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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

swashbuckler Virender Sehwag retires !!!!!!!

Recently I posted on Delhi Haryana match – on Viru turning out for Haryana – on a feature in Cricinfo in his Ranji debut – it was on the cards that the scintillating Virender Sehwag would soon call it a day – yet, when he does – it saddens.  The word genius must never be used lightly, but it can be applied to Virender Sehwag's stroke-making ability.

His dashing ability were often associated with audacity, and lack of footwork – but if one could score the way, he did, footwork became meaningless.  In a Test at Lahore, he ended up the day unbeaten on 96 – of which there were 20 boundaries – 15 on the off - upper-cuts to third man, glides and square-drives through backward point, and crunching drives through cover. He had a big partnership threatening the best for Indian openers but was out at 410 having made 254 off 247 balls with 47 fours and 1 six. 
image credit : cricinco.

Most of us would recall many of his brilliant innings – but do you remember that in his debut match on 1st Apr 1999,  a leftie by name ‘ Pandey’ played ? – yes Gyanendrakumar Kedarnath Pandey played in 2 ODIs and his last was ODI 1427 at Mohali, in which Sehwag debuted.  It was an unusual line up – Sourav Ganguly opening with Syed Sabha Karim followed by Dravid, Ajay Jadeja [Captain], Amay Khuraisya, Robin Sehwag, debutant Sehwag at 7, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Laxmiratan Shukla, G Pandey and Venkatesh Prasad.  Sehwag made 1 !!

His retirement message reads :  To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of my retirement yesterday was exaggerated! However I have always done what I have felt was right and not what conformists thought to be right. God has been kind and I have done what I wanted to do - on the field and in my life and I had decided sometime back that I will retire on my 37th birthday. So, while I spend the day with my family, I hereby announce my retirement from all forms of international cricket and from the Indian Premier League.

Cricket has been my life and continues to be so. Playing for India was a memorable journey and I tried to make it more memorable for my team-mates and the Indian cricket fans. I believe I was reasonably successful in doing so. For that, I wish to thank all my team-mates over the years - some of the greatest players of the game. I would like to thank all my captains, who believed in me and backed me to the hilt. I also thank our greatest partner, the Indian cricket fan for all the love, support and the memories.

Possibly the most attacking batsman to play for India, Virender Sehwag made 8586 runs in 180 innings with 23 tons; and 8273 runs in 251 ODIs with 15 hundreds. The most remarkable aspect of Sehwag's career of course has been his ability to build massive scores at breathtaking speed. Sehwag holds multiple records including the highest score made by an Indian in Test cricket (319), which was also the fastest triple century in the history of international cricket (reached 300 off only 278 balls) as well as the fastest 250 by any batsman (in 207 balls against Sri Lanka on 3 December 2009 at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai). He also holds the distinction of being one of four batsmen in the world to have ever surpassed 300 twice in Test cricket and the only one to score two triple centuries and take a five-wicket innings haul. In March 2009, Sehwag smashed the fastest century ever scored by an Indian in ODI cricket, from 60 balls.

He made his Ranji debut in Feb 1998 at Chepauk.  Tamil Nadu captained by Robin Singh made 473 with Diwakar Vasu making 148.  Sehwag scalped the left-handed Woorkeri Raman.  He did not get to bat as match was halted with Delhi at 183/4 – Ajay Sharma and Mithus Minhas at the crease.

At Colombo on 2nd Aug 2001 in ODI 1743, NZ made 264 with Nathan Astle making a century.  Sehwag’s 3 overs costed 26 runs.  He more than compensated with a 69 ball ton that had 19 fours and a six.   New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, speaking after India defeated his side to qualify for the final of the Coca-Cola Cup, paid tribute to Virender Shewag stating ‘just one guy took it off from us’.

His Test debut was more to celedbrate.  At Bloemfontein in Nov 2001, against Shaun Pollock, Hayward, Kallis Ntini, Klusener  and Boje, Sehwag coming at no. 6 made 105 in his debut.

As it had happened – many genius are not treated they way they deserve – Sehwag too had his downs.  He too was affected by Coaches and others who ruled the game from outside.  In Sept. 2012   Greg Chappell criticised Virender’s  work ethic, calling him one of the great frustrations of his time as India coach. Sehwag's lackadaisical attitude threatens to squander his great god-given gift, Chappell wrote in the Hindu.  Fact remains that Sehwag made a stirring comeback from that low.  However, in Aug 2010  Peter Ingram, the New Zealand batsman,  said learning from watching Virender Sehwag bat helped transform his career. Ingram is sometimes criticised for a lack of footwork,  said the reduced foot movement - a hallmark of Sehwag's batting -  helped trigger the run of form which has lifted him to the New Zealand team.

There was not a single boring moment when Sehwag batted – and just as Krish Srikkanth did, he disappointed his fans many a times, mainly because expectations were too high.  Indian Cricket will miss him for sure.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Oct 2o15.

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