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The limited-overs batsman who revolutionised Test cricket

Sehwag's ability to use skills seemingly made for ODIs in the long game, and his instinct and fearlessness make him one of cricket's most compelling sights

John Wright

November 22, 2012

Comments: 72 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag cuts, England v India, first Test, Lord's, London, 26 July 2002
The great gamble of 2002: Sehwag gets off to a flier in his first innings as a Test opener, at Lord's © Getty Images
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Less than a year ago, I woke up on the morning of the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Hobart with the news that Viru had become only the second man to a double-hundred in ODIs.

My first thought was, "About time."

To me, Virender Sehwag has been the most exciting player I've watched, bar none. Yes, I know I belong to the generation that played against Viv, but having seen more of Viru than Viv, that's where I come from.

With Viru, you never know what's going to happen. Sometimes his batting doesn't work, sometimes it can be frustrating. When it works, though, he shakes up a game and turns it on its head. In Hobart that day, I thought that had Viru batted in ODI cricket the way he did in Tests, he could have got five double-hundreds. Or more.

But it is in Test cricket that Viru has shown us his genius. He has revolutionised Test batting, changed the way people look at openers, and made such an impact on the game that the rafters shake when he gets going.

Viru's 99 Tests, like his batting, seem to have gone by at top speed. A hundred Tests is a telling number, but then so are two triple-centuries, a strike rate of above 80 in Tests, 8400 Test runs, and the aforementioned double-hundred (off 149 balls).

It is always hard to judge a player in his first Test, but by the time Viru had played about a dozen, I did think that he had it in him to become something. For his first 30-odd Tests, I worked with Viru as his coach and it was a sheer delight to see him grow.

He came into the team in the guise of this middle-order batsman who had grown up on Indian wickets who could smash it everywhere. In about two years and a bit, he became a world-class Test opener with powers feared by all opposition. Over the rest of his career, he has become one of the greatest openers in the history of the game. People don't normally ever do that - go from being a middle-order batsman in India to opening in Test match cricket and producing outstanding performances all over the world.

What Viru was able to do was play tricks on cricket's very framework. If middle-order batsmen are asked to open the innings, they go into existential dilemmas, modify their game, work on technique. Many fail, a few cope. You will have heard all those stories.

Viru was different; he had no such crisis. He opened in Tests the way he had batted in the middle order - still smashing it. He didn't redefine his game because of his batting position. He redefined the position with his batting. I do not use the word genius casually.

I first met Viru in 2000, when he joined the squad to play the one-dayers against Zimbabwe, my first full series as coach of India. He looked a lovely kid - shy, with a mischievous smile, still innocent and wide-eyed, like many of the young Indians coming into the side.

Three months later, he made me sit up when he scored 58 against Australia in the Bangalore ODI. It was an innings of timing and confidence against bowlers like McGrath and Warne. We moved him into the opening slot in ODIs in a tri-series in Sri Lanka for two reasons: we had opening problems, and Viru kept getting out trying to slog the spinners in the middle overs. He nailed opening the batting beautifully - with it, he solved our problems and found he could play his game at its fullest. It should have been a different matter in Tests.

In Test matches he had a reasonable start as a No. 6, with a century on debut in South Africa and two fifties. We were struggling with Test openers and Sourav and I decided to gamble by sticking him in at the top of the order at Lord's, in only his sixth Test.

When we talked to him about the job, he didn't look like he was too worried about opening. He certainly didn't express it to me (and we had begun to speak very freely to each other by then). In his first innings as a Test opener, Viru was the team's top scorer, with 84. Then, when I saw him on a green wicket in Trent Bridge, in the second Test, I thought, "This guy is serious." He got a century and didn't look back.

Viru's coach in Delhi taught him to have a beautiful, straight backlift, so when he defends he is nicely straight and late. His attacking game wasn't too bad either. He could play so late and generate such bat speed that if you were a few inches off target on the off side, the ball was gone. Anything a bit straight was whipped through midwicket. He could also use the pace of the ball to score more effectively than most in the area between point and third man.

