Early Christmas for Virendar Sehwag

Virender Sehwag will go down in history not only as the man who changed the rules of batting but also as a world record breaker. On Thursday, he sent into oblivion Team India colleague Sachin Tendulkar's record of 200* in an ODI, raising the bar to 219.

As one of the finest batsmen of his generation, and possibly any other, he shows a degree of sustained hostility at the batting crease that has changed the very way modern cricket is played.

Sehwag seems to bat as he wishes in any format, be it a Test, an ODI or a hit-and-giggle T20 game. He scores his runs in all three formats at virtually the same rate.

Remarkably, he is one of three batsmen in world cricket with two scores of over 300 in Test cricket.

He was actually on the threshold of a third when he was seven runs away, which is just another indication of his ability to score his runs at a frenetic pace.

He has no equal among his peers for sheer audacity of strokeplay as we saw in his bilstering series of sixes and fours in his record-breaking innings. And he hits the ball so fiercely he also seems to have the luck of fielders putting him down, as Darren Sammy did when Sehwag was on 170.

The coaches may complain that he defies the manual in not moving his feet. He can, however, use them to create room as he does in carving balls to the off side in trademark glides or on planted feet help balls over slip as he did once for six in Indore.

The magic lies in his hands which have the power of an ironmonger, as if he were smashing hot metal into shape with scything blows of the hammer.

In ability to hit the good ball for boundaries he may have had no equal in the history of cricket. If he has to hit it in the air, so be it, such strokes often fetch six.

His batting philosophy has always been beyond the technique of cricket. The T-20s came in time for him to make as much an impact in them as he has in the world of Tests and ODIs.

No wonder then that even in his worst form slumps his place in the team has hardly been questioned.

In a year that has not exactly been great for him in all three formats he comes up with this year-ending surprise that carried the hint that having missed the Diwali fireworks he was catching up by celebrating an early Christmas.

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