Friday, November 13, 2009


Virender Sehwag (Hindi: वीरेंद्र सेहवाग) (born 20 October 1978, in Delhi, India), affectionately known as Viru, is one of the leading batsmen in the Indian cricket team. Sehwag is an aggressive right-handed opening batsman and an occasional right-arm off-spin bowler. He played his first One Day International in 1999 and joined the Indian Test cricket team in 2001. In April 2009, Sehwag became the only Indian to be honored as the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for his performance in 2008.

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). Sehwag also holds the distinction of being one of three 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.

Sehwag was appointed as vice-captain of the Indian team under Rahul Dravid in October 2005 but due to poor form, he was later replaced by V. V. S. Laxman in December 2006 as Test vice-captain. In January 2007, Sehwag was dropped from the ODI team and later from the Test team as well. During his term as vice-captain, Sehwag skippered the team in place of injured Dravid in 2 ODIs and 1 Test. Following his return to form in 2008 and the retirement of Anil Kumble, Sehwag has been reappointed as the vice-captain for both Tests and ODIs. By early 2009, Sehwag had reestablished himself as one of the best performing batsmen in ODI cricket.
Playing style:
Sehwag was often compared to Sachin Tendulkar in his early days due to the similar batting style, build and appearance. He has acknowledged numerous times that he consciously attempted to model his playing style on Tendulkar's in his youth.

Sehwag's technique is often cited as being particularly unorthodox, often backing away (considered technically incorrect) to free his arms whilst playing his shots, in particular to cut or drive spinners inside out. He is frequently cited by commentators for his extremely strong (physically) square cutting and upper cutting and power through the off-side. He is also an excellent player of the late cut.
In particular his tendency to strike the ball in the air and risk dismissal is a trait which has seen him noted for his chancy and adventurous mindset. He is also noted for a relative lack of footwork, with his timing often attributed to his eyesight. Of late, Sehwag has shown a proclivity to be dismissed by inswing deliveries, something attributed to his leaden-footed batting style. He has also got dismissed playing the cut shot when the ball was too close to his body to cut, especially in limited over matches.

Virender Sehwag is often noted for his extremely attacking style of batting, and in 2005 he was described by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as the "most exciting opener in the world" due to his aggressive style in Test matches, his strike rate being inferior only to that of Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi.

Sehwag has also been noted for his apparent disregard for the match situation, exhibited by aggressive batting even when his team is in a poor position or after being out manoeuvred by the bowler in the recent past. This is a two-edged sword as it allows him to not be psychologically hindered by previous failures, but can also lead to excessive aggression. He was quoted by Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer as a sophisticated slogger.

But over the years, his style has changed from "reckless hitting" to that of "controlled aggression", according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Previously Sehwag was known predominantly as an offside player, with a weakness against straight short pitched bowling. However in the last 2 years he has improved his leg side and bouncer hitting considerably. This is shown in the recent ODIs against New Zealand where he utilised the pull, hook and flick shots to devastating effect.

As on 1 March 2007, Sehwag has an average of nearly 65 in the first innings of test matches where he has scored 3374 runs, 12 centuries and 8 fifties in 52 matches. In the second innings, his average drops to 25 and has scored 781 runs and 4 fifties in 50 innings. The first and second innings difference of 40 runs is the one of the highest and indicates a lack of ability in dealing with more difficult batting conditions as the pitch deteriorates.
However, his match-saving second-innings 151 against Australia at Adelaide during the 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar series, and a match winning 92 in trying situations at Nagpur during the 2008-09 series, went a long way towards repairing that image. In the 2008 Test series against England, Sehwag played a key role in the fourth innings of the first Test in Chennai. He amassed 83 runs in 68 balls, which helped India chase down an improbable target of 387 with six wickets to spare. This was the highest successful run chase in India, and the fourth highest in Test history. For this effort, Sehwag was adjudged Man of the Match.