Early on, we widened his stance a little, and I used to encourage him to keep his head very still and not let it move sideways. When his head is perfectly still, like with any batsman, it allows him to play his late options and makes the most of his sublime balance. He is a great opener, though, because, along with everything else, he is fearless.

 
 
One of the things that I think helped him find his feet in cricket and stay grounded was that he accepted his fate. If he nicked something, he accepted it and wouldn't worry about it
 

Maybe he enjoys opening because he goes out to a clean slate. There are no wickets down, there's no responsibility like there would be coming in at six with four down. He goes in without any numbers and can do what he has said he does: see the ball, hit the ball. In a game filled with jargon and technique and dissection, it is like Viru knows why the great baseball catcher and manager Yogi Berra made total sense when he said: "How can you think and hit at the same time?"

Viru's instinct sweeps him away, and it is what makes him an attacking batsman. At a basic level, he must sense that instinct is swifter and more accurate than thought. Thought gets in the way. When batsmen are playing well, everyone goes by instinct, but Viru had that coupled with intrinsic fearlessness. It doesn't matter what the game situation is, who is bowling, what the wicket is doing. He sees the ball and he hits it - for four if he can.

As captain, batting partner or coach, it is best not to get in his way or try to complicate him. It would ruin Virender Sehwag. He is a natural in more ways than one.

He is one of the best balanced players I've seen. Plus, he catches like he is picking apples, and in those endless beep (fitness) tests we put the team through, he would turn on a dime. He was effortless at changing direction and caught everyone on the turn.

One of the other things that I think helped him find his feet in cricket and stay grounded was that he accepted his fate. If he nicked something, he accepted it and wouldn't worry about it. It was not that he didn't experience disappointment or didn't care, but he wasn't someone who beat himself up too much. What was over was over and he would start his next innings.

I don't know if that is what you call fatalism. Once, we flew into Melbourne in a storm and the plane was getting tossed around a little. He took one look at my face - I'm not the best of fliers - and started laughing. "What're you laughing at?" I asked him, and he said, "Relax, John, if the plane goes down, it goes down. There's nothing we can do about it." It didn't make me a better flier but it told me a little more about Viru.

The only thing that frustrated me, and that had me get stuck into him, was that for the team's sake, there were times when he needed to rein it in a little. But I knew that too much of that could ruin him. People talk about our little incident at The Oval, when I upbraided him. I made an example of Viru because I wanted the rest of the boys to understand that you have to adapt your play to the team's need to win the match.

We sorted that out later, and to his credit, he got over it and we remained mates. After we won the series in Pakistan in 2004, he insisted that I be part of the awards ceremony. I tended to avoid them because the limelight and celebration, I thought, belonged to the players. Viru had noticed this. After the victory he put his arm around my shoulder. "This time, John," he said, "you're coming with me", and dragged me down the stairs of the Rawalpindi dressing room to be with the team.

Viru is the only player I've watched who has pulled off a game suited for ODIs in Test cricket. If he had played ODIs like he played Test matches, he would have had much more success. In ODI cricket, I think he tries to up the tempo when he doesn't need to; he has already pushed the envelope as far as it can go.

Today he is 34, a senior player, a father, and not the cheeky kid I first met, though his smile still seems to contain its old mischief. I would love to believe that he has a lot of good cricket left in him, but all batsmen know that when they get to around 35, they have to work doubly hard on their fitness. It's not going to get easier but he can keep going for as long as he loves the game and trusts his instincts.

On his 100th Test, I would like to say to him: very well played Viru and thanks for the entertainment. Remember, though, that what we talked about still stands - that it's not enough to have big scores; the great ones are those who get the big scores consistently.

