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Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag (born on 20 October 1978, in Delhi) also known as "Viru" is an Indian cricketer (batsman) and member of the Indian national cricket team since 1999 (one-dayers) and 2001 (Tests). He is an extremely attacking right-handed opening batsman and an occasional right-arm off-spin bowler. He is the record holder for the highest score made by an Indian in Test cricket in a single innings (319), the fastest triple century in Test cricket (reached 300 off only 278 balls) and is the only Indian to score a triple century in Test cricket. He is one of the only three players to have scored two triple hundreds in Tests, along with Don Bradman and Brian Lara.

He was appointed as vice-captain of the Indian team under Rahul Dravid in October 2005, until poor form saw him replaced by V. V. S. Laxman in December 2006 as Test vice captain and January 2007 saw him dropped from the ODI team and later from the test team as well. During his term as Vice-captain, Sehwag skippered the team in place of injured Dravid in 2 ODIs and 1 Test Match.

Early years

The son of a grain merchant, Sehwag spent his childhood in a bungalow in a joint family with siblings, uncles, aunts and sixteen cousins . Though now settled in New Delhi, the Sehwag family hailed from Haryana. Sehwag was the third of four children born to father Krishan and mother Krishna Sehwag, with two older sisters Manju, Anju and younger brother Vinod. His father attributes his interest in cricket to a toy bat which he was given when he was seven months old He attended Arora Vidya School in Delhi, and pestered his parents to let him play cricket, on the basis that he was not academically gifted. His father tried to end his career when he broke a tooth as a child in 1990, but Sehwag evaded the ban with the help of his mother

Cricketing career

Early domestic cricket

Sehwag made his debut for Delhi cricket team in first class cricket in the 1997–98 season. He was selected to the North Zone cricket team for the Duleep Trophy the following 1998-99 season, ending fifth in the total runscoring list. The following year he was fourth on the Duleep Trophy run scoring list, including a 274, the highest score of the competition. This was attained against South Zone at Agartala in just 327 balls, and followed a rapid 187 from just 175 in a Ranji Trophy match against Punjab. He was then selected for the U-19 team national team, which toured South Africa. He was seventh in the 2000–01 season with two centuries, but his consistency earned the attention of selectors and he became a regular member of the national team in mid 2001.

Since his international career started, he has continued to play for Delhi in the domestic competition whilst he is not occupied with international duty and has captained North Zone to victory in the Deodhar Trophy in 2004–05 and 2005–-06. He also had a short stint with Leicestershire in county cricket in 2003, but a back injury lead to a mutual termination of the contract.

ODI career

Sehwag's ODI career started poorly when he scored 1 against Pakistan in Mohali in April 1999. His bowling performance was also ineffective and expensive, conceding 35 runs off 3 overs.

Sehwag wasn't given another match until the home series against Zimbabwe in December 2000. Sehwag rose to prominence in his fourth ODI match in March 2001 when he scored 58 off 54 balls, against Australia in Bangalore. Combined with his three wickets, he help earn India a victory and was awarded his first man of the match award. He followed this with an unproductive tour of Zimbabwe in mid 2001.

Sehwag had his international breakthrough in Sri Lanka in August 2001 when he was promoted to the opening slot for the tri-series also involving New Zealand. The promotion to open the innings came because regular opener Sachin Tendulkar was absent due to a foot injury. In the match against New Zealand that was to decide the finalist, he scored his maiden century from 69 balls. The century is the second fastest ODI century for an Indian behind Mohammad Azharuddin's 62 ball effort, also against New Zealand. This was his first score beyond 50 in ten matches and saw him named man of the match. This performance earned him a regular spot in the ODI squad in the middle-order. An innings of note in 2002 was the 22 ball half-century against Kenya in Bloemfontein, tying the second fastest 50 by an Indian.

With Ganguly's injury in the India-England ODI Series in January 2002, Sehwag received another opportunity to open the innings which he seized by scoring 82 from 64 balls in Kanpur in an eight-wicket Indian victory. With good performances as opener, Sehwag was made a permanent fixture at the top of the innings. Sachin Tendulkar, who opened in the England ODI series, was moved to middle order - a strategy that reaped dividends for India in 2002 in ODI matches. In the England series and the preceding tour to South Africa, he compiled 426 runs at 42.6 with four half-centuries .

