Virender Sehwag – Rara Avis

Those for whom the bleep test is an approaching nightmare, the yoyo a yearning easily ignored, the skin-fold measuring device as welcome as a dentist’s drill, the press conference a void to be avoided and foot movement a distraction from the job of laying bat on ball, Virenda Sehwag is an idol.

Well, he may not be as fond of full-fat ice cream as Samit Patel, but he looks as if he enjoys food, doesn’t enjoy exercise and could be a computer salesman off the cricket pitch with short sleeve shirt and chinos rather than one of the world’s most exceptional batsmen.

But mark well, there is a great deal of technical skill and discipline on show when Sehwag bats.

In a game that takes place in the four dimensions of in/out, up/down, here/there and time, the odds are far better if the batsman uses either a perfectly perpendicular or a perfectly horizontal bat – anything in between increases the difficulties of meeting the ball at the batsman’s choice of contact point. 

In fact, it is more important that you hold to the straight and the horizontal than that you use the full face of the bat. 

Sobers and Lara both had the knack of applying the same swing but varying the amount of the face that was applied to the ball.  They could ‘slice’ and intentionally reach the straightest or finest of third man and fine leg boundaries.

Ditto Virender.

This special technique can only be built upon a spectacular pair of eyes but when these rare things come together you have master batsmen who can drive a ball in an arc of over 270 degrees, all along the ground, over the in-field or across the rope, whichever they choose.

This gives them so many relatively safe scoring directions from an identical ball that they pierce the field at will.

The early Ben Hollioake looked to have the same skill, but cricket was robbed of the chance to see how he would use it.

The remarkable thing about Sehwag is that this precision eyesight normally decays with age requiring a mid career change of technique.  Even Sobers and Lara found it harder and harder as they grew older and made adaptions, but Virender treated the world to a superb display this week in his 219 in 149 balls with 25 fours and seven sixes at the age of 33.


The conditions and the opponents were ideal but it was still an awesome display.

While the new religionists in cricket put their novitiates through the Inquisition of their gruelling torture physical conditioning, making them more injury prone on the way, they must have to shield their eyes from the heresy Sehwag preaches. 

His creed is sacrilege and all the more full of heavenly wonder for that.

And his calling and running between the wickets? 

Well that is in the Compton class of absolute entertainment.



Filed under Light roller

5 responses to “Virender Sehwag – Rara Avis

  1. You have an excellent blog here, very well done!

  2. Loved the lineage of Sobers and Lara put into play here. Just came across your blog, must say some utterly riveting reads. Keep ’em coming!

  3. Enjoyed that very much. New insights into Sehwag’s batting. I’d just posted about a version 2 a few days ago.

    • Binisajan,
      Thank you for your kind words and the link to your thoughtful piece. You make the point that both Sehwag and Warner have the mental ability to approach each ball with fresh eyes and without allowing the mind to interfere with the pace of time.
      Best wishes for your blog

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