John Wright coached India and New Zealand and played 82 Tests for the latter

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

A tribute to viru is right on but some of the credit is also deserved by the coach nd capatian. Viru bloomed under Ganguly and Wirght, as did Sanath and kalu under Ranatunga. The passion in their game comes from fearlessness, which in turn comes from the backing they get. Viru is getting through a bad patch partly also because of some negativity in the dressin room and his not-so-cordial relations with Dhoni. I believe he has it in him to find his way out and continue to entertain us the same explosive way we are used to...kudos Viru

Posted by Polkadey-mudalali on (November 22, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

I think sanath and kalu started a tradition and people like viru took it to the next level..no point in comparing sana and viru..they are legends who have different strengths...both can and have won matches single handed...Thing I like about viru is that he is a humble cricketer...if you build a team of explosive cricketers, sana, viru, gili will be fist three choices of any one...

Posted by St.John on (November 22, 2012, 20:28 GMT)

Hi John, I guess this is article is a tribute to Shewag and very rightly so. Still, I must say that Sanath Jayasuriya was the one who started the 'revolution' initially. Must give Sanath credit for that. If Jayasuriya was born in India imagine what an opening pair India would have had. Ditto for Sri Lanka....

Posted by KUL on (November 22, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

Great Entertainer-One thing I always admired about Sehwag is if he ie there any dam impossible is possible.But I always felt that as John rightly pointed you can never play same attacking game every time.It's not good for team if you get out on wrong ball on wrong time when situation demands you to be there then it hurts team.That's how his approach is fearless.Gr8 Player to watch when he gets going.

Posted by Jose on (November 22, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

@Jose: Even before Jayasuriya, it was Kris Srikkanth who started opening pyrotechnics for India, though he wasn't as successful as Sanath.

FYI, Sanath was not as successful in Tests as he was in ODIs. Moreover, his strike rate in Tests is also just little above the typical test batsman average S/R. Which means he failed to bring his explosive batting to test level.

Whatsoever, I have high regards for Sanath Jayasuriya for his adventurism and aggression.

Posted by Jose on (November 22, 2012, 19:29 GMT)

@ Herath-UK: Please read the article carefully, John was mentioning about the revolution Sehwag brought into Tests, not ODIs.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

@Herath - UK I think you ought to read the title of the article once again.

Posted by sumanta301 on (November 22, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

John has said the right thing. Not only you hav 2 judge a player by his failures but also u hav 2 see what d good thing he has made.. All great players had a bad phase in their career so u hav 2 be with them.. Well done viru. Keep it up

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

Its Sehwag's batting that has served a big role in india's victory in test matches in these 12 yrs.. we can clearly see he didn't fire in last 2 yrs and we see humiliating loses in england and australia.. this shows the importance of this man to indian cricket team.. hope he bats like ever and entertain us all until he pulls off his shoes.. all the best to sehwag for his 100th test..

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

Adam Gilchrist would like to accompany Viru I guess... I have watched Gilly come in at No.7 and have 100 partnerships with Warney and Lee to pile up a mammoth score to give their bowlers enough time and shatter the opponent... Not to mention his keeping.. I am an Indian, but I still say that it's Gilly and not Viru who has revolutionized Test Cricket... Viru, Test Opener, YES... But Gilly has to come first... I have watched only three batsmen who walk(ed) off the field not waiting for the umpire's decision when they know that they are out... TENDULKAR, LARA AND GILCHRIST... These three are the masters of the game and have earned the respect of everyone... I am a Hyderabadi and I have enjoyed Deccan Chargers winning IPL under Gilly's captaincy... But when he moved to KXIP and played in Hyderabad... People supported Gilly and not DC... Well, Gilly is one of the greatest crowd pullers of my time... So is Viru... But I would still go for Gilly... GILLY IS A LEGEND but VIRU still has time..

Posted by Legaleagle on (November 22, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

@ Jose Puliampatta: It was K. Srikanth who started pyrotechnics in one day cricket in the mid-late 80s. He definitely paved the way for the likes of Mark Greatbatch and others to start hitting the ball in the early overs. Jayasuriya and Kalu came in very late in the game but executed it to the max.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

I don't understand why people always try and look at the negatives, fair enough Indian players are really good in there own conditions and not the best travellers. But look at other countries England for one with the ball moving and seaming about we bat more freely, but then we play on turners and nobody really has a clue.

