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    Cricketers hail Viru, says good omen for Oz tour

    New Delhi: The cricket fraternity on Thursday hailed Virender Sehwag for becoming the highest scorer in the history of one-day cricket with a phenomenal 219, describing the feat as an "incredible" achievement and good omen ahead of the Australian tour later this month.

    The big-hitting Indian opener in the process surpassed team-mate Sachin Tendulkar's 147-ball 200 not out he had scored against South Africa on February 24 last year in Gwalior.

    Sehwag, who achieved the feat in the fourth ODI against the West Indies at Indore today, was eventually out after facing 140 balls and hitting 25 fours and seven sixes at the packed Holkar Stadium.

    Former India captain Sourav Ganguly led the tributes, saying the feat was expected given his positive attitude.

    "The double hundred will be a big morale booster for him with the tough Australian tour lined up. You will find the bowling attack, conditions different Down Under. This double ton will give him a big confidence for sure ahead of the Australia tour.

    "This is a great achievement and I congratulate Sehwag for the amazing feat. He has captained the Indian side on and off for a short while and I believe he could make up as a good captain. He is a gambler, a player who loves to take risks. If he keeps getting opportunity as a captain, he will come up with many such milestones," said Ganguly.

    Chairman of selectors Kris Srikkanth described Sehwag as one of the greatest players he has ever seen and termed the feat as 'incredible'.

    "I am very happy for Sehwag. He is one of the greatest players I have ever seen. He missed his double century (175) during the World Cup game against Bangladesh at Mirpur. But on Thursday he has achieved the feat which I would like to describe as incredible," said Srikkanth.

    Former Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said he always believed in Sehwag's attacking mindset.

    "I have always remained a great fan of Sachin Tendulkar and when he scored the double hundred against South Africa, one name that crossed my mind was Sehwag. In my view, other player who could have scored double ton was Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya because he also plays an attacking brand of cricket.

    "Both Sehwag and Jayasuriya have the talent and ability to score a double hundred and can only touch the mark. I would like to extend my congratulations to all Indians for Sehwag scoring a double hundred," said Qadir.

    AN Sharma, Sehwag's childhood coach, said the feat was long overdue and it was satisfying watching his student score a double ton.

    "It was long overdue. I always used to tell him whenever he stepped on the field that this time you have to score a double hundred. It was very satisfying finally watching Viru score 200 runs with such strokeful display. He has always played attacking game and that helped him achieve the milestone.

    "I hope Viru will be back to his usual self after this inning. My congratulation to him," said Sharma.

    Former Indian cricketer Abbas Ali Baig said, "Once Sehwag gets going, it's very difficult to stop him. I am delighted and congratulations to him."

    Meanwhile, the batsman was flooded with congratulatory messages in the virtual world.

    "I say it again! I never saw sir Viv (Vivian Richards) bat but I have seen Sehwag bat! What a player... 219 in a one day game is next to impossible!" Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh wrote on his Twitter page.

    Team-mate and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan wrote on Sehwag's twitter page, "Cheers! congratulations!! way to go buddy!"

    West Indies' explosive opener Chris Gayle wrote, "Well, I did watch some of that innings by Viru.... Brilliant striking!! Congrats on ur 219.. That's child abuse! The Mask would say, Smoking!"

    England cricketer Kevin Pietersen also lavished praise on Sehwag, calling him a genius.

    "If you are a cricket fan, pls switch your tv's on right now & watch a genius bat.. Sehwag destroying the WI.. World record coming.." Pietersen wrote on his Twitter page.