Virendra Sehwag’s last act

Virender Sehwag, India’s most successful opening batsman, retiring from international cricket maybe an acknowledgment of the slowing faculties and tiring limbs. At 37, this was not unexpected. But what he achieved in his heyday was extraordinary and most entertaining. On his day, this ‘Nazafgarh ka chhokra’, the lad from Nazafgarh, a rural suburb of the capital, could pummel the most vicious attack in the world. What he lacked in technique and footwork, he more than made up in grit and determination. Often he would be ready to dispatch a ball out of the pavilion even before it had left the bowler’s hand. Such was the fear of Sehwag that he messed up the figures of the most economical of bowlers. The triple century he scored against Pakistan and another triple century stand out in his long career. Yes, he often riled fans by throwing his wicket cheaply, but that was quintessential Sehwag, always batting with gay abandon. He did not seem to care, or was unable to do so, whether the team required him to keep his wicket or to go after the bowling. His style was such that if he batted with caution he invariably came a cropper. So, it was better to try and score big regardless of the precarious situation the team found itself in. Batting, he had once said, was a lottery, sometimes you hit the jackpot with big scores and other times you fluff up with single-digit scores. It typified the easygoing nature of this lad of an aspiring India which was discovering cricket and the big bucks associated with it after the sport moved out of its erstwhile confines in Mumbai’s lanes and by-lanes.

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