwag like all players who rely on hand eye coordination more than technique will have more problems than the classical tendulkar/dravid batsmen when out of form ... but the only way he will get into form is to do what he does best which is to swat anything within his range ... y would anyone want him to change who he is .. i wouldnt

Posted by just_chill_chill on (September 8, 2012, 23:03 GMT)

@Praveen Shavindra Muthuthanthri - You seem to have forgotten the beating you received when he toured SL last time around. Beat up your fast bowlers, spinners, and everyone else on all kinds of pitches.

Posted by Anand1268 on (September 8, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

Sehwag is doing a big damage for the opponent in the frontline and the opposite team feels that. He is a great striker of the ball and coming in the middle we will too dangerous as well for the opposite side

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (September 8, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Completely agree with @satchander - Drop Sehwag and blood a new opener....Time we had openers who can play the new ball out and put century stands consistently....am really sick of Seeing Sehwag get out in one day fashion all the time...he was awesome to watch until few years back from when he has just not scored consistently enough to deserve a place in the Test side..

Posted by   on (September 8, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

cm'n guyz dont be so critical abt sehwag... remember players like him come only once in a while.... his almst 3 triple hundreds cannt be fluke.....'

blooding a new youngster is okay bt i guess we would be sacrificing all those test wins which we get thanx to a viru blast....

he prbly needs to pick n choose deliveries which i am sure he would do....

i dnt remember too many batsmen with 3 triple hundreds(almst) n making a side win the match with ease....

thatz spcl quality of this man.... players like these have their days n can score big runs bt look pathetic on odrs....

jst enjoy his class n i am sure he will find his form back....

Posted by DaGameChanger on (September 8, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

@KiwiRocker..I agree Sehwag is non-performer but million times better than Afridi and Umark Akmal combined. . Rajesh should analysis about them..oh I forgot.its not even worth mentioning it. Compare to NFL, his role is of Gunner. Fast and Furious and do all the psyche damage you can. Looks like you forgot what he did to Umar Gul in Semi-Final 2011.

Posted by rajpan on (September 8, 2012, 15:53 GMT)

Statisticians and Analysts can go on doing their jobs and keep on arriving at conclusions of their own. Who cares? Sehwag never did. Nor do the fans. He never claimed anything and Fans enjoy the way he bats. Obviously, if India gets a younger candidate who has better technique and hence is more reliable, Sehwag will have to vacate the opening spot. He may still get some chances in the middle order before he finally bows out. Till such time just enjoy when he gets going and get frustrated when he fails !! As simple as that.

Posted by enigma77543 on (September 8, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Excellent article, hats off. I wish Sehwag would read this article or hopefully somebody points it out to him, & more importantly, hopefully he will try to mould his game accordingly.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

Stop this numbers How many aus nz sa england batsmen are having better numbers in away conditions for them!!!!! They will struggle against spin we wil struggle against pace!!!!Thats it!!!!Keep in mind there will be no perfect batsmen in cricket!!!! Dekho sachin reee missing straight balls tooo!!!!! Its easy to analyse but not easy to perform!!!!

Posted by pulkit10 on (September 8, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

@KiwiRocker: "This fine unbiased analysis by Rajesh confirms that Sehwag is a mere flat track bulley." Yes, the same article that mentioned that up until 3-4 years ago, he was averaging a decent 46 in pace friendly conditions? You've lost me here. Judging by your recent posts, accusing players of being "bullys" is some sort of a hobby for you so I'm not going to waste more time on your post and see it for what it is - an opinion with no weight behind it.

As for Sehwag, not sure why the drastic drop in his recent averages. Sure, he might do great in the next two series but the team staff will have to figure out what's troubling him overseas (oddly, except for England, he seemed okay with pace so I'm suspecting it is not the hand-eye co-ordination). If it is indeed his attacking instincts, then maybe they need to calm him a bit since he's literally one of the most senior players in the team now.

Posted by mattblacknaki on (September 8, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Exceptional article and analysis. Someone like Sachin should probably sit down with Sehwag and discuss these stats.

Viru is so confident in his game that he has lost sight of the real situation - that he is attacking too much, too often and too soon.

This article can help him undrestnad that he has go back to the game from 2009-10. I am sure he will score a couple more tripple hundreds if he can get back his old game!

Posted by   on (September 8, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

Prove of him being a flat track bully

Posted by maddinson on (September 8, 2012, 1:53 GMT)

@din7, well said mate. I don't remember him scoring much runs without giving atleast 1-2 chances upto reaching around 30 runs. His record even in subcontinent in 3rd and 4th innings is even better indicator that his performance depend as long as the pitch is absolute belter to bat on.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (September 8, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

As far as writing pieces are concerned, no one beats S.Rajesh as he only talks numbers.This fine unbiased analysis by Rajesh confirms that Sehwag is a mere flat track bulley. A flawed batsman with a flawed technique who has only survived in world cricket because India played too many test matches in India. Yes, indeed he has scored an odd hundred here and there against a depleted Australian attack in Australia, but man is a sitting duck against quality fast bowlers and spinners outside Indian subcontinent.Sehwag scored two triples centuries: One was at home ground on a placid pitch and other one was against a deplated Pakistani bowling attack on a Multan graveyard! One should not read too much into those numbers. One more piece of information to note is that Sehwag averages a miserable 32 in fourth innings of a test match.Sehwag has yet to play innings like Dravid played overseas..Like Javed miandad did or like Sunil Gavaskar did. Sehwag is a non performer lke Tendulya when it matters!

Posted by satchander on (September 8, 2012, 1:03 GMT)

Just one inference from this article - Drop Sehwag and blood a new opener....Time we had openers who can play the new ball out and put century stands consistently....am really sick of Seeing Sehwag get out in one day fashion all the time...he was awesome to watch until few years back from when he has just not scored consistently enough to deserve a place in the Test side..

Posted by Alexk400 on (September 7, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

Sehwag should be moved no 5. It has to be done now in India.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

what an irony! recent performances seem to point in the direction that Sachin should play his natural game while Sehwag here, should shy away from his natural game to last longer on the pitch!

Posted by RAJA_06 on (September 7, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

No batsmen by chance can score triple tons...that too the only Indian. He missed the same 3rd time just by a whisker. Just make a note of his 195 in Aus.,

Posted by jasonpete on (September 7, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

Posted by  Suresh Iyer on (September 07 2012, 15:45 PM GMT), sehwag is opener and openers contribution always decides the outcome of a match mostly when they set up a big score.Sehwag is a good striker of a ball but he needs patience with new ball in swinging conditions.Regarding dhoni,his job s wicketkeeper then come batsmen who can contribute some at the lower order.Gilly is at different level who opens for odi cricket and technically sound and always backed up by lower order batting from Australia.first of all don't compare that great Australian team with any individual..Those 11 aus players are greats of that era.@SOHELGONG VIE JAMIEL, you meant sachin in the list? LOL.Even under ganguly with young sachin,dravid and laxman (leaving aside 3Bangladesh,3 Zimbabwe) India managed few test matches win away just like dhoni.India lost two series badly due to aged batting line up ( dravid,sachin ,laxman) and out of form openers( now also) along with captain and poor bowling performances.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

Excellent Analysis. I always love your articles as they are fact-based

Posted by din7 on (September 7, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

S rajesh there's no need for all this analysis.. sehwag is a flat track bully and nothin else (im indian). He will never be able to play in eng, aus & sa. In all centuries he scored (which are none) and even for 10 to 20 runs in seamer friendly conditions he has got more than 5 to 6 drops..even in India he hardly makes even 10 runs without a catch being dropped..it's as simple he's quite lucky and nothin else otherwise once the ball starts movin even a bit he gives nothin than an edge to slips.. Thats TRUTH for u and if some guys don't believe just watch his all innings none of them are chanceless. even he comes down the order the thing would be same...he will always depend on luck..

Posted by g.narsimha on (September 7, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

SOHELGONG VIE JAMIEL- U SOUND NO DEFERENT FROM INDIA bashers , can u enlighten me which team from our region in particular & others in general are tigers at ABROAD baring those 2 bad tours ours was the best at away during the last decade before posting demeaning coments on our own team u should have checked the stats on this web& come up which team is tiger from this region, more over by comparing SACHIN WITH RAINA & OTHERS at same analogy u have insulted a legend

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Nice Analysis Rajesh. You got this spot on. Kudos!! As a cricket enthusiast let me provide you with some food for thought - maybe this could be your next article. Pls. check Dhoni's test average when he comes in to bat with India's score being less than 200 and when he does so when India are comfortably placed at >250/300. I am sure you will find a high variance. Compare the same numbers for Gilchrist and you will see why Gilly is such a great test bat and Dhoni at best an average player. Bottom line - Dhoni's hasn't performed when team India needs him the most in test cricket. His brilliant ODI performances have successfully camouflaged his ordinary test credentials. Most of his hundred in test cricket have come when India have been comfortably placed and opposition deploys a defensive field.

Posted by bigdhonifan on (September 7, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

@ SCC08 He averages 36 in Austalia, England and SouthAfrica with a high score of 195 and 4 centuries. Much more than your premier batsman did in India

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 15:32 GMT)

i am a srilankan team supporter.Bt I love sehwag very much because of the way he bat.look ,since 2008 he average 22 in those called bowler friendly conditions.bt he still has an outstanding strike rate of nearly 80.I dare say nobody would match his strike in those conditions.He never changed his intend.bt I wish to see him converting those starts to bigger one.that will atleast take the victory away from the opposition.

Posted by cricket-india on (September 7, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

@ Chetan - sehwag in the middle order may be happy but he needs to replace sachin there; no more quick 40s. Such quick 40s at the top mean even if he then gets out, the scorecard reads 60/1. Not bad for a number 3 batsman to build on. but in the middle order, a quick 40 needs to be built on, like sachin does (did?). if sehwag scores 40 and gets out at number 4 or 5, the lower order is exposed earlier than we would like. i'd rather have sehwag stay at the top, give us a respectable (if not fantastic) start and see the shine off the new ball. with due respect to rahane's domestic record and obvious class, he needs to wait for his chance.

Posted by test_cricket_is_real_cricket on (September 7, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

one thing dhoni could think of is try pushing sehwag down to no. 6... and tendulkar to no. 5... there are numerous advantages to this: 1. rahane could be tried with gambhir (if Gambhir HAS TO BE PERSISTED with); 2. guys like kohli who are in good form can move to no. 4 and get used to the position he will have to bat in the future.... ;3. with a top order in good form, it will take some of the pressure off tendulkar who will not have to come in and face the new ball everytime at 20/2 ...; 4. if quick wickets fall, india's most experienced duo will still be there to come...5. with sehwag and dhoni together, a score like 350/5 could become 600/5 in a matter of 20 overs... and of course :6. RAINA WILL BE DROPPED!!

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

@ Southpaw: "Rajesh: Would you dare to do a similar analysis on SRT?"

What is the fascination amongst those not from the subcontinent to constantly pick a good players from India, Pak and SL?

Im English by the way.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

Iv been watching Cricket for 20 years now and there no other Cricketeer I look more forward to watching. Im often dissappointed mind, but I'll take that for the look of utter bewilderment on oppositions when he punches his first ball for 4. Makes me laugh everytime.

We all talk about the slow demise of Test cricket (true or untrue and who is responsible ie; orgainsations such as SKY! is a debate for another day), but trust with the Viru's of the world gracing our screens it will live forever.

Just a couple of side notes: when Murali retired I read a really nice article and Viru made a load of comments throughout, have a read if you can find it, he really does come across as a legend.

Ok enough of the man love.. back to work.

Posted by SamRoy on (September 7, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

In my 22 years of following cricket, I have not seen anyone with such timing, power and placement. Yes, Gilchrist comes close but doesn't have the placement of Sehwag. But, the sad thing is, in the last couple of years he has lost the most important aspect required to play well in tests --- patience.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Maybe, the best thing to do to Indian Cricket would be - replace Sachin with Rahane & grant Sehwag his wish. Batting line-up would read - Gambhir, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Raina / Yuvaraj, Sehwag, Dhoni, Irfan, Ashwin, 2 of Ojha / Umesh / Zaheer.

Posted by DMcric on (September 7, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

I agree, many a times Sehwag throws his wicket in a careless and cavalier fashion. However, isn't it also evident that his kind of explosive batting is probably one of the pillar that provided Indian test team success over the last decade? I also want to point out - even after careless batting (or whatever you want to term it), Sehwag still managed a couple of half centuries in Australia that likes of Dhoni or Raina could never (or will never) do, even when they are watchful. So, I can't imagine why none of the cricket pandits and the editors of cricinfo come up with an analysis to reveal Dhoni - Strong bottom hand batting that can't be effective on a pitch where ball does not rise above knee hight, clueless field placing in tests, bringing him to bowl first over after lunch on the first day of Lords test (and we all know luck cant win you test matches), insisting on Raina in tests ahead of likes of Rehane, Badri and Tiwari etc. Why these issues are not discussed/analyzed/scrutinized?

Posted by premnauth on (September 7, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Might be a good move to have him bat down the order in the absence of laxman and that could drive fear in any bowler knowing sehwag is yet to come

Posted by CRKS on (September 7, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

nice analysis his earlier centuries in Aus, SA and Eng scored at 4.09 runs per over ..he was bit more patient( before 2008).

Posted by TRAM on (September 7, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

1. Very good analysis. Thanks Rajesh. Please post similar stats for all batsmen who played some 25 innings or more. 2. If Sehwag openly says he wants to play middle order, that means he knows his reflexes have come down. Apart from (a) opponents figuring how to bowl to him and (b) his own reckless shot selections, (c) his reflex has got to be the reason too - which has added to his recent failures abroad. My point is at least for the TEST cricket where we dont need anyone to blast at the top, Sehwag should be moved down. Fill the opener void with Mukund (a solid backfoot player who did survive in the abroad matches) or Rahane (if he feels comfortable as opener) both are good batsman. MVijay is good too (he had good partnerships with Sehwag in tests when he started his career) but I think he has been spoiled by T20 success. Again, I am only talking about Test cricket.

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (September 7, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Good Analysis Rajesh (as always). There are two take aways here for Sehwag: 1. He needs to respect spinners little more to score more and hence to improve his Avg. 2. To Achive 1st point, He needs to be at crease patiantly until spinner comes into attack :)

Posted by Meety on (September 7, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

@Emancipator007 - I have no doubts a big score is around the corner, but unless he changes his ways, they will be fewer & further between. Nobody is really denying his talent or record, but atm, his resolve is on the line. I don't think he has the eye anymore to deliver away from India as an opener. He COULD slot down the order, I think his spin bowling is underated & he could almost become a spin-bowling allrounder. The other concern I have, is he does not appear to be physically fit, which could be another reaon for his decline abroad. Sehwag is still a major threat in India, but I fear his best days are well & truely behind him. The S/R of the recent period referred to in this article clearly shows he is not prepared atm to battle it out. If he wants to bat down the order, India need to consider this.

Posted by Venkatb on (September 7, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

Lack of application may be the key here - any batsman with a technical shortcoming should compensate with the right shot selection. In most recent Test matches, India has lost within 4 days so Sehwag should understand and have a goal that he should dig in and stay put for at least one session. Sehwag also needs to look back at some past players such as Gordon Greenidge and Barry Richards - in his younger days, the former was a marauding quick scorer but dropped anchor to support his team's needs - he reserved quick scoring for rare occasions such as the 200+ in a 9 wicket win against England. Barry Richards had a simpler mantra and has quoted accordingly - for the first 30 minutes or so, deploy only a straight bat and shots only between mid-on and mid-off. Once he got settled, he could then score at a strike rate of 150+ not by scoring 4s and 6s but by intelligent placement.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (September 7, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

@CricketMaan.Absolutely. U also forgetting that blazing magum 195 (the most attacking Test innings in OZ in this century) in less than a day at Melbourne'03,one of the most criminally wasted Test innings in history cos of Indian bowling not delivering a victory.He scored 400 plus runs on 1st tour of OZ and was responsible for middle order doing so well on '03 tour.He gave the impact scores in Perth victory'08. He has done enuf away in early career to be termed an all-time great. Prob is with advent of online feedback on cricket forums in recent decades, too much emphasis is being given on scores/records made in OZ,Eng,SA and totally disregarding runs made in Pak,SL (where Viru has been a champion no less).Another amazing fact is that RARELY do the best bowlers (pace of spin) get him OUT, it is he himself who gets out. He also blasted a superb 155 in Chennai'03 against OZ. Viru is an all-time great and I have been saying a 200 plus (or 300) is around the corner.

Posted by nyc_missile on (September 7, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

Nice analysis.Also Dhoni has mishandled Sehwag big time.Even now,its not too late to drop him down the order in what looks like his last stage of career.As opener he's been wasted.Agreed he sets up a chase and provides momentum generally but adds little value as its too little and short lived.His fast game is much more suited to middle order where he can shield a youngster also.These days teams score 3.5-4 per over anyway so stability is the need of hour and with Sehwag at the top,you hardly get it.Time for a new opener(Rahane?) along with Gambhir..

Posted by CricketMaan on (September 7, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

@hotwife - 105 at Blemfontein against SA that included Polly, Hayward, Ntini,Kallis,Klusner and not a flat track, 106 in his first test as opener against England at Nottingham (swinging conditions) that included Hoggard, Cork, Harmison,Flintoff. the other two centurions being Vaughan and Dravid, 180 vs Windies at Bros Islet though was not a great attack, And a few more in Pak and Srilanka which you don't consider as only 100s in Eng,SA,Aus,NZ against pace are considered holy!!!! rest against quality world class spin does not count. aint it?

Posted by Cluedin on (September 7, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

It may be a good idea to see how Sehwag had got out between both the periods, bowled, caught, LBW etc. Also in the Caught column which part of the field he was caught at. I suspect, it may be at Third Man. That would also give an insight into the kind of strokes he may wish to keep out during the early part of his innings till he gets a feel of the wicket and the ground.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

Sehwag...He is the person who bought life into Test cricket.He with his amazing strike rate have India to win matches unlike before where they were always playing for a draw. Now that he is out of form...But it is notable that he scores a quick fire 40 odd runs before he gets out, throwing away the rhythm of the opposition bowling option.Lets the the next batsman to play in.. Now they want his blood...Give him his space..He is too good for others to dominate him. His next triple is somewhere around the corner..

Posted by Selassie-I on (September 7, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

IMO the job of a test opener is to see off the new ball, then look to bat all day. Of course there is some need in the sub continent to score off the ball before it softens but I would much rather have a batman in than out at the beginning of play, just my opinion. As mentioned he has asked to get moved down to the middle order, I think this would be a good time to get Rahane into the team to open and let him have his wish, surely he has earned it?

Posted by passion_for_crick on (September 7, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

I think off all that stats, the one that Sehwag should easily correct and one that shouldn't be there is his performance against spinners. Some of these spinners are not 1/10 as good as their faster bowlers counterpart. If Sehwag plays to his ability he should be averaging more than 50 against these spinners.

Rest of the statistics is outstanding, even with the off late dip against pacers abroad, because if you compare with other Indian Batsmen all have similar records as the Indian were seriously challenged with their no 1 ranking off late.

Posted by rajat_magic on (September 7, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

I think the big change in attitude occurred in the Chennai test against South Africa, in which he scored an amazing 300-odd at more than a run a ball. It was March 2008 I think, which would fit with the timing S Rajesh has used for this article. I think he took away from that innings that he could bat at that sort of pace against top opposition and still score big, and he perhaps started under-rating patience and defence as a result.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (September 7, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

2. He is a CLEAR ONE-OFF raging talent in Test cricket as none among Haydos,Jaya,Dilshan,Gayle could maintain the same sustained assault from ball one over so many 150 + scores.Viv Richards had clearly fallen away during the latter half of his career & was also not scoring too many runs away but his legacy as a middle-order (as against what Viru does as an opener) marauder is intact. One cannot write away the first half of Viru's great record away & now just call him a sub continental bully. Even now he seizes initiative with his pulverizing attack on Gul in World Cup semis,rapid score in that record OZ tri-series chase (which Kohli won).His ODI record is awesome too with that blinding SR as a 35 plus score (his av) gives early momentum (much like Gilly,Jaya with similar avgs did) to ODI innings. Prob is he has never bothered about legacy, records & like.He had the potential to be fastest to 10,000 Test runs &would be the most unorthodox player of that list if he gets there.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (September 7, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

1.Off late,there seems to be concerted efforts to discredit Sehwag's IMMENSE Test achievements, with folks forgetting he is a CONVERTED opener.His only intent is to seize winning momentum & initiative for his team.No doubt,he has become impatient off late,but u can't have 14 150+ scores and be termed overrated.It is not EASY to blast pacers like Akthar,Sami,Asif,Steyn,Morke,Ntini even on so-called flat decks (which he did while hitting 300s against these attacks). Another factor is how well Ganguly &Kumble managed him vs the undermining of confidence by Dhoni ("comments about slow seniors).Viru plays best when having an uncluttered mind. Note before OZ tour, he blasted 219 in an ODI despite supposedly being out of form & then hit 67 in 1st Innings of Melbourne before falling away.To play such a high-risk game, ENTERTAIN and still maintain that Av is no joke. Fact is, he has under-achieved & with a tad more patience and Dravid's cussed mindset would have had an av nearing 60.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

make same analysis on raina, utthapa, yuvraj, sachin and you will realise they dont deserve a single 1st team match. sehwag is far better than them. instead of fingering sehwag people should voice more on stalemate players like others who are in the team bcos of name or bcos of links with CSK. well under dhoni we all know we are tiger in india and a cat in abroad

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

I think Shewag should read this article if he already does not know this. It is very clear from this that Sehwag is trying to bat with a higher stricke rate, playing shots which he himself didnt use to play. May be he is trying to one up himself. Good players always try to set higher standards and keep taking it up. In most other cases players try to set standards on consistency but in Sehwag's case it looks he has set his standards on a much more fundamental thing and that is to be able to score on more balls, to reduce the number of dot balls. Unfortunatly this doesnt seem to work for him. Contrary to popular belief i think Sehwag's shot selection is top class when he is playing well. But more often now a days his shot selection is betraying him. His cuts are still fearful, his drives still mesmerizing, he still has the swagger and the ability to play long innings (wrt ODI 200). All he needs to do is a little tightening up in the mind.

Posted by SundarSP on (September 7, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

@crikcinfo: "1 for 4 from two balls off Jeetan Patel" - This was in NewZealand... "when he hit a six and a four, and was then bowled" - This was in the recent concluded Test in India.... Read it properly dude....

Posted by dhiraj_korada on (September 7, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

Excellent analysis Hope sehwag or atleast thecoach sees this. But the problem is that sehwag won't listen to anyone

Posted by Meety on (September 7, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

I have been saying this for a while about Sehwag, the problem with him is that he has gone the opposite way to Tendulkar. Sachin realised 6 or 7 years ago, that he can't dominate attacks like he did in the 90s & early 2000s. Sachin as a result, has tended to grind out that first 50, & slowly build momentum afterwards. Age is now stopping Sachin convert his 100s like he used to, Sehwag does not have the patience to do what Sachin did. The sad thing is, despite the fireworks he displays, once upon a time, Sehwag was defensively a VERY correct technician. His defensive shots were almost as if Sachin had been cloned, it was near perfect. I have wondered often whether Sehwags confidence in his staying power against good bowling is lower than what the average fan thinks & he "goes the tonk" in a bid to maximise a SHORT stay? Sehwag very much relays on a great eye when he plays his strokes, that is something that diminishes with age. Opening is unforgiving on batsmen not prepared to grind.

Posted by Stone-Aamir on (September 7, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

I think in the last 10 years test openers generally became more aggressive, they try to dominate the bowling rather than waiting for a bad delivery. It can also be attributed to more batting friendly surfaces even in Aus - Eng - WI. Rajesh should try to analyze the scoring trends of the test openers in the last years or so. Sehwag is nearing the end and it makes him more impatient to score as mush as he can and causing him for getting out more cheaply to spinners.

Posted by SCC08 on (September 7, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

Overated player.. He can bat on "highway" Indian batting strips but useless abroad! Would be interested if you move NZ from those stats and just include SA / Eng /Aus..

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Excellent analysis. It shows he just needs to lose his impatience and slow down a bit to be scoring big ones again. Hope Sehwag reads this and improves.

