A cricinfo interview offers a fascinating insight into Virender Sehwag’s mind. The man has brilliantly reduced batting to an uncomplicated algorithm – see ball, check whether it is hittable, if yes hit it without fail. Defend only when defence is unavoidable. The state of the match, whether you are leading or behind or following on is simply irrelevant. Simple, no?

Certain things are crystal clear in his mind. Every ball is an opportunity to score runs. Don’t give up an opportunity, ever. Play each ball according to its merit, period. Unstoppable aggression coupled with technique has yielded big centuries in every country he has played – especially Australia and Pakistan. Remember his double century against a rampaging Ajantha Mendis who has the entire Indian team in a spin? Only Sehwag could do it! Not even Tendulkar comes close to the way he dominates the bowling. Perhaps Viv Richards did.

Saurabh Ganguly once said the when Sehwag watches other batsman defend, his typical reaction is “Chakka gaya” – an opportunity has been lost to score a sixer! He bats to score boundaries and sixers and I guess it must be hell for him to bat with Rahul Dravid, who represents the opposite end of the spectrum!

There have been players like this before. Notably Kapil Dev and Srikkanth. But it is Sehwag who has reached the apogee of this line of aggressive players. Cheeka, the batsman everyone loved, wasn’t technically very good. His aggression came good some times, but failed to get going more often. And Kapil relied on brute strength more than technique. It wasn’t calculated hitting, it just happened. Also Kapil was weighed down by the mores of his times for a few years. I think he started batting without any worries only after the 82 England tour. Probably took his cue from Sandip Patil in 80-81 in Australia.

India has produced only 4 world class batsmen – Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. Even supreme artists like Gundappa Viswanath, Azhar, VVS Laxman, and the technically perfect Vijay Hazare and the incredibly brave Mohinder Amarnath fall a little short of world class. More strength to him!

A video of one of his greatest innings. 195 at Melbourne in the 2003-04 tour. Look how much time he has to play his strokes!

Related posts:
Sehwag’s Interview at Cricinfo
The Genius of Sehwag – A Cricinfo Article
Simply, Sehwag by Prem Panicker
All Time Indian Test Cricket XI

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