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Disciple edges out the master

Virender Sehwag being placed above Sachin Tendulkar is the most controversial aspect of this Report.

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2009 00:09 IST
HT Sports bureau

Virender Sehwag being placed above Sachin Tendulkar is the most controversial aspect of this Report. This was closely examined and debated but Sehwag's superior match-winning propensity without a significant drop in overall consistency just about clinches the issue. Sehwag has 4 Man-of-the-Match awards in Tests India has won, Tendulkar 2. Sehwag has single-handedly changed the fortunes for his team in 3 Tests, Tendulkar arguably just once. Otherwise, they are even on most counts - Sehwag averages 51 overall and away, Tendulkar 54 overall and away, Sehwag 52 in Tests won (55 without Bangladesh), Tendulkar 64 (59 without Bangladesh).

Tendulkar has built huge statistical monuments. Sehwag has two triple centuries, the second of which is the fastest of all time. Sehwag's strike rate of 78 (as opposed to Tendulkar's 54) emphasises his match-winning ability, both in the extra time it gives his team to get the opposition out twice, but also in how much it demoralises opponents and buoys his own team.

Sehwag's sample size of 66 Tests is nowhere near Tendulkar's (156) but substantial in its own right. Tendulkar's remarkable consistency over 19 years cannot be underestimated, but Sehwag's relative inexperience cannot be held against him. Perhaps the clincher is Sehwag's acceptance of the challenge of opening the batting in Tests and being such a huge success. Tendulkar's reluctance to open in Tests, despite being such an accomplished ODI opener, just edges Sehwag ahead — at least for the time being.

Excerpts from the Report call Sehwag "the biggest blind spot in the history of Indian cricket" while saying Tendulkar is "the most talented batsman India has seen" and also "the greatest support act in the history of Test cricket." Quite a departure from popular perception of the Apprentice and the Master.

(Full Report at holdingwilley.com)