Very few cricketers enjoy the game of cricket and are not intimidated by it. Virender Sehwag was one such cricketer who wasn’t intimidated by the sport but had the power to inflict fear among other bowlers. On this day, 15-years-ago, Viru made his Test debut against South Africa. While present-day bowlers are relieved that the Nawab of Najafgarh has retired from international cricket, here’s how he dominated during his playing days.
A conventional opening batsman would respect the bowlers and take some time to settle in. Sehwag, on the other hand, would unsettle the bowlers as soon as he would take his batting stance. With all the fielders close in, it meant an opportunity to score freely and quickly. In his debut itself, he achieved a unique feat. Sehwag scored a century and became the 11th Indian cricketer to score a century on debut. It wasn’t that he was playing in home conditions, the match was played in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Sehwag made 105 in the first innings and 31 in the second but India lost the match.
Sehwag scored 8586 runs at an average of 49.34 in 104 Test matches that he played for India. During his tenure, he had a strike-rate of 82.23. Imagine, a strike-rate of 80+ in Test matches is something that people fail to achieve even in ODIs. Along with 32 fifties and 23 centuries, he holds the record of being the highest scorer for India. With his 319 against South Africa (Chennai, 2008), 309 against Pakistan (Multan, 2004) and 293 against Sri Lanka (Mumbai, 2009), Viru has the first, second and third highest score by an Indian batsman in Tests.
Sehwag is one of the four cricketers in the world to have scored two double centuries. Don Bradman, Chris Gayle and Brian Lara, are the other three. He could have easily become the first cricketer to achieve the unique feat of scoring three triple centuries had he not lofted the ball when he was playing at 293 against Sri Lanka. But that’s Sehwag for you. His mantra is simple, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’ With his fearless approach to the game, Sehwag redefined a batsman’s approach in Test cricket.
- (Cover Video Courtesy: YouTube.com/suhass997cricket)