Sehwag is a brilliant cricketer, even his part time off spin is useful

Posted by AdityaUpadhyay on (November 22, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

Sehwag was one of the reasons I started watching test cricket along with Laxman & Dravid. It is very frustrating to see him underachieved as per his potential . 195 vs Aus,Melborne, 309 vs Pak,Multan,318 vs SA,201 vs SL,151 vs Aus, Adelaide a, the 2 scintillating hundreds in NZ's swinging bouncy pitches when all batsmen from both sides were failing . I mean the list is endless. How many cricketers in the game's history can boast of so many game changing innings at an 80 plus strike rate? Critics always label him as a flat track bully but all the above mentioned innings were played abroad against the best attacks. If a person has so much time to attack a 90 mph + ball then he can defend that ball too & he has a solid defense which is very underestimated aspect of his game. Really a genius who reads the game way ahead of others.

Posted by krik8crazy on (November 22, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

Viru has made test cricket fun to watch. As long as he is at the crease anything is possible. Whether he bats for an hour or a day, the runs keep flowing. His success proves the power of positive thinking and keeping faith in one's own abilities. So many experts found various faults with his batting style but he achieved great success against all odds and enthralled scores of fans with his thrilling batting. Yes, he has failed many times but it is a testament to the height of his success that he has a mighty fine record despite those failures.

John Wright did a great job of allowing Viru to fulfill his potential instead of succumbing to conventional wisdom and reigning him in.

Posted by ajaym55 on (November 22, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

A very well written article. I agree with the passion, reason and subjective opinion put forward by John Wright. I firmly believe that Sehwag very presence helped India even where he did not make a good score. A quick fire 30 off 20 balls gave Rahul Dravid the breathing space to settle down. The score card may show a century for Dravid and 30 odd for Sehwag out on a ambitious shot which "experts" said made him look "brainless" but still won the match for India. We need all the greats to establish India as a good team - Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Saurav are all there but Sehwag contributed big time, too.

Posted by PACERONE on (November 22, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

Trashing of fast bowlers by openers is not common.Sehwag,Gayle,Greenidge,Barry Richards,Hayden Jayasuriya and Roy Marshall were all openers who did not poke around.One would not fall asleep with them at the wicket and runs were been scored quickly.Frank Worrell once too took a young Gary Sobers out to open against the fearsome Australians Lindwall and Miller and Sobers proceeded to give them a hammering.It was said that he only got out because of "Youthful exuberance".Some of these batsmen mentioned played on uncovered pitches without all the protective body and head gear.

Posted by avik_straightbat on (November 22, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

I completely endorse each line ...of Mr Wright's article ......Viru has been a game changer by that i mean he changed the face of test match opening batting ....to see off the new ball is long gone.....warner's innings today is an after effect of what viru's done over the years :)

Posted by HITUE on (November 22, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Good article by John Wright . Sehwag is a real genius . He has brought lot of joy/entertainment to his numerous fans..Hope he continues to entertain us , in all formats of the game ..

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

@Anubhav Agrawal. Jayasuriya & Kalu started the opening pyrotechnics, even before Gilly & Hayden.

Posted by shadab732 on (November 22, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

@Gopalakrishnan Thyagarajan the 195 vs aus at melbourne was not against glenn mcgrath ....it was against the likes of gillespie,lee,williams and mcgill....but it was a great knock i agree with you

Posted by david44 on (November 22, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

very overrated batsman only successful on sub-cont dead tracks just like any other indian batsmen always uneasy to play any short ball just give him a barage of short balls/body shots and couple of yorkers and say good bye strong on leg specialy when ball keeps low

Posted by Herath-UK on (November 22, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

John was an Indian coach so no wonder his understanding is biased towards them.All unbiased pundits hail Jayasuriya as the crickerter who revolutionised the one day game without a question.Sorry John though good attempt! Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 22, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Different people have different opinions. People talk about different challenges. You have seen the ball swinging in New Zealand and England and bouncing in Australia. South Africa has different kind of wickets. May be that's the reason they don't want the ball to turn

