Record-holder Se­hwag is only get­ting started

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

NEW DELHI: Viren­der Se­hwag’s world record score in one-day in­ter­na­tion­als will re­main un­der con­stant threat from the swash­buck­ling opener him­self, ac­cord­ing to the In­dian bats­man’s coach.

Se­hwag (pic­tured) hit a breath-tak­ing 219 off 149 balls against West Indies in In­dore on Thurs­day to sur­pass Sachin Ten­dulkar, the player he was com­pared to early in his ca­reer, as the owner of the high­est in­di­vid­ual score in 50-over cricket.

A.n.sharma, cred­ited for not ru­in­ing Se­hwag’s nat­u­ral free-flow­ing bat­ting when he took the school stu­dent un­der his wing, was not sur­prised by the achieve­ment.

“It was long over­due,” Sharma, who runs a cricket academy in the cap­i­tal, said. “Hon­estly speak­ing, I ex­pected him to score 200 in one-day­ers ahead of Sachin.

“I lost count how many times I told him that he just needs to bat 40-odd overs. He does not re­quire more overs to get there. He has such a game.

“I think he’s bet­ter even (than) this knock. All he needs is a match on a good wicket where the ball comes nicely onto the bat and the out­field is fast. It’s not a dif­fi­cult task for him.”

Ac­cord­ing to Sharma, Se­hwag has it in him to sur­pass the record Test score of 400 not out set by West Indies great Brian Lara.

“Of course it’s not easy but Se­hwag has al­ready hit two triple cen­turies and can score so quickly that you don’t want to rule him out.

“Of course Test matches are a dif­fer­ent ball game al­to­gether. To score 400, he would have to re­turn the next day, get his eyes in all over again and re­sume the good work.

“What works for him is that he is never bogged down by any mile­stone. If he’s bat­ting on 94, he would like to reach the 100 with a six. That’s how he plays his game and I never tin­kered with that.”

One thing that Sharma did tinker with though was Se­hwag’s foot-work.

“He had this habit of drag­ging his back foot out of the crease while play­ing his shot. To stop that, I tied one end of a rope to his leg and an­other to a post. He prac­tised like this for one month to cure him­self,” Sharma quipped.

Since those days, Se­hwag has es­tab­lished him­self as pos­si­bly the most dev­as­tat­ing bats­man in in­ter­na­tional cricket. His un­com­pli­cated bat­ting phi­los­o­phy has made him a spec­ta­tors’ de­light and led to com­par­isons with former West Indies great Viv Richards.

“I say it again! I never saw Sir Viv bat but I’ve seen Se­hwag bat! What a player, 219 in a one-day game is next to im­pos­si­ble,” his team- mate Yu­vraj Singh tweeted.

Former Pak­istan cap­tain Ramiz Raja echoed this view.

“When Viv Richards re­tired I thought it was end of en­ter­tain­ment. But then came Se­hwag, the King of en­ter­tain­ment! Long live the King!”

Ten­dulkar too was happy that the record he pos­sessed now be­longed to a man, who early in his ca­reer, was dubbed a “Ten­dulkar-clone.”

“I saw his bat­ting to­wards the end. I’m very happy for him and also the fact that some­one who has bro­ken my record is my team-mate and an In­dian,” said Ten­dulkar. – Reuters

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