After modest returns on the tours of the West Indies and England in early and mid 2002, he scored 271 runs at 90.33 in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka, with two man of the match performances. After running out Ian Blackwell, he was involved in a 192 run partnership with Ganguly, scoring 126 from 104 balls to help set up an eight wicket victory against England in a group match. He then scored 58 from 54 balls and took 3/25 including two wickets in the final over to help defeat South Africa by 10 runs to help India progress to the final.

In late 2002 he scored an unbeaten 114 from 82 balls that included a 196 run partnership with Ganguly to lead India to a nine wicket win over the West Indies in Rajkot. He was the only batsman to score a century in the 7 match New Zealand ODI Series where he made two centuries - 108 in Napier in an Indian defeat and 112 in Auckland in a one-wicket victory.

Virender Sehwag had a mediocre 2003 Cricket World Cup, scoring 299 runs at an average of 27, he top scored with 82 in the loss against Australia in the final.

Later in 2003, he scored his fourth century and earned Man of the Match award against New Zealand in Hyderabad, scoring 130 and putting on a 182 run partnership with Tendulkar, to lay the foundations for a 145 run victory. In spite of it, Sehwag struggled for consistency in 2003 and 2003/04 ODI series where he had only one century and 3 fifties, two against minnows - Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and one against Pakistan, in 22 matches.

Even with his inconsistent form, he earned 3 MoM awards in 2004 and 2004/05 ODI season with one award each against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In the match against Pakistan in Kochi he scored 108 off 95 balls, his first century in eighteen months which set up a 95 run victory.

Sehwag then started a two year streak without a century in ODIs, as well as having his ODI tour of Pakistan in early 2006 curtailed due to a shoulder injury. His drought in limited overs cricket has puzzled cricket experts because of the consistent performances in Test matches with a high scoring rate has not translated into significant contributions in the ODI format of the game. Sehwag was dropped from the ODI Squad for the WI-IND 4 Match ODI series. With debate over whether he needs to be included in the 2007 Cricket World Cup squad, captain Dravid's insistence on his retention paved the way to being named in the world cup squad. However, despite this assurance, Sehwag's form has continued to decline, and he has now failed to pass 17 in his last seven games. India have won only two of those games.

Sehwag started the 2007 World Cup in poor form, only being picked for the side because of Rahul Dravid's wishes. He scored poorly in the first group match but bounced back to hit a magnificent 114 from 87 deliveries against lowly ranked Bermuda. The Indian team scored 413-5, the highest team total in a World Cup match, and went on to win the match but this was their only win in the tournament.

ODI summary

In ODI cricket, Sehwag has enjoyed the most success against New Zealand, scoring four of his eight centuries against them, whilst averaging 45 in 16 games. Sehwag's worst record is against world champions Australia, against whom he averages only 22 in 17 games, with just two half centuries. Sehwag's scoring rate is extremely quick, at 96.76 runs per 100 balls (it is exceeded only by six current players, only one of whom has played 100 matches), but his average is a fairly ordinary 31.50. His average is highest whilst playing in New Zealand, and is higher in the subcontinent and Oceania than in other places. He has had more success in run chases, averaging four more than when batting first, as well as scoring five of his nine centuries in run chases. He has led India on three occasions, due to the unavailability of Dravid due to illness, injury or rotation policy.

Test career

Sehwag's maiden century in mid-2001 in Sri Lanka was not enough to gain selection in the Test team for the corresponding series. Sehwag made his Test debut in late 2001 in the First Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein as a middle-order batsman. He scored 105 on debut despite the South African win. He was given a one match suspension by ICC match referee Mike Denness for overappealing in the Second Test in Port Elizabeth, which lead to political dispute amongst the ICC and the two countries. He returned for the home series in 2001-02 against England and Zimbabwe. After scoring two half-centuries in the preceding series, he was promoted to a makeshift-opener on the 2002 England tour after the failure of previous openers and an experiment with wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta. He scored 84 in the new role at Lord's and then a century in the Second Test at Trent Bridge, and has batted there in Test matches ever since. He scored his maiden home-century of 147 in the First Test against the West Indies in the 2002-03 home season in Mumbai, which was at the time his top score in Test matches, earning him his first man of the match award. After a poor tour to New Zealand, he scored passed 50 for the first time in 9 innings when he scored 130 in a Test at Mohali against New Zealand in late 2003 .