Posted by thegoodgame on (November 22, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

Looking at some of the the comments, I just want to add that while there have been swashbuckling players like Jayasurya - they were very attacking and aggressive in the one dayers. The author is making a point of similar aggressiveness in test matches, which I have to agree Viru has pioneered.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (November 22, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

@stormy16 I am sorry to say that Jayausriya was never a great test batsmen, he was a great ODI batsmen, his test statistics proves that. He had some success in test too, but only vs SC teams. However he never had a answer vs good bowling attacks at home as well as in foreign soils. He had only 3 centuries outside SC, out of that one was vs Zimbabwe. While Sehwag is a great test batsmen and an entertainer. He has great success vs all teams, outside SC, his average is low vs NZ and Saf, but it may be due to the low sample size, if he would have played more number of matches it would have been good. In England too he has played less number of matches, and after injury in IPL 2011, he was still rush in England to play 2 test matches which he failed other wise he has good succes record. So you Claims about Jaysuriya in test cricket proves wrong. It Sehwag and Hayden who started batting fast as opener in test cricket, but latter had low strike rate compare to Sehwag(82).

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Doesn't seem like Mr. Wright was in the right mind or probably have never followed test cricket of the rest of the world. Currently, Micheal Clark is the best at shifting gears and the true one to revolutionise the game. Sehwag cant come anywhere near the likes of Sangakkara, Jawardane, Clark, Hayden, who can take the game away in a space of 10 overs with entertaining stroke plays even in test matches. He can be compared to Tamim, and they are similar in the way they express their aggression with the bat and the manner of getting out. Yet Tamim is a notch above considering the team he plays for and his age since he is able to steer the team to a good start most of the time and the only one to score back to back centuries in England in the last couple of years. Tamim takes more responsible than Sehwag who only knows to hit and go.Sehwag is good to watch as long as he is there. The moment he is out you would stare blankly and ask why after having settled himself

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

What an awesome article!! The 300 in multan and the 195 against australia were breathtaking to say the least!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

@777aditya ..Thats why I mentioned Sachin might be the best if not the best :)

Posted by Vkarthik on (November 22, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

Qamar, writer was coach of India. He saw him upclose. How many opener in world has a Test strike rate of 82 and batting average of 50. None. Nobody is even close. Usually openers are boring batsmen with very exceptions. Even they didn't play like Viru. Ofcourse he revolutionized the game big time.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

What an article from John Wright. I always belived he is the best coach India ever had. And turns out he is a very good writer too! And so nice to have a tribute from a great coach to a great cricketer. I have been an ardent fan of Sehwag since his first ODI outburst against Australia and one of those who strongly believe Sehwag, though not the God, is the man who is the greatest entertainer of the modern era. It is infact Sehwag who made me sit and watch test matches, I owe a lot of my love for test cricket to this man.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

I know that Hayden and Gilchrist started doing the same thing much earlier, but Sehwag might be the fast one without any technique as such to succeed in the best format of cricket and had great success in overseas tours too. In that way we as a country are lucky to have him in our team....

Posted by stormy16 on (November 22, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Apparently neither Wright nor many of you have heard of a test opener called Jayasuriya, presumably because of the thrashings he handed your teams. He was the original opener who took opening in test cricket to a new level and he too wasnt thought how to open - he was a bowler, who ended up making a test triple hundred as an opener. Taking nothing away from Sewag though who I think took that to a new level. I know alot of Indians dont like the way Sewag apparently throws his wicket but that is "just the way he plays". If he played carefully - well it wouldnt be Sewag would it now. One's just to admire that despite Sewag's apparently recklessness, the success he has had.

Posted by 777aditya on (November 22, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

@ Dayem Khwaja - the best player to ever play cricket is Jacques Kallis (period)!

