In the second installment of his video blog, Directly Rajdeep Sardesai (DRS), the CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief on how Virender Sehwag is truly a man apart.
It was ironical today that when Virender Sehwag broke the world record for the highest individual score in one-day internationals – only the second individual to score a double-century – in the commentary box was Sunil Gavaskar.
Just rewind to 1975, India versus England in the World Cup where Gavaskar, an all-time great, took 60 overs to score all of 36 not out. And here he was, exulting in the idea that an Indian opener was scoring, in 42 overs, a double-century. Times have changed between the world of Sunil Gavaskar and the world of Virender Sehwag.
Both are indeed truly great but of an entirely different kind. In fact, Sehwag is in a sense sui generis. I don't think there has ever been an Indian cricketer quite like him. Someone as fearless, someone who simply doesn't go by the Wisden grammar of cricket, but one who has created his own grammar of the game. If the first ball of the match is short and wide outside off stump, you were taught in school to leave it, because as opening batsman you have to play in the 'v'.
Well, with Sehwag you can be sure that if he is given that short ball outside the off stump he is going to hit it over third man for a six. That's the nature of the batsman he is. Sehwag is unique in that sense and I don't think we really understand what a phenomenon he has been.
Whenever you ask an opposing bowler who the Indian batsman in the last decade they most fear, it will be Sehwag. Perhaps they respect a Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid more for the fact that they've been there for so long and played on all kinds of wicket and score mountains of runs. Perhaps they will admire the elegance of a VVS Laxman and the tenacity of a Sourav Ganguly, but if you asked a visiting opponent who the one Indian cricketer is that they really fear, and the answer, more often that not, will be Virender Sehwag. That is what makes Veeru so special; the ability to really instil fear in opponents, and to make a good ball a bad ball.
He has scored a triple-century in one day of a Test match twice. How many cricketers have scored triple-centuries twice? Sehwag is one of the few. Think about it: he's the only Indian cricketer to have scored a triple-century in Test cricket and he’s done it twice. Now he's become the second Indian cricketer, after Sachin Tendulkar, to score a double-century in ODIs which means the kind of game he has is able to cut across all formats.
In fact, sometimes one wonders why Sehwag didn't score a century in ODIs earlier. Maybe he just finds it too easy at times and throws it away. Today he was focused, and to think that he was so focused when he was supposedly out of form suggests the kind of batsman that he is. Sehwag is just a unique cricketer.
If I were to pick all-time Indian XI in Test cricket, forget about one-day cricket, you can be sure that first two names I'd pencil in at No 1 and 2 would be Virender Sehwag and Sunil Gavaskar. Hopefully, you'd have Gavaskar still there at the end of the day, 80 not out, and Sehwag, 250 not out, and India would be 330 for no loss. That would be the perfect Indian opening pair.