Michael Clarke beware, Sehwag is breathing fire

Sensational double century by Sehwag

By Kersi Meher-Homji

 Last night India won the one-day international (ODI) series against the West Indies 4-1 yet cricket lovers have not stopped raving about Virender Sehwag’s spectacular and record breaking 219 at Indore last Thursday.

Especially Australians as they will encounter the six-smashing fire-breathing phenomenon Sehwag in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne next fortnight.

And no wonder. Sehwag’s sensational double century last week against the West Indies in an ODI at Indore, India, is enough to put shivers down any opponent’s spine.

For those e-TIDU readers who did not watch skipper ”˜Viru’ Sehwag’s run-spree last week, let me recapitulate the highlights.

India won the toss and attacked with gusto, Sehwag (219 runs off 149 balls at a strike-rate of 147 belting 25 fours and 7 sixes) becoming the highest scorer in an ODI.

He is only the second player to score a double century in an ODI, the first being another Indian, Sachin Tendulkar, 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior last February.

This made Tendulkar (resting from the ODI series against the Windies and currently in Australia) exclaim, “I am very happy for Viru. It is even more satisfying that an Indian has broken my record.”

Sehwag added 176 runs with Gautam Gambhir (67) for the first wicket, then140 with Suresh Raina (55) at a run-rate of almost 8, till both — Gambhir and Raina — were run out.

Thus India was at one stage 1-316 and Sehwag marching towards his record-smashing double hundred.

India eventually reached 5-418 at a run-rate of 8.36. For those interested in trivia not a single maiden was bowled in the 50 overs.

Thanks to a fighting 96 from Denesh Ramdin, the visitors scored 265 but lost the match by 153 runs to lose the series.

Last night India under Gambhir defeated the Windies by 34 runs with Manoj Tiwari scoring 104 and adding 117 runs with Virat Kohli (80) for the fourth wicket before getting injured. For the opposition Kieron Pollard hit 119. Tiwari was made the Man of the Match and Rohit Sharma (305 runs at 76.25) the Man of the Series.

The focus is still on Sehwag as he received compliments from colleagues, opponents and former greats (as reported in CricInfo).

Chris Gayle, himself a six symbol: “Well I did watch some of that innings by Viru… Brilliant striking!! Congrats on your 219… That’s child abuse!”

Team mate Yuvraj Singh who is remembered for smashing England’s Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in September 2007 in Durban in the ICC World T20: “I say it again! I never saw Sir Viv [Richards] bat but I’ve seen Sehwag bat! What a player, 219 in a one day game is next to impossible!”

Derek Pringle, former England Test player and now a commentator:”Sehwag, the greatest slaughterer of bowling since IVA Richards.”

And finally from Australia’s opener Dave Warner on the eve of playing the Hobart Test against the kiwis: “Wow, watching Virender Sehwag score 200 plus was unreal. Well done mate.”

And so say all of us!

Australian spectators love Sehwag’s unorthodox batting as much as they cheer the elegant stroke-play of Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

The Melbourne crowd had the thrill of watching Sehwag in full flight in the December 2003 Test. For five hours he enthralled the Boxing Day crowd of 62,600 by belting five sixes and 25 fours in his spectacular 195. Despite his fireworks India lost.

In the 2004 Multan Test against Pakistan Sehwag romped to 309, the first triple century by an Indian. And he brought it up with a six. Two Tests and three months ago in Melbourne, he had been dismissed trying the same stroke five runs short of what would have been his first Test double-hundred.

At Multan Sehwag thrashed six sixes and 39 fours in his epic 309 off 375 balls.

His highest score is 319 at a strike-rate of 105 against South Africa in the March 2008 Chennai Test. It included five sixes and 42 fours. He had hammered 257 runs in a day.

So be it an ODI, a Twenty20 or a Test match six-o-maniac Sehwag provides entertainment plus to spectators but migraine to opposite captains.

Beware Australia, Sehwag is on fire!

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