Sehwag for me epitomizes cricket in its pre-baptised form. Before the coaches told you that bat and pad go together, front foot should move in accordance to the line of the ball and before you were ever told that it was necessary to get your eye in before you go after the bowlers.
Sehwag like millions of young aspiring cricketers in India started hitting the ball the only way we like to see it, in the ‘highlights package’ mode. Playing in the local park, one only had time for 5-7 over matches with about 5 batsmen waiting to have a go at the bowlers of the opposition. In those few overs if you wasted more than 3 balls trying to get that front foot in place, that bat and pad together and getting your eye in, you were kindly asked to commit proverbial suicide by knocking off the bails with your bat the next ball so that someone else could have a go.
Somewhere in those gullies of Najafgarh, Viru perhaps decoded cricket in a manner that no one else had ever done before. I present to you my view of the decoding.
Introspective Viru thus posed with the challenge of understanding cricket and his role in the game, asks himself some questions:
Q: What is the aim of a batsman?
A: To score runs.
Q: How do you score runs?
A: Connecting ball to bat and then either running between the wickets or ensuring the ball crosses the boundary.
Q: But I need to score those runs fast don’t I?
A: Yes, so let’s stick to hitting boundaries, can save up on the energy of running between wickets.
Q: What does one need to do to hit a lot of boundaries?
A: Hit the bad balls hard and rattle the bowler.
Q: What if the bowler is having a good day?
A: Ok, scratch previous answer, we now hit all balls hard.
Q: What’s this footwork commentators on TV keep talking about?
A: Must be for when you charge down the track to hit the spinners.
This attitude of his has helped him develop the confidence to go about his business with a single minded focus unabashedly (or rather, very bash-edly :P).
It’s not for nothing that he’s one of the most dangerous openers the world of cricket has ever seen and the only batsman to reach his 300 with a six and that too his very first.