Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir during the 4th ODI cricket match against West Indies at the Holkar stadium in Indore. PTI Photo
To understand Virender Sehwag's audacious game, one only needs to take a look at the picture collage of the strokes he played during his record-breaking innings in Indore. In one of them, he is a foot in the air while playing a backfoot shot towards point. In another, he is crudely braced for the slog over midwicket. That is Sehwag for you. Any talk about getting the feet close to the pitch of the ball and the nose on top of it at the point of meeting is left to the Tendulkars and Dravids.
His unorthodox style of play is not something coaches can ask their wards to model their game on, but the Delhi's dasher's super success has had even the purists marveling at his unique art of batting. For the batting gurus, he has become a great case study.
"In cricket, nobody is absolutely perfect. Everybody has his own technique. Javed Miandad had his own style, Asif Iqbal had his own, Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar) had his own. It is how you play and adapt yourself," says former India batsman Dilip Vengsarkar.
For Vengsarkar, technique is what clicks for you. "Unless you have technique you cannot last a day at this level. The bottom line is how many runs you have scored; elbow is high or not doesn't matter."
Dissecting Sehwag's game, Gundappa Viswanath, the champion bat of the 70s, says: "He plays away from the body but his hand and eye co-ordination is beautiful. His head is steady, the feet movement is not there but he comes on top of the ball and plays. He gets out in unusual manner but that is Sehwag for you."
Viswanath says Sehwag's defensive game is strong too. "He sometimes plays copybook style: head still, body behind the ball. Even when he plays the uppercut over the third man, it is played intentionally."