Posts Tagged ‘Virender Sehwag’

Here’s a confession. Till yesterday’s final, I had not watched a single match of the ICC World Cup which India played. But more of that later…

Last night as I watched the kids in my building running up and down the parking area screaming “India India” after Dhoni smacked the six, I could afford to look on indulgently. After all, I had been there, done that. I had witnessed it before. I couldn’t help think back to that magical day in June of 1983 when India achieved the impossible. Was that a more defining moment than this one? I was 25 then and crazy about the game as my son is today. No one gave India a hope in hell to even reach the semi-finals, leave alone the final. I remember reading that the arrogant England players and their media were delighted and derisive about meeting India in the semi-finals, because they couldn’t have asked for an easier opponent en route to the final at Lords.

When Yashpal Sharma whipped Bob Willis of his legs to midwicket for a six, everyone sitting in the control room of Hotel Blue Diamond, where I worked in those days, erupted. We knew it then that we were going to thrash the Poms. We could see the faces of the England players. They were shell-shocked and had already lost the match. You don’t pick Bob Willis then England’s best fast bowler and cart him over the fence like he was bowling with a tennis ball!

Then in the final as the West Indies were sailing to a win with the arrogant Viv Richards treating the Indian bowlers like they were schoolboys, we all prayed. All ‘we’ needed was his wicket and as Richards lifted a Madan Lal delivery to the leg side, I think most of us packed to the nines in that small room at the hotel died a thousand deaths as we watched Kapil Dev running to get under the ball. Would he drop it? Would he? He didn’t.

As Mohinder Amarnath claimed the last wicket I don’t think there was a dry eye amongst us. We wept. For a lot of us, it was a moment we never imagined would happen. Just like today’s generation, we had been waiting for this moment since we were kids. Imagine a rag-a-tag bunch of no-hopers under a 23-year-old captaining his country at cricket’s most prestigious tournament for the first time, walking away with the title. I remember wishing, like I did yesterday, that I could have been in Mumbai, because that is where the celebrations would be at its best. It was after all the home of Indian cricket. I remember reading that the foghorns on ships anchored along the coast near the Gateway of India went on blaring through the night, flares lit up the night sky and people danced on the streets.

I might have lost my job that night, because I should have been on duty at the Reception of the hotel, but was instead watching the match. But no one noticed and no one cared. The hotel lobby was packed with guests who came down from their rooms asking us to open the Bar, because they wanted a drink to celebrate. You can have been a waiter or a guest, but it didn’t matter, because people hugged each other in the lobby. I remember thinking, as tears rolled down, that this was the most incredible moment of my life.

But all through this World Cup whenever India played my son told me to stay away from the living room. He believed that every time I walked in an Indian wicket fell, so I was banished into the bedroom and told to watch the match on my laptop! He claimed India won because I stayed out of the living room and he didn’t move from his perch on the sofa! But yesterday, as India lost Sehwag and Tendulkar, my son was despondent, and went to sleep. I came back, sat in the living room and watched the entire match. Fifteen runs away from a win, I woke him up. He was stunned when he heard me tell him excitedly that India was about to win the Cup. I also told him that I had been sitting in his chair and India was about to win!

Of course, I didn’t tell him that I was jumping up and down like a schoolboy, cheering and shouting every time Gambhir and Dhoni sent the ball to the boundary. “Two fours….two fours, is all we need to take the pressure off,” I remember thinking aloud. Going a run a ball wasn’t exactly comforting as we inched closer. The run-to-ball ratio had to change quickly now and then Dhoni took on Malinga. As he hit two fours I was applauding and clapping in delight. And then in the next over as he banished the ball into the stands, I leapt from the chair, dancing, screaming – just like those kids down below. It was 1983 again.


Trumper and Sehwag?

Posted: March 11, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

No Kabby, I haven’t seen Victor Trumper play, he WAS very much before my time and I’m sure your’s too! But if Sehwag plays like him then I can guess what he must have been like. Do their batting styles look familiar? The Sehwag picture is courtesy
Here a quote from wikipedia on Trumper: His most remarkable test season was played in England in 1902. It was one of the wettest summers on record, yet Trumper in 53 innings scored 2,570 runs, and without a single not out had an average of 48.49. Harry Altham wrote: “From start to finish of the season, on every sort of wicket, against every sort of bowling, Trumper entranced the eye, inspired his side, demoralized his enemies, and made run-getting appear the easiest thing in the world.”
CB Fry added, “He had no style, and yet he was all style. He had no fixed canonical method of play, he defied all orthodox rules, yet every stroke he played satisfied the ultimate criterion of style — the minimum of effort, the maximum of effect.”
“No one,” wrote Plum Warner, “ever played so naturally. Batting seemed just part of himself, and he was as modest as he was magnificent.”
Sounds familiar?

The other day I was talking cricket with a senior sports correspondent of a national agency and the topic veered around to Virender Sehwag. He joked that only God knows what makes that guy tick. He doesn’t display much footwork. He just stands there and clobbers the ball. Even the most astute cricketing brains in the country are at a loss to figure out the reason for his amazing success. The Indian think-tank had decided to let him play the way he does, because even they can’t figure him out. Wise move!

After watching the guy playing the last few seasons and especially after seeing him racing towards the 7th fastest century in ODI history, the fastest by an Indian, and his 11th, at Christchurch today, I can’t help agree. And to think I was one of those doubters! My reasoning was that it had become such a competitive game and technology was being used so often to fugure out a batsman or a bowler’s flaws, that international teams would sort out Viru pretty quickly. There are so many examples of such players whose careers have ended that way. For a while, some years ago it really seemed that way, but the reality as we learnt later was different. According to the same sports correspondent, the then coach tried his best to convince Sehwag that he should change his style and was told by the opener in true Jat style not to bother about him – he was fine the way he was! That probably explains why he was dropped from the team.

But I owe an apology to a couple of former colleagues at Hindustan Times, Lucknow for declaring that Viru wouldn’t last more than three years on the international circuit! This was after watching his lack of footwork and poor technique sometime around 2002. It hasn’t changed much since then, but Sehwag has gone from strength to strength and continued to thrash the bowling wherever he has played against all levels of opposition. Obviously, reason and all things that make sense don’t really make any sense when it comes to Sehwag’s batting. So… apologies guys! All things said – for and against – let’s just enjoy this maverick opener’s performance till it lasts! I do believe Sehwag is a rare breed.