Amritbani : No Fear Sehwag

New Delhi:

What makes Sehwag so endearing is his ‘No Fear’ approach to batting, he is modern day cricket’s equivalent to the suicide bomber, firmly committed to the team’s cause, unmindful of the terrible consequences he might have to endure. He bats the way he does because his confidence is sky high, the self-belief boosted by a generous dash of arrogance and raw aggression. For him the ball matters, not the bowler and the ball is meant to be smashed. Sehwag sees cricket as an intricate power play of domination and authority, of conquering bowlers and making them bowl the length he wants. Sehwag started his journey as a one-day player but averages 50 plus in Tests. He is the fastest Indian to reach 3,000, ahead of SMG and SRT. People thought his technique loose and predicted disaster for him in the role of an opener. But he made 195 at Melbourne, hundreds in England, New Zealand, and South Africa. And, not to forget, the monumental 309 at Multan.

Test cricket boils down to back foot play and successfully handling short balls. But Sehwag is a fierce striker off the front foot, plays a scorching square cut and a wonderful back foot drive but no hook, no pull. His batting fuses style and punk and his aggression works, as reflected in his remarkable consistency, because it rests on sound fundamentals. He plays straight, hits through the line, is balanced with a still head and has decisive footwork. And so special are his natural gifts that the reaction time (to judge length and line) is quicker than that of a top trained sniper. Already, since he exploded on the scene with a debut hundred in Tests, Sehwag has left a profound impact on Indian cricket. While Dravid lends solidity and dignity to the middle order, Sehwag lights up the start like a Dipawali cracker.

Dravid is the earnest law enforcer who plays by the book, respects law and upholds the grammar of cricket. Sehwag is vastly different — he is more the flamboyant, ruthless film inspector who operates on the fringes of law to suppress deviant bowlers, a devilishly driven, trigger-happy cop who will employ unorthodox means to punish opponents. But Sehwag is much more than a blazing rocket that lights up the sky before disappearing into the depth and distance of darkness. This creative artist is a strong-willed individual with clear ideas and possesses strength of character that makes him stand out in a group. Such qualities, together with a raging thirst to excel and a firm commitment to the team, makes him a player to watch out for. Clearly, Sehwag is destined to play a prominent part in moulding the Indian team in the years to come, and this destiny is not a matter of chance, an opportunity decided by fate. He is a product of a resurgent, confident India, a shining example of youth that is skilled and confident. And very much on the ball.

Amrit Mathur is media manager at BCCI