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Clue to Viru: Defend, then attack

Patience is key for first few balls, then he can revert to his own style, writes Atul Sondhi.
None | By Atul Sondhi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 30, 2006 10:59 PM IST

On Tuesday, the early morning metro trains from Nazafgarh-Uttam Nagar area to Barakhamba Road saw an unusual rush.

Colourfully attired, they were not the usual suspects, the office goers. They were the young and the old of Nazafgarh.

Chatting incessantly and discussing nuances of cricket, the crowd looked in hurry to reach the destination Kotla to see their hero deliver. 
The chance is that by 9.30, some of them were in reverse gear. And not without reason. Just eight balls into his 'blistering' knock, the local blue-eyed boy Sehwag tried to clear the in-field, but only succeeded in depositing the ball into the safe hands of Plunkett.  
It was a reckless shot considering the match situation. The first match of the series was still into the third over and  India had another out-of-form batsman in the form of Gambhir at the other end. That, India still went on to win is another story.
Sehwag is the future

Less than a year back, during that 'fateful' interview for the selection of Team India coach, Greg Chappell was asked about the future of Indian cricket. 
The Australian instantly named Sehwag. At that time, the to-be-coach was only echoing the sentiments of the millions of Indian fans. 
Wonder what he has to say now, after the repeated failures of 'India's future'.  
Last 25 innings
In his last 25 innings, taken as chunks of five innings each, Sehwag has never averaged more than 40. And twice he has averaged between 25 and 30. 

Veeru's Last 25 ODI knocks 




1-5 136 27.20 0/1
6-10 154 38.50 0/1
11-15 182 36.40 0/0
16-20 159 31.80 0/1
21-25 127 25.40 0/0


This kind of consistency is acceptable as long as Sourav, Tendulkar and Laxman are part of the ODI team. 


But with so many new faces trying to establish themselves, such performances can only lead to collective gloom and failure at some or other stage. 


Modes of Dismissals 



In his last ten innings, Sehwag had fallen five times to leg before wicket, 'keeper’s catch or was castled. Twice he was caught in the infield. 


Runs Opp Venue Year Mode of Dismissal
7 Eng Delhi 2006 Caught at mid-on
67 Pak Rawalpindi 2006 Run out
5 Pak Peshawar 2006 Caught by keeper
27 SA Mumbai 2005 LBW
30 SA Kolkata 2005 Caught by keeper
77 SA Bangalore 2005 Not out
1 SA Hyderabad 2005 Caught at backward point
35 SL Baroda 2005 Caught by keeper
22 SL Rajkot 2005 Caught at short extra covers
19 SL Ahmedabad 2005 Bowled


Now seven such dismissals can only happen to a batsman in poor form. Out edging, mistimed pull, poor footwork – That is certainly not vintage Sehwag.  


As of now, the England bowlers seem to have sorted him out. Tempt him and get him. Out of the eight deliveries they bowled to the Indian opener, five (over 60 per cent) were short-pitched balls. Flintoff's brigade was hoping for indiscretion, and they did not have to wait too long.


India have drawn the first blood in this battle of attrition. But in the remaining matches, the hosts will require some big knocks from the dashing batsman. 


Against England, whenever Sehwag has scored big (a fifty plus knock), India have won. India will welcome some more careful shot-selection from this wonderful willow-wielder.


Shanth, Gadhadhari Bheem, Shanth

Do not give way to temptation! 



'Jaane bhi do yaaron'

had an immortal line

'Shanth, Gadhadhari Bheem Shanth'

(Be peaceful, mace-wielding Bheem, be peaceful). 


Sehwag has the strokes and the flair to succeed. The seeds of failure are in his aggressive mindset irrespective of the situation. Sehwag needs to rein in his mind, and the runs will follow.  


Defence sometimes can be the best form of attack! And the best exponent of this philosophy bats at number three in the Indian team. Maybe Dravid can teach a trick or two to Sehwag. 


When out-of-form, patience for first 20-25 balls is the best defence, and then Sehwag can go back to being a Nawab -- the Nawab of Nazafgarh.  

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