He then scored 195 against Australia on Boxing Day 2003 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. His dismissal on the first afternoon lead to an Indian collapse and eventual defeat.

In early 2004, he became the only Indian to score a triple century in Test cricket, with 309 against Pakistan in the First Test in Multan, beating V. V. S. Laxman's previous Indian record(281 against Australia) and helping India to a total of 5/675, the highest ever against Pakistan. India went on to win by an innings, with Sehwag named man of the match. He also scored 90 in the Second Test defeat in Lahore and was named man of the series for his efforts after being the highest run scorer and average for the series. He later auctioned the bat with which he made the triple century, for Rs. 70,000, to aid in relief efforts for the tsunami victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake .

In the First Test of the 2004 Border Gavaskar Trophy in Bangalore, Sehwag was fined for showing "serious dissent" towards umpire Billy Bowden following an LBW dismissal. Replays showed that he had hit the ball off the middle of his bat onto his leg, which later lead to an apology from Bowden. Sehwag scored 155 in the Chennai test match to set up a triple figure lead for the Indians, but the match was rained out on the final day with the Indians requiring 229 for victory. In the home series against South Africa that year, he scored 164 in the drawn First Test in Kanpur, and 88 in the Second in Kolkata, which India won to claim the series. Sehwag was again named man of the series.

Sehwag failed on the tour of Bangladesh, but on the 2005 home series against Pakistan, he scored 173 in Mohali, 81 in Kolkata and then 201 in Bangalore, totalling 544 runs at an average of 90.66 to win the man of the series award. He passed the 3000 run mark in Tests during the Bangalore Test, becoming the fastest Indian to reach the mark in terms of innings played. His performances over the preceding 12 months earned him selection in the ICC Test Team of the Year as well as nomination for Test player of the year.

He earned selection for the ICC World XI which played Australia in the 2005 ICC Super Series, where he top scored in the first innings with 76. He attracted some criticism at the end of 2005, having failed to pass 50 in four Tests against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. He also missed the Second Test against Sri Lanka in Delhi due to illness, but returned to the team in the following match in Ahmedabad and captained the Indians to victory whilst Rahul Dravid was ill.

Sehwag scored his first century in a year when he compiled 254 against Pakistan in the First Test in Lahore in January 2005, the highest ever Test score at a strike rate of over 100 and the second fastest double century ever. In doing so he was involved in a 410 run partnership with captain Rahul Dravid, the highest ever against Pakistan and in Pakistan, and just four short of a new world record opening partnership in Test matches. Sehwag went on to lampoon the Pakistani attack lead by Shoaib Akhtar. Sehwag however failed to pass 50 in the following two Tests against Pakistan, and aside from a 76* in the Second Test in Mohali against England, fell seven times for less than 20 runs to the new ball , leading criticism of his position in the team.

During the 2006 West Indies tour, Sehwag narrowly missed out on scoring a century in the opening session of the Second Test in St Lucia, ending with 99 at the interval. He went on to compile 180 in just 190 balls, and also collected four wickets for the match to be named man of the match. Although Sehwag had collected more than 50 wickets in ODIs, he was substantially used as a Test bowler for the first time on the West Indies tour, taking nine wickets in the first two Test matches when he was used in the absence of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh as India opted to only use one specialist spinner. He had previously only three wickets at Test level . He was also fined in the First Test for excessive appealing.

Poor form saw Sehwag being dropped from the Test team in 2007. In December 2007, he was recalled for India's tour of Australia after being omitted form the list of probables, amid calls for his return by several commentators, most notably Ian Chappell .

