On Tuesday, one of the liveliest entertainers that Indian cricket has ever produced bade goodbye to a distinguished IPL and international career. Virender Sehwag formally announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, though he would continue to represent Haryana for the rest of this Ranji season, and also participate in MCL T20 tournament to be hosted by UAE.
Virender Sehwag – An entertainer par excellence
With more than 8000 runs in both ODIs and Tests, Sehwag had emerged as one of the most entertaining cricketers of the last generation. At a time when opening batting was considered to be the domain for cautious individuals, Viru broke through the ranks of the Indian team to redefine ‘aggressive batting’. His strike rate in Tests still reads a phenomenal 82.23 which is better than anyone in the history of Test cricket. His swashbuckling batting at the top of the order is now a matter of folklore in Indian cricket. Phrases like ‘Sehwag ka batting miss nahi karna hai’ symbolize the authority, respect and love which he commanded in the hearts of cricket aficionados.
A run machine in tough times
There have been times, in the last decade, when the Indian team had faced shortage of runs. Be it the tour of New Zealand in 2002-03 or the tour Down Under in 2003-04 or the tour of Sri Lanka in 2008, India have been under the pump on quite a few occasions in the past. Virender Sehwag is perhaps best remembered for the fearless batting he used to display in such periods of batting crisis. In a Test match in Sri Lanka, Sehwag had once scored 201* in India’s total of 329 in which only two other batsmen could reach double digit scores. An entire list of such eccentric yet admirable innings by Viru, in both ODIs and Tests, can perhaps be prepared in quick time.
Records, records and more records
There was a time few years back when you could almost sense a double or triple century coming whenever Virender Sehwag bagged a half century in Tests. The two Test triple centuries against Pakistan and South Africa stand as living testimony to the kind of indelible footprints that this man has left on Indian cricket. His dismissal on 293 in a Test against Sri Lanka in 2009 had perhaps broken more hearts than one can ever imagine. His career that stands apart because of its unforgettable impact, unconventional methods and quintessential approaches. As the man himself has put it to so nicely, ‘I did it my way’. Thank you Viru ! It has been a hell of a ride and we enjoyed every moment !