Virender Sehwag can win the World Cup for India

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Virender Sehwag gets the World Cup started

And he can do it by scoring slower and hitting fewer boundaries.

We often look for individual match-winners and few are so obviously identifiable as Virender Sehwag. Yet cricket is a team game and teams can do more than individuals when they get things right.

Sehwag has said that he wants to bat 50 overs in World Cup matches. India are almost certain to win matches if he can do that, but not because he’ll always have scored 175, like he did against Bangladesh in the first match of the tournament. To be honest, 40 overs should be what he’s aiming for.

There are three main jobs to be done during a typical subcontinental one-day innings and Sehwag should aim to do the first two:

  1. Get your team off to a flyer at the start
  2. Score steadily in the middle
  3. Belt the ball with all your might at the end

Sehwag does the first of those by default. There are no worries there. Achieving the first is pretty much unavoidable because that is how Sehwag is made.

The second is where he actually needs to make an effort and adapt. He doesn’t need to turn into Shivnarine Chanderpaul or anything, turning into Mr Risk-Free Accumulation, but he does need to ensure he stays in.

That would properly set up part three of the innings. Much as people assume that Sehwag is the best man for the closing slog, he really isn’t. He’s not a computer game character. He gets tired. A tired Sehwag is inferior to Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan who are at five, six and seven in India’s batting line-up.

  1. Sehwag start
  2. Sehwag-style consolidation
  3. Yuvraj/Dhoni/Pathan fresh, liberated assault

No other team in this World Cup can match that and that should be what India aim for. The batsmen responsible for the first and third parts of that are so good at their roles that those passages of play are almost risk-free. Bizarrely, it’s the middle part where things could go wrong – but not if Sehwag can will himself to drop down a gear.


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  1. The fact that they have Tendulkar, Gambhir and Kholi so capable of #2 is what’s scary.

    The Banglas can leave this match behind them with dignity. If this batting lineup clicks, it’s unstoppable.

  2. He was a world apart today. It will be very interesting to see what strategies the better bowling attacks come up with – perhaps teams will again look to strange him with short stuff.

  3. Even better, quote of the match from Man of the Match – “Everyone did well, other than Sreesanth.” We do not like Sreesanth. We also did not like Tamim Iqbal taking dot balls like this was a test match. I guess I, er, we like to cheer for underdogs.

    Yeah, Sehwag is something special.

  4. “Much as people assume that Sehwag is the best man for the closing slog, he really isn’t. He’s not a computer game character.”

    To put this in context, if Sehwag bats to a point that he is tired, he need not be a video game character. The bowlers already are.

  5. He is definitely not a computer game character.

    What he is, is a character. He is a character to us without us actually knowing anything at all about his personality, his thoughts, his life. His character comes to us entirely from his batting. How many other people have been able to do that in cricket – generate an entire persona through their play? Afridi is one, certainly. Symonds is another, although he supplemented his cricket character in other ways. Chanderpaul is a third, in completely the opposite way – we think we understand him as a person through his batting.

    These are the people who make cricket. The people who play with such whatever-it-is that makes us think that it is the entirety of their being. More power to Sehwag and his ilk. They make watching sport worthwhile.

  6. I have never seen Sehwag’s ilk and yet I still understand what you mean. There is no need to see his ilk.

  7. @ Dandy Dan – I’ve just submitted some photos of my cat Edwin being conspicuously indifferent to cricket. I posted about this on the Facebook wall of a friend who is cricket mad. Only friends can see this, and another FB friend (of both of us), is Dan who was at the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. I just wondered why, seemingly out of the blue, someone would mention seeing cats on the site, and my thought was that it might be him.

  8. I posted a couple of skunk but the Post Office knocked them off the counter then closed for 3 days to clear the smell. How about a Gavaskar in the 1st World Cup? 33 runs in 60 overs is a statement!!!

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