Though he was omitted from the team for the first two matches, both of which India lost, he was picked for the third Test at the WACA in Perth after scoring a century in a tour match against the ACT Invitational XI . He played a key part in India's victory, making 72 runs at a brisk pace and taking 2 crucial wickets He scored a match-saving 151 in the second innings of the fourth Test in Adelaide. This was his first century in the second innings of a test match, and was notable in that he rejected his usual, aggressive batting style in favour of a more defensive approach which was the need of the hour.

Sehwag continued his good form against South Africa in the home series in April 2008, scoring 319 in the first Test in Chennai, having reached 300 off just 278 balls, the fastest triple century in test history. Sehwag became only the third batsman after Sir Donald Bradman and Brian Lara to score 2 triple centuries in Test Cricket. He scored 257 runs the third of the match, which was the most runs scored by an individual batsman on a single day of a Test match since 1954, when Dennis Compton made 273 runs on the second day of the Nottingham Test against Pakistan .

He has a habit of making big centuries, with his last eleven centuries having all been over 150, including two triple centuries and further three double centuries which surpassed Sir Donald Bradman's record of having seven consecutive centuries beyond 150.

He has been noted for his record against Pakistan, averaging over 90 against and in Pakistan, scoring four centuries against India's arch rivals. The disparity in his average in the first and second innings is often noted, being 68 and 25 and all but one of his fifteen Test centuries having come in the first innings.

Sehwag in Non-India Colours

He was selected in the ICC World XI for the 2005 ICC Super Series against Australia in late 2005, but only managed 64 runs at an average of 21.33 . Earlier in 2005, he was selected for the Asian Cricket Council XI for the fundraising match against the ICC World XI in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Playing style

Sehwag was often compared to Sachin Tendulkar in his early days due to the similar batting style, build and appearance. He has acknowledged numerous times that he consciously attempted to model his playing style on Tendulkar's in his youth.

Sehwag's technique is often cited as being particularly unorthodox, often backing away (considered technically incorrect) to free his arms whilst playing his shots, in particular to cut or drive spinners inside out. He is frequently cited by commentators for his extremely strong (physically) square cutting and upper cutting and power through the off-side.He is also an excellent player of the late cut. In particular his tendency to strike the ball in the air and risk dismissal is a trait which has seen him noted for his chancy and adventurous mindset. He is also noted for a relative lack of footwork, with his timing often attributed to his eyesight. Of late, Sehwag has shown a proclivity to be dismissed by inswing deliveries, something attributed to his leaden-footed batting style. He has also got dismissed playing the cut shot when the ball was too close to his body to cut, especially in limited over matches.

Virender Sehwag is often noted for his extremely aggressive style of batting, and in 2005 he was described by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as the "most exciting opener in the world due to his consistency in Test matches, though his strike rate in Test cricket was inferior to that of Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi. Sehwag has also been noted for his apparent disregard for the match situation, exhibited by aggressive batting even when his team is in a poor position or after being out manoeuvred by the bowler in the recent past. This is a two-edged sword as it allows him to not be psychologically hindered by previous failures, but can also lead to excessive aggression. He was quoted by Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer as a sophisticated slogger.

As on 1 March 2007, Sehwag has an average of nearly 65 in the first innings of test matches where he has scored 3374 runs, 12 centuries and 8 fifties in 52 matches. In the second innings, his average drops to 25 and has scored 781 runs and 4 fifties in 50 innings. The first and second innings difference of 40 runs is the one of the highest and indicates a lack of ability in dealing with more difficult batting conditions as the pitch deteriorates. However, his match-saving second-innings 151 against Australia at Adelaide during the 2007/8 Border-Gavaskar series, went a long way towards repairing that image.

