It is always a delight to watch Sehwag score runs and often I’ve had the best seat in the house — the non-strikers end’ — when he has done so.
What makes Viru special is his ability to hit the good balls for fours. Invariably, all special players have at least one such stroke that stamps their authority on the opposition. In Viru’s case, it is the square-cut. If he’s hitting it well, you know he’s at ease with himself and has gauged the pace and the bounce of the track to perfection.
The basics of playing a cut are similar to those of playing a pull — bat goes over the height of the ball in the back-lift and then comes down on it horizontally. To execute a cut, the ball must be pitched short outside the off-stump.
When the ball is pitched short and has some width on offer, the batsman, ideally, should go back and across and then go hard at it. But Sehwag has his own unique way.
Instead of going back and across, Sehwag goes only backwards —towards the leg-stump — and creates the width to execute the shot. This enables him to free his arms even though the ball is not that wide.
However, there’s a flip side to it. Sometimes, when not going across, the batsman may choose the wrong ball to cut — which is either too close to his body or just nips back in after pitching. The fallout of this is that he gets cramped for room and ends up chopping the delivery back on to his stumps.