The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sehwag comparable to the Don, Sobers, Viv

The Pakistanis have dug their own grave by producing such a placid wicket for such a strong Indian batting line-up. And that too, after such a breathtaking and emotionally charged one-day series. The last one-dayer itself exposed how pressured the Pakistanis were.

It is difficult to get into the shoes of yesteryears’ heroes. To emulate them, Pakistanis need not only talent but experience too.

Having lost the final one-dayer, the Pakistanis looked demoralised, and after losing the toss in Multan their bowlers looked frustrated, so obvious from their body language.

I was absolutely shocked with flat Multan wicket. That, too, prepared by an English groundsman (Andy Atkinson). I am surprised that the PCB ignored the country’s own groundsmen who have been preparing wickets taking into account the home advantage. If India keep getting such wickets the Pakistanis can forget about the rest of the series. Time will come when Pakistan will find themselves in dire straits for this folly.

When Virender Sehwag started his career he sported this cover of thick hair. On Monday, with hours and hours of play in the sun with the helmet on, one can notice a small patch. The by-product has been great experience.

In Multan, Sehwag played a gem of an innings in scoring 309. It can only be compared with innings by greats like Sir Donald Bradman (I did not get to watch Bradman play, but heard a lot from my father, Lala Amarnath), Garfield Sobers and Vivian Richards. Sehwag has joined that elite club.

A lot has been said about Sehwag’s batting, footwork and more. But he is one of a kind. He has his own style and technique, which are very effective. Over and above, he has been a very positive player and plays his normal cricket in all given situations.

The Pakistanis kept feeding him outside the off which, as a matter of fact, is his strength. He played from the crease, but the swing of his bat and arm extension are too good. Add to this his hawk-like eyes and lightning footwork, which help him convert even a good delivery into an ordinary one…

Even a player of Sachin Tendulkar’s stature and experience could not match Sehwag’s style. Sehwag applied himself from the beginning.

India are lucky to have a lot of match-winning players, but Sehwag is special. I hope he continues he continues in the same vein. He has been the sole Indian to score a triple hundred in Tests and never looked in any discomfort against pace or spin. If Pakistani pace bowlers think they can dislodge the Indians with short stuff, then they are playing into the hands of the Indian batsmen.

I thought the Pakistanis would have learned from how badly they were belted in the one-day series. But I see they aren’t prepared to take in the lesson. If they keep at it, I’m sure they will be seeing a lot more of Virender Sehwag in this series.

Sachin reminds me a lot of Sunil Gavaskar. Not only with his cavalier style but with his obsession to perform and to live up to his reputation. Once he gets a measure of the wicket and condition, he goes ahead and makes his own gameplan. He was not as flamboyant as Sehwag, but he decided to play second fiddle to make sure India pile up a huge total.

Sachin’s timing was superb, but his grit and determination and running between the wickets in the heat also showed how hungry her is for runs.The declaration was a good one from the captain. It must have been a difficult decision when Sachin was batting on 194, but it also shows that team interest gets precedence over any individual’s.

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