Controversy

In November 2001, Sehwag was involved in controversy in the Second Test match between India and South Africa at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, when he was given a one Test ban for "excessive appealing" by ICC Match referee Mike Denness. He was one of six Indian players to be receive bans, four of which were suspended bans. The unprecedented severity of the bans precipitated an international cricketing, political and administrative crisis with the Indian cricket establishment threatened to call off the tour unless Mike Denness was removed as match referee from the third test match. ICC backed Mike Denness and the South African board backed the Indian cricket establishment and did not allow Mike Denness to enter the stadium on the first day of the third test match. ICC declared that the match was 'unofficial' and 'friendly five day match' and the series was officially declared as a 2 match series and South Africa as 1-0 winners. The subsequent England tour to India was placed in jeopardy when India picked Sehwag in the test squad. Subsequent to this development, ICC issued a warning that any match with Sehwag in the cricket team will not be considered an "official" Test match until Sehwag had served his one match ban. After negotiations with ECB and ICC and in general interest of cricket, Sehwag was dropped from the team for the first Test against England.

Personal life

Sehwag married Aarti Alhawat in April, 2004 under heavy security in a media publicized wedding which was hosted by Arun Jaitley, the union law minister of India at his residence. The couple have a son, born on October 18th 2007.

Sehwag is fondly referred to in the media as the Nawab of Najafgarh, Najafgarh being his home locality in Delhi. A lifelong vegetarian, Sehwag owns a vegetarian eatery, Sehwag Favourites, which opened in late 2005 in the Fun Republic cineplex in Delhi, following the footsteps of his role model Sachin Tendulkar. The majority of the products on the menu are named after cricketing themes related to his memorable innings, such as Multan Ke Sultan Ki Tikdi, meaning dish for three persons, which alludes to his triple century in Multan and is priced at 309 rupees. There are plans to expand the chain across India with a second outlet already planned in Ludhiana. Sehwag does charity work for UNICEF .

International centuries

International Test centuries

Virender Sehwag's Test Centuries
Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 105 1 South Africa Bloemfontein, South Africa Springbok Park 2001
[2] 106 7 England Nottingham, England Trent Bridge 2002
[3] 147 10 West Indies Mumbai, India Wankhede Stadium 2002
[4] 130 16 New Zealand Mohali, India Punjab Cricket Association Stadium 2003
[5] 195 19 Australia Melbourne, Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground 2003
[6] 309 21 Pakistan Multan, Pakistan Multan Cricket Stadium 2004
[7] 155 25 Australia Chennai, India MA Chidambaram Stadium 2004
[8] 164 28 South Africa Kanpur, India Green Park 2004
[9] 173 32 Pakistan Mohali, India Punjab Cricket Association Stadium 2005
[10] 201 34 Pakistan Bangalore, India M. Chinnaswamy Stadium 2005
[11] 254 40 Pakistan Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2006
[12] 180 47 West Indies Gros Islet, St Lucia Beausejour Stadium 2006
[13] 151 54 Australia Adelaide, Australia Adelaide Oval 2008
[14] 319 55 South Africa Chennai, India MA Chidambaram Stadium 2008
[15] 201* 59 Sri Lanka Galle, Sri Lanka Galle International Stadium 2008

One Day International centuries

Virender Sehwag's One Day International Centuries
Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 100 15 New Zealand Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club 2001
[2] 126 40 England Colombo, Sri Lanka R. Premadasa Stadium 2002
[3] 114* 46 West Indies Rajkot, India Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground 2002
[4] 108 52 New Zealand Napier, New Zealand McLean Park 2002
[5] 112 56 New Zealand Aukland, New Zealand Eden Park 2003
[6] 130 78 New Zealand Hyderabad, India Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium 2003
[7] 108 108 Pakistan Kochi, India Nehru Stadium 2005
[8] 114 169 Bermuda Port of Spain, Trinidad Queen's Park Oval 2007
[9] 119 - Pakistan Lahore, Pakistan National Stadium Karachi 2008

