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I'm an entertainer, says run-machine Sehwag

Last updated on: December 4, 2009 22:56 IST

I'm an entertainer, says run-machine Sehwag

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Harish Kotian

One thing is obvious when you watch Virender Sehwag bat: he is not chasing records or personal landmarks; he is out to destroy bowlers.

Ask him to describe his batting, and he proudly declares: "I am an entertainer."

Indeed, what entertainment he provided his fans in the ongoing third Test against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne stadium during the vintage innings of 293 from a mere 254 deliveries, bombarding the boundary boards with a massive 40 fours and seven sixes.

In fact, it would not be wrong to call him the most explosive batsman of the modern era or 21st century.

Statistics reveal his story: Sehwag holds the record for three out of the four fastest double centuries in Test cricket; five, if you take the top ten list!

His Test statistics are mind-boggling too. In his 72nd Test, he has already amassed 6,248 runs, at an average of 52.50 and strike rate of 80.44, hitting 19 half-centuries and 17 hundreds, of which 12 are above the 150-run mark.


Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Reuters
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'It is a missed opportunity, but there is always next time'

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On Friday, he missed out on a chance to post a world record third triple century and overtake the legendary Don Bradman and Brian Lara, who also hit two triple tons.

Sehwag hit the fastest triple century in Tests when he scored 300 off just 278 deliveries against South Africa in Chennai last year. The second 300 he scored against Pakistan in Multan in 2003-04 sits third on the list, having reached the landmark off 364 deliveries.

Asked whether he was disappointed at failing to get his third triple ton, he was nonchalant as ever.

"I am very happy that I at least I scored 293 runs. Still, I made a record that after two triple centuries I am able to score 290. I am extremely happy and proud of this.

"I am not at all disappointed. I think I said earlier that I at least scored 293 and I am the luckiest one. I was very happy even yesterday (Day 2 of the third Test) because I got 284 runs. Yes, it is a missed opportunity, but I think there is always next time," the 31-year-old said.


Image: Virender Sehwag after scoring a triple century against South Africa in Chennai last year

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'This is the third best knock'

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted a flurry of sixes towards the end of play on Day 3 to finish unbeaten on 100, helping India post a record 726 for nine declared in 163.3 overs, their highest total in Test cricket.

The Delhi opener rated the knock as his third best innings in Test cricket.

"This is the third best knock. The two triple centuries come first and then this one."

On being compared with former West Indies batting great Vivian Richards, who also evoked similar fear in the bowlers' minds, Sehwag said, "It is a great honour if someone is comparing me with Vivian Richards."

He thanked team physio Nitin Patel and team masseur Ramesh Mane, who helped him recover from back spasm during the tea interval on the second day.

"It is like you fielded for a day or a day-and-half. I don't think I was tired; mentally, a little bit, but physically I was okay. I was getting spasms in my back, but Nitin Patel and Mane Kaka helped me a lot during the tea break. They gave me a couple of things, they gave me massage also and it really helped me. Thanks to Nitin Patel and Mane Kaka, they did a fantastic job with the players," he said.


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'I knew that if I bat the full day we would be in a good position'

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So what's the formula for consistently coming up with such mind-boggling knocks?

"Just bat. I always tell myself that I can bat full day. If there is a ball to be hit, I just look to hit it. I don't worry about the runs or the dot balls, but just look to bat.

"I knew that if I bat the full day we would be in a good position in the Test match. I was able to bat the full day and we are in a good position."

The ace batsman also revealed that a chat he had with Gary Kirsten after failure in the first Test in Ahmedabad played a major role in his successes in the two Tests since.

"In Ahmedabad I had a chat with Gary Kirsten and he told me, 'if you just survive five or six or ten overs then you cannot imagine after that because you would be able to score quicker than others and score big hundreds and you know how to get big hundreds. So just try to survive for half an hour or 40 minutes. After that you can play your shots'. I tried that and it worked," he said.


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'If you're in good form, just score as many runs as possible on the same day'

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Sehwag hopes others can learn from him and make sure that they make most when they are batting in good form.

"It shows that you have to bat the full day and utilize the full day. Tomorrow is a new day and you don't know what is going to happen. If you are batting in good form and have spent a couple of hours at the wicket, just utilize and score as many runs as possible on the same day. Tomorrow it is a different ball game. The same thing happened with me. I was in brilliant form yesterday and today I scored just nine runs and got out," he said.


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'I don't practice the reverse sweep'

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What was also evident about Sehwag's brilliant knock was use of the reverse sweep quite a lot against the spinners. One was stunned when he revealed that he had never practiced that shot in the nets.

"I never played a reverse sweep in practice. I knew that whenever I want to play I can play it. I played that shot because I did not want the bowler to settle down. When you reverse sweep or sweep, the bowler thinks twice before bowling - whether I should bowl quick, slow, doosra or off-spin. So there are a lot of questions he asks himself," he said.

Sehwag said his family was delighted and kept urging to get the triple hundred.

"They were very happy and excited and congratulated me after the game. They wanted me to get to 300 and 400 and I was not able to do that. Still, they are very happy. My son was kissing me on television."


Image: Virender Sehwag

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