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Sehwag: Showing spunk, spirit

At Hobart Sehwag sat in the dressing room visibly annoyed by the wait. "Yeh problem hai," he said. "Opening is good ? pad pehno, andar jao," writes Amrit Mathur.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 07:24 IST

At Hobart, slotted to play in the middle order, Sehwag sat in the dressing room visibly annoyed by the wait. "Yeh problem hai," he said. "Opening is good — pad pehno, andar jao."

Getting swiftly into action is one of Sehwag's strengths. Once in the groove (firing nicely, as captain Ganguly would say) there is no stopping him. He is Indian batting's great tadi master. Currently, when it comes to handing out a sound caning to bowlers, Sehwag is in a league of his own.

No less remarkable is his ability to stand erect, show spine and spunk. Sehwag's spirit is sturdy — it calmly withstands Brett Lee's fury and his typically arrogant Aussie stare. Short balls are ducked into or slashed imperiously over and through point. Steely glares from frustrated bowlers are dealt with disdainfully — Sehwag glares back.

Nobody accuses Sehwag of being short on self-belief, the opener knows how good he is and does not hesitate to inform others about this fact. In the last few Test innings, he got great starts but stumbled when in control. Someone less confident would have lapsed into doubt. Not Sehwag, he kept saying sab theek hai.

That is something Steve Waugh is not likely to say. Not long ago another comfortable Aussie triumph was on the cards as experts, history, tradition, conditions — and bookies — predicted India would be knocked down, rolled over quickly. And look what happened — Sehwag rudely punched them in the face.

On Friday, Aussie hopes were dented early as Ganguly called correctly. Sehwag wasted no time wading into the bowling, swinging his bat majestically, bludgeoning the bowlers into submission.

Sehwag's batting had swagger and style, an unbeatable, delicious mix of pure tadi and admirable technique. In his system, the ball is meant to be hit. There is no point pottering around. But behind this explosive aggression lies an organised cricket mind. Sehwag is spectacular yet scientific.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 00:24 IST