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Sehwag...No soft edges

When he first burst on the international circuit, people said that he looked like Tendulkar. And by the time his debut series ended, they said he batted like Tendulkar. The nawab of Najafgarh was a butcher when it came to hitting the red cherry.  Once a self-confessed Sachin clone, he took his batting to such sublime savagery that when he belted a ball, it stayed pelted. No soft edges for him.

It would be awful to talk about records of a man who had scant regard or understanding of it. But he was so mesmerisingly fast in his play and so breathtakingly barbaric in his assault that records came along the way. No Indian has scored a triple hundred; Sehwag did it twice. When told that he was the first Indian to achieve it, he reportedly asked: “Is it?” While Sachin proved that it was possible to score a double hundred in an ODI, Sehwag showed that it could be done faster. By the way, he also holds the record of the fastest triple hundred internationally.

Virendra Sehwag belonged to the new generation of Indians whose lack of an appreciation of history didn't bother them.  When he, along with Rahul Dravid, came tantalisingly close to breaking Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s world record opening partnership, he apparently wondered who Mankad was!

Never a diplomat, he had his run-ins with the corridors of power. He did not enjoy the greatest of rapports with the man who would be his captain; apparently he didn't do much to repair the relationship.


Accidental opener

A little known fact is that Sehwag grew in a joint family with siblings and with sixteen cousins. He drove a scooter for over 25 kilometre before the sun broke, to reach practice grounds where he perfected his technique or the lack of it!  Incidentally, the man was not a natural opening bat; he was a middle order batsman who by a quirk of cricketing fate became an accidental opener. That too had to do with Sachin Tendulkar; the Bouncer had hurt his foot and the prodigy stepped into his shoes with élan.

If Sachin smote the Don, Sehwag besmirched the dashing West Indian opener Desmond Haynes.

When he got out at 293, a score that marked the second fastest double hundred and seven more would have meant that he would have become the only man in history to knock off three triples, he said: “it doesn't matter, there is another day for it”

Unorthodox in his batting, described as the ‘most exciting opener in the world’, Padma Shri Virendra Sehwag, played his trademark slogs unmindful of the situation.  Speed is his middle name.  Did you know that he scored the second and third fastest test double hundreds in terms of balls faced?  Did you know that his name appears five time amongst the ten fastest test double hundreds? Did you know that he has the fastest hundred and double hundred in ODI and the fastest double and triple hundred in tests for India?

I am an unabashed Sachin fan. After all, he grew up on us and was the first Indian to make my generation feel proud that we are Indians. That notwithstanding if I were to pay top dollars and travel miles to watch one of either Sachin or Sehwag bat, I would without a second prefer Sehwag.

I hope Virendra Sehwag realises what a great compliment that is.

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