Writing something on my cricket blog after a very long time. Got busy with other projects, exams and what not.
It came as a shock to me seeing Virender Sehwag retire. Not me, in fact everyone was in deep shock. He was one of the few left from my childhood who was still into cricket playing either of internationals or domestic. Now that he is also gone, it is something that would still be hard to believe atleast till the next fortnight. And I’m still in shock after listening to it.
Sehwag comes from a rare breed of batsmen who lacked something or the other yet they don’t let anyone feel what is missing. My very first innings of following him close would be the innings he played against New Zealand back in 2003. He had got out on 130 in a crucial tri series game in Hyderabad. I was 5 years old then, cricket had hit me like a wrecking ball with the passion it ran all over my family. Though could understand the more technical terms thanks to my brother and dad, yet his shot selections and power made me attracted like the ball to his bat. He played each ball very freely and with such power and precision. It was one of the few early innings which declared the rise of Nawab of Najafgarh.
Later on with that record triple century against arch rivals Pakistan in Multan. This actually established Viru on to the center stage. He had become the first Indian to score a triple century and it had remained the highest score by an Indian which was later on be broken by Sehwag himself 4 years later (next paragraph). In tests too he dealt with the pace of the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammed Sami, Abdul Razzaq and so many others like it was a One Day game. He smashed everyone out of the park and didn’t let us feel it was a test match. Calmness and aggression personified.
Years later, he went on to mature more and more. Took the balls more calmly. But yet, that didn’t change the Viru we are used to watching since young. Still the hard hitting and fearless Sehwag yet left some more sixes onto our heart. Another triple ton followed four years later in Chennai, this time against South Africa. They had also defied an era of both batting and bowling yet this made no difference to Viru. He took them on again with calmness and fearlessness mixed together. This was what I always loved about him.
But no matter how many memorable innings he might have played, the favourite has to be the record breaking double ton against West Indies in 2011. He broke his fellow opening partner Sachin Tendulkar’s record in scoring the highest individual score in a One Day International. He still took the Windies bowlers like champ. Another innings where he was calm and fearless as always but this time in a more destructive way 😜
This was what I took from my childhood. He was fearless. Despite the fact that he was very much criticized for his footwork, he never let them criticize him more with his innings. He was a ‘Daredevil’ inside and out. Never backed down without giving a fight. This was something we all adored about him.
When I had started watching cricket back in 2003 it is still a memory attached to my brain. Him and Tendulkar opening, followed by Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Yuvraj coming onto bat. His chemistry with Sachin was absolutely tremendous. They complemented each other very well. Sachin with his calm approach and Viru acting like his bodyguard and smashing the ball all over. An amazing combination indeed. :’)
Coming onto a personal experience. I often regret my luck on not meeting him. He had arrived on a two day visit in my foster land Kuwait and the funny thing was, the place where he had come was right behind my house. So there was an event organised and Viru was the chief guest for that. Entry was free to all but people took it in an uncivilised manner, much to his discomfort. Because of that I could neither get an autograph nor a personal interaction. It didn’t leave a good mark on him and I doubt if he will ever visit Kuwait again. 😥
But amidst all the chaos, one thing I’d definitely not regret is watching him play. It was a bliss seeing such a player go on song with the bowlers and tear them apart, He gave even the best bowlers in town a run for their money. His passion, daring and calmness in addition would be something really amazing about him.
When I grow up, I would feel lucky to tell my children or grandchildren about such a legend. He defined an era with teammates Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and so many more. And now sadly, none of them are going to play the game anymore with Zaheer recently retiring as well. TImes of mixed emotions really
FARE THEE WELL! VIRENDER SEHWAG!