Posted by mikeyiconoclast on (November 22, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

The cricket pundits or masses obsessed with numbers may never realize the genius of sehwag.I remember ian chappel commenting in world cup semi final when umar akmal taking half measures trying to play one shot and changing his mind at the last minute ended up bolwed "Thats stupid,that's not the way to play.Sehwag is such a successful player because he plays with an uncluttered mind".Imran khan is in awe of sehwag with the way he bats unconventionally and once said despite sehwag in lack of from any day he would have sehwag in his team because he is a match winner.See the ball hit the ball is the most simplest thing in thought but the most toughest to put it practise.Its easy to emulate sachin,dravid or grafting dhoni but its near impossible to be another sehwag for he is born with such talent and more importantly attitude.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Thank you for entertainment viru ............u r the master of entertainer of all format of cricket

Posted by DrSunilSharma on (November 22, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Congratulations Sir Virender Sehvag who is famous for being a real attacking star test batsman opening with G Gambhir for entertaining all cricket lovers for breaking the backbone of the Test Cricket by playing it like one day 50 -50 match. I am sure that all test cricketing opening star starting from Legendary rock steady Geoff Boycott, best technical wizard opener Sunil Manohar Gaveskar - who played West Indian Pace Quartlet spear headed by Malcolm Marshall, Australian Terror Lily and Thomson are very notable. However, if you consider opening pairs we get CJ B Hobbs & H Sutcliffe, L Hutton & C Washbrook, R B Simpson & W M Lawry, J L Langer & M L Hayden, H H Gibbs & G C Smith, C P S Chauhan & S M Gaveskar, G Greenidge & D L Haynes as a successful pairs will line up greeting star ballistic batsman Virender Sehvag, Air Magician Adam Gilchrist and Butcher M L Haydon.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

i'll talk of myself....i was not liking test cricket,until two phenomenons happened which were for the betterment of indian cricket- (1)epic 2001 kolkata test, (2)virender sehwag's outrageous 309 in multan.

i mean how can a guy who got out on 195 a month ago..was trying to loft a guy like saqlain mushtaq out of the park when reaching 300....amazing...only a freak or a genius can do that...its good that he's both!!!!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

He is good player without any argument but he did not certainly "revolutionized" test cricket. I don't agree with the statement that writer is making. This article seems to be written with the purpose to get more hit Indian readers.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

It is not Schwag as opener or great bat. It is that as long as Schwag stay the runs comes in 100s not in 10s.

Any one who had seen his 195 Moulbourne innings against Glenn and parties will understand that.

I was in Kuwait and got up at 0300am to watch the innings and that is the best innings I have seen after G R Vishy's 97 at Chennai. The morning time I was watching with my prayers to a cuase and it was the gratest.

regards, rajan

Posted by boredkumar on (November 22, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

i dont know if John Wright is going to read it or if any one at Cricinfo can pass on the message. He is one of the best cricket writers and one who also writes rarely. it was pleasure reading the article and your book! please write more and thank you for being the coach that started everything!!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

he is neither a god nor a wall he is neither powerful as chrisgayle nor has footwark as other greats people may criticize him as flat track bully i dnt mind he is the king of the kings u people called him reckless i cal him as daredevil,u told he has no technique but many greats such as sunny told "his shots were not there in coaching manual n u cant play those shots with out moving your foot towards the ball" its right some of his shots are impossible according to coaches consider that is sehwag he is an inspiration for many.he destroyed many greats glenn mcgrath,shaun pollock,warne,muralitharan,saqlain,dale steyn n list goes on........... he is in my heart forever n i worship him forever long live the king the nawab of najafgarh,he is n will remain tha best entertainer in cricket history hope u make ur 100th test memorable for us

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Sachin might be the best palyer of all Time but Sehwag is definitely the best entertainer of all time on a cricket field.

Posted by Sasnz on (November 22, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Great artical John, Pity John Buchanon didnt see your experience as a green light to do it the way you know works....NZ cricket misses you!!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Amazing article, says a lot about Sehwag, truly a champion of this generation, his mindset and never fear attitude to life!! Congratulations Viru on your 100th test and congratulations to John for making up Viru :D

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

Leave alone tests, I see the match until Sehwag's wicket and then it's a boring game. His innings is like a teaser to a film.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 22, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Sehwag is King of entertainment. Destroyer , no. Because he never played responsible in second inning under pressure except in chennai test against england. But he is greatest entertainer in cricket. Its not easy to hit the ball flying at 90mph with a precision he does. Most armchair critics love to criticize him but they do not know india can have many sachin type player but there will be only one sehwag. Others can play faster than him but no one can match his average with strike rate as a opener. What he needs to learn is sometime controlled inning is necessary for team's interest sake. As long as dhoni keeps sehwag happy (meaning dhoni needs to give sehwag some space to roam around without shackles...). Happy sehwag is great entertainer. Worried sehwag is no good for anyone. For me his 195 at melbourne is his best inning.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

He proved success the unorthodox way!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

one of the best article i Have read about one of the great batsman of modern era.............Congratulations Viru and Thanks for entertainment

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

Oh !!!! How dearly I yearn to see Sehwag Bat in Test matches cannot be put in words. Test cricket as a Team India fan was never a spectacle till Sehwag graced the game. Multan, Chennai, Melbourne, Galle, Lahore, Mumbai and respect for Sehwag has kept growing. He is neither a god, nor a Wall. He is neither an artist, nor a tactician. He is neither very very special nor a Prince. He is Viru, Viru the DESTROYER.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Thanks John for sharing your experience with your pupil...a rare species...those who survive (or rather thrive) on pure instinct and fearlessness. Along with 'Dada' you turned a new leaf in Indian cricket, esp. when world cricket (more so Indian Cricket) was rocked by betting and match-fixing controversy at the turn of the century. You taught passion and pride....helped the team improve its performance when playing abroad. Great memories! I hope Team Hyderabad (formerly Deccan Chargers) manage to rope you in as their coach.

Great column nevertheless!!

Posted by Anand_cricinfo on (November 22, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

Excellent article, John. You have beautifully described the kind of a person Viru is and not to forget you had a very important role in nurturing him through his early years. Thank you for the great contribution as a coach to the Indian team.

Posted by Beazle on (November 22, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Has won more matches for India tham Dravid and Tendulkar combined. A great player and together with Lara and Gilchrist, one of the great attacking batsmen of the past 50 years.

Posted by NLS1 on (November 22, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

Nice tribute to a fantastic cricketer from a wonderful coach. Sehwag sends pulse racing among the fans with his play when he gets going. What else is the value of sport than the delirium it brings and helps the common man forget his hardships and survival struggles in this world for the duration of the match?

Posted by livethegame on (November 22, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

Awesome article john.... Inspiring one too... truly sehwag is game's great entertainer... Keep it up....!!!

Posted by milind84 on (November 22, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

Congrats on your 100th test and thank you for all the entertainment and test wins over the years! You Sir, along with Dravid are the best bat of my generation.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

Indeed, I would think Veru has been the most entertaining player over the last 3-4 decades. John had portrayed an amazing picture of Viru. His experience and handling of the Indian team made the players blossom. Viru, you are great and the world acknowledges it !

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

Oh John! How i respect you for the way you handled Team India and turned em into world beaters. Sehwag is a special talent and we are thankful to almighty for giving us such a playa! lovely article.

Posted by chetangupta89 on (November 22, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

Amazing article.. it forced me to sign in and recommend the same to my friends... ;). One of the best articulated article, the same way John Wright helped Indian team... Providing the insight to a most adventurous sportsman, Viru, in his own style.

Posted by harshthakor on (November 22, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Sehwag is one of the most innovative batsman of the modern age who can pulverize an attack at his best in the manner of Viv Richards.Few batsman ever could register mammoth scores at such a breathtaking scoring rate.His 309 at Multan was the best example.Sadly temperament got the better of Sehwag as well as lack of footwork and technical precision.Bar Sir Viv Richards no batsman had a better eye.Arguably had more natural ability than even Tendulkar and to me the best match-winner amongst Indian batsman.

