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.
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.
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.
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 .
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 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.
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 .
|Virender Sehwag's Test Centuries|
|||105||1||South Africa||Bloemfontein, South Africa||Springbok Park||2001|
|||106||7||England||Nottingham, England||Trent Bridge||2002|
|||147||10||West Indies||Mumbai, India||Wankhede Stadium||2002|
|||130||16||New Zealand||Mohali, India||Punjab Cricket Association Stadium||2003|
|||195||19||Australia||Melbourne, Australia||Melbourne Cricket Ground||2003|
|||309||21||Pakistan||Multan, Pakistan||Multan Cricket Stadium||2004|
|||155||25||Australia||Chennai, India||MA Chidambaram Stadium||2004|
|||164||28||South Africa||Kanpur, India||Green Park||2004|
|||173||32||Pakistan||Mohali, India||Punjab Cricket Association Stadium||2005|
|||201||34||Pakistan||Bangalore, India||M. Chinnaswamy Stadium||2005|
|||254||40||Pakistan||Lahore, Pakistan||Gaddafi Stadium||2006|
|||180||47||West Indies||Gros Islet, St Lucia||Beausejour Stadium||2006|
|||151||54||Australia||Adelaide, Australia||Adelaide Oval||2008|
|||319||55||South Africa||Chennai, India||MA Chidambaram Stadium||2008|
|||201*||59||Sri Lanka||Galle, Sri Lanka||Galle International Stadium||2008|
|Virender Sehwag's One Day International Centuries|
|||100||15||New Zealand||Colombo, Sri Lanka||Sinhalese Sports Club||2001|
|||126||40||England||Colombo, Sri Lanka||R. Premadasa Stadium||2002|
|||114*||46||West Indies||Rajkot, India||Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground||2002|
|||108||52||New Zealand||Napier, New Zealand||McLean Park||2002|
|||112||56||New Zealand||Aukland, New Zealand||Eden Park||2003|
|||130||78||New Zealand||Hyderabad, India||Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium||2003|
|||108||108||Pakistan||Kochi, India||Nehru Stadium||2005|
|||114||169||Bermuda||Port of Spain, Trinidad||Queen's Park Oval||2007|
|||119||-||Pakistan||Lahore, Pakistan||National Stadium Karachi||2008|
|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|
|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)
|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|