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The men who will matter

The star-studded Indian batting line-up failed to deliver on their recent tour of New Zealand.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2003 23:54 IST

The star-studded Indian batting line-up failed to deliver on their recent tour of New Zealand. Most batting reputations were severely damaged, even Sachin Tendulkar struggled to impress. But if there was one batsman who salvaged something from the tour, it was Virender Sehwag, who showed that he has a lot to offer as an opening batsman.

He scored a fine century at Napier in the second game and followed it up with another in the sixth at Auckland. He was the only batsman on both sides to score a century. During a relatively short career of only 57 matches, he has already scored five hundreds and eight fifties with an impressive strike rate of 98.83. Prior to the New Zealand tour, his strike rate exceeded 100 runs per 100 balls faced.

He has clearly modelled himself on Tendulkar. They look alike in stature and it is difficult to separate them when they are wearing helmets. They play some exciting and at times, extraordinary shots.

Sehwag tries to destroy the confidence of the bowlers. He tries to intimidate and demoralise the bowlers because balls that should be defended are sometimes dispatched to the boundary with very little effort. He is a superb timer of the ball and along with Sanath Jayasuriya, is the most explosive batsman in world cricket.

If there is a criticism of his play, it is his lack of footwork — he appears to stand and deliver and if the ball is anywhere near his arc, it is efficiently and effectively dispatched to the boundary. Whilst he scored runs in New Zealand conditions when most others failed, he too had his share of misses. When the ball seamed and bounced, his technique was glaringly exposed. I suspect that the true South African pitches will suit him and it would not surprise me if he scores more runs than any other Indian batsman during the series.

First Published: Feb 05, 2003 23:48 IST