If the ball is there to be I will hit it - Virender Sehwag
(Sometimes I suspect he added 'If' for the sake of it!)
It must be tough being Virender Sehwag.
For he made a mockery of established technique of batting.
For it seems that his motto is to hit the ball as hard as he can as often as he can.
Batting wasn’t supposed to be like this.
People who didn’t understand the man & his methods and called it madness.
They called him a slogger & his success a fluke.
He was expected die by the sword he lived by.
But after 9 years of living by his Mantra and in the process instilling fear in every opposition (Quoting any stats here would be an insult to the free spirit that he is) the cricketing world seems to be unanimous that he is a great. And he continues to entertain in his original, uninhibited, and inimitable style.
In 2003 at Australia having been warned some chin music by Aussie bowlers, Sehwag decided to play Bhangra & how. And on 195 he got out caught attempting to hit a full-toss out of the ground. More importantly he said afterwards that he would have done exactly the same if faced with the situation all over again. If anyone thought it’s false bravado, he blasted a six to reach his first triple-hundred a few months later in Pakistan. And that wasn't even a full-toss!
That’s when I fully realized the man’s genius.
He doesn’t need to open his mouth to cause mental disintegration in opposition!
My 3 favorite stories about the entertainer par excellence are below
1) Virender Sehwag was facing Pakistan’s medium-fast bowler Abdul Razzaq, who was reverse-swinging the ball, and the way the Indian handled him is narrated in an interesting story in Australia’s legendary spinner Shane Warne’s book.
“Sehwag came up to (his batting mate Jeremy) Snape and said: ‘We must lose this ball. I have a plan’. Next over he whacked the ball clean out of the ground, forcing umpires to pick another from the box that would obviously not reverse straight away.
To which Sehwag said: ‘We are alright for one hour.’ Smart I say.”
Such out of the box thinking and implementation, only Sehwag can :-)
2) When England came touring under Nasser Hussain, he had great success with negative tactics of bowling outside the leg stump using Ashely Giles. Sehwag, then batting low down the order, was sitting in the dressing room, fretting at the sight of his seniors struggling to play the wide of leg stump line with their pads, butts and other parts of the anatomy.
Sehwag blasted his mates and said wait till I get out there, I will teach him a lesson.
Sure enough, his chance came.
He charged down the wicket to loft him, reverse swept him, & then ran down the pitch to hit him... to all corners with such ferocity that within three overs he forced the Hussain to take Giles out of the attack.
Standing there and watching the balls go by is not his brand of cricket. For Sehwag it was the case of a bowler who was afraid to bowl more positive lines, up against a batsman who was unafraid to play his shots.
3) In one of the interviews Ganguly made an interesting revelation about Sehwag. "The best way to know how Sehwag's mind works is to sit next to him in the players' balcony when India are batting. Every few minutes he will clutch his head and yell, 'Chauka gaya' [missed out on a four] or 'Chakka gaya'[missed out on a six]. That's how he thinks, in fours and sixes."
Yes the bowlers always fancy their chances when they're bowling to Sehwag; it's only that Sehwag fancies his own chances much more.
Batsmen usually worry about the pitch, time of day, phase of innings, and quality of the bowler. For Sehwag the only thing matters is type of delivery.
Absolute clarity of mind.
How many times we have watched him play and miss, and then the next delivery being carted out of the ground nonchalantly.
He does not care for what has just happened; free from the burden of past and uncertainty of future, he lives in the moment, and it is an exuberant one.
Isn’t that a great lesson for life...