Posted by Sateesh on (November 22, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

Every Cricket Lover, Commentator , Analyst would love to write about this Guy. Congrats on great career of 100 tests and WIsh you all the best for for future. Mostly players like Sehwag will not like to stick around for too long . He will quit when he doesn't enjoy or contribute to the team..

Posted by Muyeen on (November 22, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Wow Wow Wow..one of the best insights into a player ever read.. Would have loved to know what Sehwag goes through in the 90's , always wanting to score a century or a double or a triple with big one... beautifully wriiten

Posted by Emancipator007 on (November 22, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

Too much is also made about Viru's so-called average ODI record. Those 8000 ODI runs have been scored at a BOGGLING 104 SR! Problem is Indian fans were used to high avgs of ODI titans (40 plus) Tendulkar & Ganguly & needlessly put pressure on Viru for his below 35 Av. Fact is he is avg. 43 under Dhoni's captaincy (despite his captain's constant undermining of his confidence in shorter formats by regular dropping) in past 4 years. Captains such as Ranatunga, Crowe,Ponting,Ganguly,Kapil understood the HIGH-IMPACT value of Jayasuriya,Greatbatch,Gilly,Viru,Srikanth cos of momentum-gaining and game-shifting innings of these openers, gave them free reign without bothering about their avgs. The that Viru is NEVER out of form (which Hussey & Akram now concur) was proved with that 219 scored out of nowhere last year against WI. 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).

Posted by SouthPaw on (November 22, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Wow, what an article! Thanks John for the very well written post that clearly articulates the man Sehwag is, and for the real entertainment and value that he brings to the game!

Posted by Satadru145 on (November 22, 2012, 5:36 GMT)

An absolute genius, who brought back Test cricket to life, despite the onslaught of limited overs cricket. For this reason alone, Virender Sehwag can be hailed as the greatest Test match cricketer of the modern era. Great article to salute a great player.

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (November 22, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

Just one question to all of them who term him as a flat track bully. What would you all call The Great Ricky Ponting who averages just 26 in India in 14 matches. A seaming track silly? Regarding the article, I will only say that world cricket will never see another player who will score 8500 runs at a strike rate of 85+!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

Beuatiful article. It couldn't be said any better about Viru. One of the most exciting batsmen of the game. I sincerely believe that John and Sourav changed Indian Cricket and allowed players such as Viru to play in their own way.

Posted by Vivekaks on (November 22, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Amazing and uncluttered writing!! I think John Wright was one of the best coaches we have had, right up there with Gary Kirsten. Understated and effective. The writing style resembles his coaching style. About sehwag, he has changed the paradigm of test match opener....if Warner is in the team and playing well, its because of Sehwags advice.

and if Test matches are producing more results than they did in the 90s, its thanks to Sehwag and the Australian team. Fast scoring has ensured a result is enforced.

Thanks for the entertainment Nawab...and thanks John Wright for the wonderful memories from 2000-2005.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

Nice Inside information.I always like Viru being pragmatic and having unique approach.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

What a wonderful article!!! A fitting appreciation of a genuine, instinctive player from a genuine, honest coach; congrats John and thanks for writing an articles which reads like it has come straight from the heart!!!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

Loved this article.. Thanks John for letting us to know more about Viru.. He is the best fearless opener against any bowling attack so far. You got it man, he has that mischievous smile on his face.. :)

Posted by joseyesu on (November 22, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

Article is interesting, Both Sehwag and Gilchrist in the bangalore ODI played below the 5th position and both turned to openers. GRABED IT with their play.

Posted by passion4testcricket on (November 22, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

John Thank u very much for sharing your experience with Viru... Viru means Brave Soldier, & he always lived to its meaning... he is never diplomatic on or off the field... he has surly revolutionized the test cricket by changing the definition of test opening... I wish he stays healthy & entertains us for many more years...

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