All hail the 'gambler' Sehwag
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, on Thursday, 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.
'Sehwag's feat is incredible'
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 today he has achieved the feat which I would like to describe as incredible," said Srikkanth.
Srikkanth felt it was important for Sehwag to hit peak form before the Australia series.
"He is an amazing player and it's very important that Sehwag touches the peak form by the time India leave for Australia. The greatest thing about Sehwag is that he is an honest person. He was blaming the openers for not getting enough runs on the board during this ongoing series. The top-order included himself also and he did not mince word before criticising himself. So he is a very straight-forwardkind of a person," added the chief selector.
Asked who he thought would have crossed the 200-mark barrier in ODIs, Srikkanth promptly replied, "West Indian great Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag. These are the guys capable of reaching the milestone."
Srikkanth said that Sehwag has matured as a player and his coming back to form is a good sign for Indian cricket.
'It was long overdue'
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.
Players shower Sehwag with lavish praises
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.
'He deserves every bit of it'
India players Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay too were in awe of Sehwag.
"It's a great effort. Once he got a triple hundred (in Tests) it was just a matter of time for him to bring up this one. I am a big fan of him. The fact that he can even dispatch good balls to boundaries makes him so different," Karthik said.
Vijay said, "I was just watching it. I am so happy for him. It's unbelievable. He is such a great batsman. He batted like himself."
Former chief selector, Kiran More described Sehwag as one of the greatest cricketer India had ever produced."One of the greatest cricketer India ever had. He is one of the biggest destroyers of spin bowling. Be it Test, One-day or T20, he bats with equal flair. If you see the records, Indian Test cricket have improved tremendously in last 10 years and Viru is a key factor."
Former Test player Deep Gupta said: "Only I am not surprised. it was coming i knew. great achievement. He deserves every bit of it. vintage sehwag. that's the diff between a great player and a good player. suddenly come to form."
'Sehwag always steals the show when he plays'
Former national selectors Sambaran Banerjee and Pranab Roy also heaped praise on Sehwag.
"Virender Sehwag always steals the show when he plays. He is an extraordinary talent. In today's innings he showed exceptional commitment, the way he was diving to save run-outs, says a lot. He was not in his casual self. Sehwag is simply terrific," Banerjee said.
Roy said: "Sehwag's batsmanship is all about taking risk but with perfection. He takes a lot of risks but he balances with amazing perfection, that's unbelievable. He is definitely one of the greatest batsmen. Whenever he gets going, India wins a match."
"This knock will definitely give Mahendra Singh Dhoni and co a huge confidence ahead of the crucial Australia tour. I don't want to compare him with Sachin Tendulkar. If you have respect for both then don't compare."
Indian tennis players Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza were effusive in congratulating Sehwag."Holy cow is all I am gonna say about that innings. Amazing stuff by Viru. As Johnny Mac would say "you can't be serious," said Bhupathi.
"What an achievement. What a player. Hats off to Sehwag," said Mirza.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar said, "Congrats Viru for that incredible 219 which was an epic inning! What timing and energy, indeed SehWhacked. Respect."
Indian Premier League CEO Sundar Raman said, "If one did not see Viru's innings could easily mistake the scorecard for a game of book cricket!"