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    Published On : Wed, Oct 21st, 2015
    Opinion of the Day | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    Virender Sehwag : Less technique, more match spirit!

    Virender Sehwag is every bit a non-conformist. As a batsman, he cared less about technique and all the other idiosyncrasies associated with the game of cricket. In a lot of ways, his batting was a reflection of his personality — confident, insouciant and unorthodox.

    Growing up in the bylanes of Najafgarh, a bustling Delhi suburb, Sehwag moulded his batting on two very basic tenets: strong reflexes and an incredible hand-to-eye coordination. Armed with these two qualities, Sehwag became an irresistible proposition with the willow in his hand.

    Starting off as a hard-hitting middle order batsman who could bowl a bit of off-spin, the Najafgarh lad quickly graduated to a world-class opener. Sehwag could thrill you and disappoint you in equal measure. Often, he would give India rollicking starts, and then just when you thought he was in for a major haul, he would throw his wicket away playing the most innocuous shots.

    At Lord’s against England in 2002, India came into bat after tea on Day 2. England had amassed close to 500. Opening the innings, Sehwag launched into a pretty competent English fast-bowling line-up which comprised Hoggard, Flintoff and Jones. He raced to his 50 in no time. Naseer Hussain, a worried England captain brought left arm spinner Ashley Giles into the attack. The sight of Giles pepped up the Indian opener. He drove the spinner twice over covers. Giles then went over the wicket and Sehwag in an attempt to make room for himself, missed the delivery and was bowled. He was dismissed for 84 of 96 deliveries with 10 fours and a six. His wicket had fallen at the fag end of the day and that meant India’s talisman Sachin Tendulkar would have to walk in to negotiate some tricky overs before stumps.

    The English press lambasted Sehwag for his reckless approach and for exposing Sachin Tendulkar. But Sehwag cared less. He is not your traditional opener, in the Sunil Gavaskar mould. Neither did he care about conventions or reputations in cricket. His short but thrilling stint on Day 2 at Lord’s more than 13 years ago would pretty much be his template for the rest of his career. He would play his shots and every now and then would give the opposition a chance. This fragility in his game made his more endearing as a player.

    Last week, Zaheer Khan, Sehwag’s good friend and long-time ally called a press conference in Mumbai to announce his retirement from international cricket. Five days later, Sehwag followed suit. But he did it in his true inimitable manner. He took to the social media to formally announce his retirement. Like his batting, his retirement was also well-timed. On Tuesday, his 37th birthday, Sehwag made the announcement via Twitter. Having last played a Test match more than two years ago, Sehwag realised his time was well and truly up. He will not be available for IPL next year but will continue playing for Haryana this Ranji season.

    As a glorious chapter ends, the 37-year-old embarks on another interesting sojourn next year: the dasher from Najafgarh has now set his sights on the Masters Champions League (MCL), a UAE-based Twenty20 tournament that requires its participants to have retired from all international formats.

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