Virender Sehwag retired from all forms of international cricket, leaving behind a place which will be very difficult to fill. Here are five things about the sportsman and his eventful career that our reader remembers him by.
When Virender Sehwag announced his retirement, a glorious era of Indian cricket came to an end. The inspiring cricketer is one of those people whose roots belong to the India which lives in its villages, and who aspire to make a name in the tough competitive world without forgetting where they come from. After giving some of his best performances, he has now left behind a spot that will be very difficult to fill.
Here are the five things about Sehwag that I will always remember him by.
1. He had an unshakeable belief in himself, and did not slow down even when he neared the century mark
Many established batsmen go into a shell when they approach the nineties, so as to carefully tread towards a 100. But not Sehwag. When he approached nineties, there were always those blazing sixes and fours to reach the magical number. His approach taught me that when we are on the verge of a major landmark, it is self-belief that helps us conquer all barriers.
2. His records are proof enough of his talents and self confidence
Virender Sehwag holds a number of records. He was able to secure test runs faster than anyone in the history of cricket, and has the record of the fastest triple century – 300 off 278 balls, made in Multan in 2004. He is also the only Indian to have scored two triple centuries in Test Cricket. The second one was 319 against South Africa in Chennai.
3. He was simplicity personified and never forgot his roots
In a television show where Sehwag came in along with Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh last year, he was honest enough to tell the world that even on international grounds, he is more comfortable when conversing in Hindi. And this is not something that many would be able to say out loud easily. Sehwag also portrayed immense humility when on the eve of his retirement he told the world that were it not for Saurav Ganguly, who sacrificed his opening slot for Sehwag, he would not have become the cricketer he finally became. In the world of cricket he was Mr. Affable, and it would be difficult to find another such humble and affable person after him.
4. He had a significant role to play in the shaping of many cricketing careers like that of Laxman, Dravid, and even Dhoni!
Sehwag could easily scare the wits out of the bowlers of the opposite team. So much so, that for all the following batsmen, a good match used to be more like a bed of roses for them to shape up their innings. This was displayed in full force in 2003 when India was playing against Australia. The manner in which Sehwag opened the innings – the Aussie bowlers did not even know what hit them!
5. He gave back to the game that made him what he is today
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Perhaps in his heart Viru was aware that in order to facilitate a structured entry for kids in the world of cricket, one needed to move beyond setting coaching centres and rather create opportunities for them to be in the throes of sport from their formative years. Thus, Sehwag School of cricket has emerged as one of the finest sporting schools in India, and it has been Sehwag’s gift to the sport that made him who he is today.
And this is what other cricketers had to say about him:
“Didn’t see Viv Richards bat in person but I can proudly say I have witnessed Virender Sehwag tearing apart the best bowling attacks,” said MS Dhoni about one of Indian team’s best openers.
This is what Sachin Tendulkar had to say:
.@virendersehwag leaves his signature on the game with his tremendous achievements. Loved his instinctive approach to batting & life. 1/2
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 20, 2015
And Virat Kohli:
And Yuvraj Singh:
Honouredto hear his voice befor announcing his retirement one of the greatest batsman of altime a legend and a great friend @virendersehwag
— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) October 20, 2015
Virender Sehwag was a terminator for whom reputations did not matter. The only things that mattered to him were his self-belief and his ability to play the game by its merit rather than the opponent’s glory. And now that he has retired, cricket will never be the same for me again.