December 12, 2011

Double-centurion Sehwag can do it again and again

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

No matter what the experts might say or irrespective of what the stats tell you Virender Sehwag happens to be one batsman whose solo on any given day can upstage any band anywhere.

The pitch on which he is playing or the quality of bowling he is confronting become secondary when he is on song. When his hand-eye coordination gets right he will plunder any attack of the world with minimum of fuss.

He’s not one of those cricketers who have to depend on footwork or technique. He has every shot in the book. He is not afraid to walk down the wicket to heave what would be a decent ball for other batsmen.

Sehwag lives dangerously for he continues to chance his arms until he gets out. While every batsman needs time to get his eyes in before stroking the balls powerfully he gets into top gear from the moment he takes guard from the umpire.

I don’t think anyone would have been surprised with his recent double-century against the West Indies at Indore which eclipsed Sachin Tendulkar’s highest score of 200 in One-day Internationals. Now Sehwag holds the OID record of highest individual score by smashing 219 off 149 balls on December 8, 2011.

In fact it was another case of missed opportunity. He had enough time at his disposal to become the first batsman ever to score 250 in an ODI innings but he couldn’t stay there until the end.

Tendulkar, who holds virtually every conceivable batting record in Tests as well as ODIs, may find it rather difficult to reclaim this one from Sehwag, who has the capacity to score more briskly than any contemporary batsman.

I think Sehwag, who has a couple of triple centuries in Test cricket, can score a few more of those besides recording more double-hundreds in ODIs. He has the rare skill as well as the temperament to keep doing it again and again.

"I am happy to have broken my role model Sachin Tendulkar's record. It won't be easy for people to score double hundreds. Over the last so many years only two have done it. This opportunity will come only once in a lifetime and I am happy I have taken it. I dedicate this knock to my father who is no longer with us,” Sehwag was quoted as saying after his swashbuckling knock.

"It is one of my very best innings. Unlike in Test cricket when one can bat longer, in one-dayers you have to keep an eye on the run-rate. The wicket was very good for batting but the bowlers are also trying to get you out,” he added.

"It was a true batting wicket. Whenever I hit the ball into the gaps, it would go for four. Whenever I decided to hit a six, I would hit with a straight bat and it would go for six. The first time the double-century crossed my mind was during the batting Powerplay between the 35th and 40th overs,” Sehwag disclosed.

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