A country obsessed with ratings, rankings and numbers will do well to take notice. “I think this is the best ODI innings I have played,” said Virender Sehwag after setting up an incredible win. “It was a good batting wicket and anyone who got set here could play a big knock. I like to score runs quickly because that’s my style of batting.”
Sehwag’s 146 was a reminder to those who quibble about the success of a batsman with minimalistic footwork who is often typecast as a batting bully. Sehwag showed once more that a lack of foot movement was no hindrance to scoring runs, irrespective of the form of the game.
Those who watched Sehwag on Wednesday will agree that there are too many layers to his batting to call him a brute. In the course of his 102-ball innings Sehwag was sublime, cheeky, smart and aggressive.
But since everything he hits finds a way to the fence, that line between a strokemaker and a ‘batting bully’ has been obliterated.
Sehwag waltzed down the track to hoick a couple of sixes, pulled a couple even when the bowler targeted his head and planted some in front of the wicket by virtue of sheer strength. His 17 fours contained crisp flicks off the pads, drives through cover, lofted shots over the bowler’s head, cuts and back-foot punches. In his better than run-a-ball 146, 104 runs came off boundaries.
Sehwag’s aggression is occasionally his downfall, but on the day he converted a drawback into a strength, manufacturing amazing shots off even good deliveries.
Sehwag, who notched up his highest one-day total (146) set the innings up perfectly with a 153-run opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar and followed it up with a 98-ball 156-run second wicket stand with MS Dhoni.