Virender Sehwag has shut his critics, including yours truly, for having doubted his credentials and his ability to fight back. To score a triple-century at any level can be a feat worth millions and to achieve it twice only speaks volumes for the phenomenon that Sehwag is.
Sanath Jayasuriya was a batsman who was known to belt the ball with ferocity. It hardly mattered to Jayasuriya who the opposition was and what the conditions were. The same can be said of Sehwag. He has no concern for anyone and he plays by his rule. The only language he understands is aggression and it was this aggression that stood out in his fantastic performance with the bat at Chennai.
Sehwag has brought about a revolution in batting. The manner in which he approaches the task is unique and the ease with which he settles into his role of destroying the bowling is indeed mind-blowing. How do you stop this batsman? I doubt if any bowler has an answer.
We grew up being told not to play any shot in the air. Sehwag defies that approach with consummate ease. What matters is the end result and here Sehwag wins hands down because the ball travels like a bullet when he hits. And he does not always hit hard. There are times when he just caresses the ball into racing to the boundary.
In fact, Sehwag has such standards that it would be tough for those wanting to emulate him. Sehwag will be Sehwag and let us leave him in the zone that has helped him revive his career. I want to compliment Anil Kumble for backing Sehwag on the tour to Australia. A true captain got the best out of a true fighter.
Returning to the Test series, it is indeed a matter of concern that Sachin Tendulkar has been ruled out on account of a groin strain. Here, I would like to see the team management take the field at Ahmedabad with five bowlers. We were one bowler short at Chennai and given the strength of our batting India need to rethink their strategy for the next Test.
It was disappointing to see S Sreesanth and R P Singh struggle. R P was coming back from an injury and was understandably cautious but Sreesanth was nowhere near the form he showed in South Africa. I would like to see them performing when the conditions are adverse. Like Kapil Dev used to.
To excel on unresponsive pitches is an art and Kapil was a marvel, bending his back on dead tracks and yet reaping a rich harvest. Kapil was a great example of how to bowl on placid tracks.
Amidst the big scoring by Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Hashim Amla and Neil McKenzie, there was a performer who remained unsung. The eight wickets that Harbhajan Singh took were at par with the batsmen. He did not flinch and came out with his head held high on a pitch that tested his skills. Dravid deserves praise for his remarkable concentration and application.
It is also time we stopped complaining about the state of the pitches. Nothing has changed in 75 years of Indian cricket and I don't expect things to improve in a mere 75 days. I don't think it is possible to prepare fast pitches all over the country and it would be wise to have surfaces that suit the Indian bowlers.
Cricket is a batsmen's game and it will remain so in times to come. It is for the bowlers to develop guiles and snare the batsmen instead of constantly complaining of lack of help from the pitches. True, the batsmen did well at Chennai but didn’t Harbhajan too make an impact?
Madras has become Chennai, Bombay is known as Mumbai and Calcutta is Kolkata. But the state of pitches has remained unaltered. So why suddenly look to change the pitches. Without wanting to make drastic changes, let the authorities stick to the kind of pitches that have helped Indian cricket develop over the years.
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