Posted by brija on (September 7, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

I an a diehard sehwag fan and what you have mentioned is quite true.I am worried that lot of people want him to be dropped from all formats and bring in players like rehane and rohit sharma.Even dhoni is not too keen to have him in the side. I have been following cricket since 1949 and no cricketer has given as much joy as virender sehwag.i am a big fan of kapil pajee as well. Well batsmen should not be judged by their averages only but the strike rates as well.even today his test average is around 50 but his strike at more than 81 is the highest in the world.Viv richards and boitham say that they will pay to watch sehwag play.that is the kind of magnetism that this man has.sehwag scores very quickly that too of good balls.in the world cup odi semi final against pakistan,he deciminated umar gul -the best bowler till then scoring some 38 runs in 23 balls and setting the pace for india's win. i suffered from high b p in my earlier part of my life as i could watch only gavasker cant cont

Posted by crikcinfo on (September 7, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

"1 for 4 from two balls off Jeetan Patel", "when he hit a six and a four, and was then bowled" 6+4=10 in the school i studied. Time to change syllabus?? :)

Posted by vamsy517 on (September 7, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

An excellent analysis of Sehwag's run at the top. I personally feel he has lost patience during the start of the innings. It is evident by the strike rates that he no longer feels need to stay in the middle for longer times. Going by the current theory I don't see light at the end of the tunnel(at least for Sehwag as an opener)

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

Sehwag has passed his prime and I think Indian selectors should start hunt for new opener who has sound technique and can score runs at brisk pace as well. There is no doubt that it was purely Sehwag quick scoring that made India rise to no1 but thats also a fact that Sehwag is no longer a force to reckon. I would place my bet for the opener slot for Rahane or Rohit. Both have sound technique and can score runs at good pace.

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

pssssh. It's the IPL effect. Psssh. Don't tell Ravi Shastri or his fellow IPL fanatics.

Posted by Alexk400 on (September 7, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

People expect him as super human. He is just human just like mike tyson was many ups ..more lows

Posted by TheOrestes on (September 7, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

The biggest advantage sehwag brings at top of the order is making game exciting at the same time making opponent bowlers go to defensive. With Sehwag though, you always have a chance, that makes game interesting, on the other hand, if sehwag stays for 15-20 odd overs, you know bowlers have taken significant amount of beating, score is at an avg o of 4-6 per over & defensive mindset starts to creep in. That said, one should not ignore Rahane for a long period of time. Chap has proved it & deserves a place in the side.

Posted by criclogics on (September 7, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Good work there, Rajesh. Hope Sehwag and the team management reads this. Even if his will to dominate and higher scoring rate are not the only factor, your work definitely points to that being a major factor. One can get caught in ones own image and that seems to be the case with Sehwag.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (September 7, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

When he came in the bowlers did not know how to bowl to him. He used to hammer them even before they could settle down.So most of them felt foolish and intimidated.His scoring only went faster and faster. The opposition gradually got to devising ways to stop them because they had a player who had scored two triple hundreds and many doubles and singles.Then they started bowling to a plan and his performances became less spectacular. He will need to firstly,revisit his defence technique of either foot and become comfortable with it. Then he should slow down the pace of his ambition as much as his stroke play and start respecting opposing bowlers and Captains. The runs will come back then. The thing that people should notice is that when he hits the ball well the fielders hardly get to move.That means when he plays a stroke well he gets through the field without a whimper. That is what class is all about. So for me if he starts defending well he has another 5 years of good cricket in him.

Posted by SouthPaw on (September 7, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

@Rajesh: Would you dare to do a similar analysis on SRT?

Posted by   on (September 7, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Sehwag's fitness goes hand in hand with his play. If he is not as fit, he doesnt work hard for his runs like take ones and twos. The only option remains is to blast out fours and sixes. One cannot hit 100 fours in an innings but can take 100 runs in singles and twos. He needs to bide his time in first 15 overs... Improve his fitness and then all those 150 plus scores will flow again

Posted by hotwife on (September 7, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

With regard to Sehwags record in Aus, SA, Eng & NZ, it would probably be pertinent to check , in the games Sehwag scored centuries in, the total scores. I'd be surprised if a good few of them were on really flat tracks. For eg, I recall Adelaide around 08, there were some pretty tall scores posted in that game. In fact, how many centuries has he scored outside India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka? Of the 10 away centuries I see above, I can only recall two against Australia in Australia.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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