At first, it was dubbed madness; method was added to it as the expert and layman alike searched for words to explain Virender Sehwag’s astounding success when everything about his all-or-nothing style pointed to failure. That was well over a decade ago.
Great reflexes, wonderful hand-eye coordination, tremendous bat speed, not to speak of Zen-like calmness at the crease, all these were added later as the Delhi batsman went on to become one of India’s great batsmen, and one who has perhaps played the most big impact innings since he made his international entry.
He left opposing teams tearing their hair trying to decipher his seemingly haphazard technique. And when the domestic Twenty20 league kicked off in 2008, Sehwag's clean hitting was among the biggest selling points.
Break from past
But the last few months have shown how much things have changed. Out of the Test team and then the one-day side, the original blaster of the current generation has faded into the background in this T20 season. And the Delhi Daredevils have particularly missed the firepower at the top, and that has hurt them badly.
As they prepared for their final home match of this edition, Friday’s clash against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the team’s inability to lift itself from the bottom half of the table and Sehwag’s waning powers would have made for much introspection in the Daredevils’ camp.
Sehwag has had one substantial knock in nine innings, a match-winning 95 not out against Mumbai Indians after missing the first three matches due to back strain. Against the Rajasthan Royals in the last game, he was bowled off a slower delivery from James Faulkner, which would normally have been deposited a few rows up in the stands.
On Thursday, a handful of fans at the Ferozeshah Kotla did not get a preview of the two big-hitting masters tuning up, Sehwag and Chris Gayle both skipped training. While the match is sold out, the buzz is more around Gayle. And the future leader of Delhi's big-hitting club — RCB skipper Virat Kohli.