First ball of every innings kisses the boundary ropes, like it was a rule. Part of a ritual and accepted match routine.
The first few overs were a treat to watch because of this man. A flurry of fours, stand and deliver, and most often play a careless shot to head back to the pavilion. Yes, we hated it when he got out, but like those bowlers we expected him to get out after a few hits. But even in those few overs, he would ensure that the team got a flying start. He was a far more consistent than Afridi, but was known to follow a similar line of thought. Hit the ball, or get out of the way.
He was Sehwag. Virender Sehwag.
[Image courtesy: Telegraph.co.uk]
The guy with hand-eye coordination so perfect that he didn’t required any footwork. People talk about techniques, but surely had something of his own. The flair with which he batted, and when on a song, is the most musical thing you’ll ever watch it on the 22 yards.
People who have grown up watching cricket, can hardly hate this man. He was a treat to the eyes. Those swiftly timed hits on the offside, where the ball reaches the fence at lightning speed or a few on-side flicks. He even perfected Sachin’s cheeky over the keepers’ head 6 onto his own. (Remember when Sachin Hit one on a Shoaib delivery in the ’03 WC?). After, Sachin-Saurav, probably one of the best opening pair that I’ve seen, has been Sachin-Sehwag’s.
[Image courtesy: sportkeeda.com]
He admired Sachin like a hero. One famous incident which probably many know is when Sehwag sledged back Shohaib with , “Baap baap hota hai” in reference to Sachin. Such was his admiration and confidence on the man.
[Image courtesy: CricketCountry]
Generations which is going to hear about him, will assume him to be a typical ODI player, assuming they still play ODI’s then. But his innings in Tests, where he was surprisingly far more effective, are something that his stats also shout aloud.
It is like an era, Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman, Zaheer and now Sehwag, has finally come to an end. I feel old. Seriously. A couple of days back when Zaheer announced his retirement, reading his letter was so heartwarming and pleasing. His humbleness was something that made me miss his bowling even more. Yesterday, when there was confusion on whether Sehwag has quit or not, I was hoping (like others who love him) that I’d see him again in India colors. Of course, I do accept that the Sehwag we once knew, had lost a bit of touch over time, yet being a fan, you do expect things like these to happen. Don’t you ?
Alas, that wasn’t supposed to happen. And he finally retired from all forms of International cricket effective today.
He was a visionary, probably the first person who said scoring a Double Century in an ODI is achievable. Of course, Sachin achieved the feat before him, but I’m pretty sure that if Sehwag would have been able to play till the 50 overs, he would easily have achieved it before itself. But then, he was not a guy who stayed long at the crease.
The time when Sachin used to close in on centuries and suffer the nervous 90s, I still remember Sehwag hitting a 6 to complete his centuries. And this is much before, Dhoni made finishing innings with a 6.
[Image courtesy: wisdenindia.com]
Coming from Najafgarh has made his own mark in the history books as far as cricket goes. Opposition was most concerned to get him out than any other in the Indian Line-up. I strongly believe, that one of the biggest reasons our batting line up became such a perfect fit, was because of starts which Sehwag gave.
We can remember him as the first Indian to score a Triple century. We can remember him for providing quick starts to the Indian bowling or simply destroying the opposition new ball bowlers on every occasion. Even when he would be in a bad patch, at least a couple of boundaries were expected to come off his bat.
He has been my favorite batsman and will always be. Yes, it is definitely true that each batsman does lose his way after a while, but in the time he has played and entertained us, he has become a legend for us. I still possess the scrapbook made of newspaper clippings and magazine cutouts of Sehwag.
The Viv Richards of our generation. As people who had witnessed him play, referred to Sehwag. Time will tell, whether we’ll have another Sehwag or not. But this moment, when you hear that this man won’t be playing for India again, it feels like something is lost. A Glorious chapter of Indian Cricket has ended.
Wish you a great life ahead Viru. The Sultan of Multan, will always rule our hearts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the best entertainer of the game. There will be players, but I doubt there will be another Virender Sehwag.