Achievements

Awards

Records

  • Only Indian batsman to have scored two triple centuries in Test cricket. He is the third batsman in the history of Test cricket, to score two triple centuries (first two being Sir Donald Bradman and Brian Lara).
  • Third fastest century in ODI cricket by an Indian - 100 runs off 69 balls against New Zealand in 2001
  • Second fastest ODI 50 by an Indian - a record, he shares with Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev and Yuvraj Singh - when he took 22 balls against Kenya in 2001
  • Five double centuries - the first three of which came against Pakistan. Greg Chappell is the only other player to have scored multiple double centuries against Pakistan (2)
  • Highest score by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. He first achieved this when he scored 309 against Pakistan in Multan in 2004, and bettered his previous record in March 2008 at Chennai against South Africa by scoring 319.
  • Fastest triple century: His second triple century scored at Chennai on 27-28 March 2008 against South Africa was the fastest in terms of balls faced by any batsman (off 278 balls).
  • Consecutive 150+ scores in Test cricket: He holds the record for consecutive test hundreds converted to scores of 150+, at 11.
  • He is one of the only five players to have scored more test hundreds than test fifties(15c/14f), along with Don Bradman(29c/13f), Azharuddin (22c/21f), Matthew Hayden (30c/27f) and Kevin Pietersen(13c/11f) as on August 7, 2008.
  • Two consecutive double century partnerships in a Test innings. He achieved this record, for the first two wickets in Chennai on 27-28 March 2008 (with Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid respectively). This was the first time in Test history that the first two wickets in an innings have resulted in double-century stands.

Test Matches Awards

Man of the Series Awards

# Series Season Series Performance
1 India in Pakistan Test Series 2003/04 438 (3 Matches, 4 Innings, 1x100, 1x50); 6-0-27-0; 2 Catches
2 South Africa in India Test Series 2004/05 262 Runs (2 Matches, 3 Innings, 1x100, 2x50); 1 Catch
3 Pakistan in India Test Series 2004/05 544 Runs (3 Matches, 6 Innings, 2x100, 1x50); 5-2-14-0; 2 Catches

Man of the Match Awards

S No Opponent Venue Season Match Performance
1 West Indies Wankhede, Mumbai 2002/03 1st Innings: 147 (24x4, 3x6); 2-0-7-0
2nd Innings: 1 Catch
2 Pakistan Multan 2003/04 1st Innings: 309 (39x4, 6x6); 2-0-11-0
2nd Innings: 3-0-8-0; 1 Catch
3 Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore 2006 1st Innings: 254 (47x4, 1x6); 6-0-24-0
4 West Indies Gros Islet, St Lucia 2006 1st Innings: 180 (20x4, 2x6); 16.1-5-33-3
2nd Innings: 30-9-48-1
5 South Africa Chennai 2007/08 1st Innings: 319 (42x4, 5x6); 11-1-37-1
2nd Innings: 22-2-55-1
6 Sri Lanka Galle 2008/09 1st Innings: 201 (22x4, 4x6)
2nd Innings: 50 (6x4, 1x6)

ODI Cricket Awards

  • Sehwag has not won a Man of the Series Award in ODI Tournament

Man of the Match Awards

S No Opponent Venue Season Match Performance
1 Australia Bangalore 2000/01 58 (54b, 8x4); 9-0-59-3
2 New Zealand Colombo (SSC) 2001 100 (70b, 19x4, 1x6); 3-0-26-0
3 England Kanpur 2001/02 82 (62b, 14x4); 1-0-9-0; 1 Catch
4 England Colombo (RPS) 2002/03 126 (104b, 21x4, 1x6); 5-0-25-0
5 South Africa Colombo (RPS) 2002/03 59 (58b, 10x4); 5-0-25-3
6 West Indies Rajkot 2002/03 114* (82b, 17x4, 2x6); 6-0-29-0
7 New Zealand Napier 2002/03 108 (119b, 9x4, 2x6)
8 New Zealand Auckland 2002/03 112 (139b, 11x4, 3x6)
9 New Zealand Hyderabad 2003/04 130 (134b, 15x4, 2x6)
10 Zimbabwe Hobart 2003/04 90 (102b, 5x4, 5x6); 10-0-40-2; 1 Catch
11 Sri Lanka Colombo (RPS) 2004 81 (92b, 6x4, 2x6); 9-0-37-3
12 Bangladesh Dhaka 2004/05 70 (52b, 9x4, 2x6); 6-1-31-0
13 Pakistan Kochi 2004/05 108 (95b, 9x4, 3x6); 5-0-26-0
14 Bermuda Port of Spain, Trinidad 2007 115 (87b, 17x4, 3x6); 5-0-15-0

References

External links


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