Yet another season beckons Virender Sehwag, bringing with it the hope of wiping out the forgettable batwork of the months gone by.
Leading to the IPL, Sehwag did little of note, save for some good knocks in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. A week before, the century against Durham while playing for the MCC in Abu Dhabi seemed to defy those who had branded him as a ‘has been’.
Sehwag is not just a batting phenomenon but a spectacle who commanded rapt attention. This was for two reasons — lest one be deprived of a brilliant shot, or the impetuosity leading to a novel dismissal.
But the loss of form, which by his admission, has overstayed, has reduced him from being a spectacle to a sideshow.
Ahmed, a 30-something man looking after operations at the Sharjah Stadium, took a break for supper, like many others, after Rajasthan Royals set a target of 192 for Kings XI on Sunday evening.
Just as Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara walked in, like the odd batting couple, Ahmed started to gulp down the food, dumped the plate in the trash tray and rushed to his seat, ensuring he missed nothing while Sehwag was at the crease.
A tuck and glide, Sehwag picked up two, it was a quiet first over. Shane Watson employed a deep point to counter his upper cut, yet Sehwag chose to challenge himself. A wide and wild slice off Dhawal Kulkarni, he had failed again.
Ahmed got up and said, “Ab kab marega yeh Viru (when will he hit out)”, and carried on with his work. The story was similar last Friday, against CSK. Ten balls, four boundaries, then castled while playing across the line.
It has been over a year since Sehwag exited the India team. The hope surrounding his comeback rested on the 2013-14 domestic series but it kept evaporating with every soft dismissal.
The slump has made little difference to his approach though. Recently, he said, “I still have a good three years of cricket left in me.”
It went with an earlier statement, “I have nothing to prove to anybody.”