India was reeling on 68 for 4 on a fiery pitch in Bloemfontein against a hostile South Africa bowling lineup in the 2001 series. In came a 23-year old batsman who was making his debut in that match. Hailing from Delhi, the self-confessed Sachin Tendulkar fan, Virender Sehwag joined his idol on the pitch. The situations and batting with his partner might have made him nervous but what followed soon after left one and all surprised. The little-known batsman matched his idol stroke by stroke as both made memorable centuries. The world knew that a star has been born and the Delhi batsman did not disappoint anyone.
One of the greatest openers of the game, he changed the dynamics of the game. While his contribution to ODI cricket is surely immense, he will be always remembered for his Test career. With minimal footwork, he scored heavily in the longest format of the game at a faster pace than anyone in the history of the game. The sheer sight of him standing with the bat on the pitch sent chills down the spine of bowlers.
Always criticized for his technique that made him prone to getting out, the Nawab of Najafgarh paid little attention to them and kept on shattering records with his willow. He became the first Indian to score a triple century in Tests in 2004 when he decimated the Pakistan bowlers in Multan. Such was the impact of his batting in that match that legendary spinner Saqlain Mushtaq said: “I must admit, he put some fear into me.” The leggie bid adieu to the game soon after.
His penchant for boundaries made him a nightmare for even the best of the bowlers. While the likings for boundary made him one of the finest of the game, one can say that the very habit brought his downfall on several occasions. Who can forget his innings in 2003 at Melbourne Cricket Ground when he was dismissed on 195 trying to hit Simon Katich for a six. But perhaps that very careless nature made him one of the most loved players across the globe.
He retired from the game as one of its finest exponents, the one who will be always remembered for his fearless approach. An average of 50, a strike rate of 80, two triple-centuries (and a 293), six of the 20 fastest centuries by a Test opener, it’s tough to find another Sehwag.
The legendary opener is celebrating his 38th today and so we are presenting to a video as a tribute to him. Enjoy: