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The final leg for Virender Sehwag

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If you play cricket with a season ball a couple of times, you'll realise you just can't stop playing. Unless of course, you get hit by the ball in your noggin' and fall dead or injure yourself in a way that disallows you from doing cricket-y stuff. You get addicted to the smell of the ground, even if there's a 'shouchalay' aka public toilet bordering it. You fall in love with the sound of a crisp shot. You fall in love with the way the ball swings. Every moment spent not playing makes the Theory of Relativity that much clearer. Apart from monetary issues and obligations, it's perhaps only the hard work involved that forces you to reconsider playing. Those who don't mind that, can never truly stop.

Professional cricketers find it harder to stop doing what pays them with money and inner satisfaction. After a certain point, putting in the hard yards becomes a passion rather than a hindrance. While the body ages, the mind still holds onto the childish euphoria derived from the sport. When they mature, though the desire to play doesn't completely go away, some realize it's time to call it quits. Others are forced to do so.

To prolong a career, decisions like batting at no. 4 are considered. Virender Sehwag being the subject of this insinuation. It seems an admission of his dwindling powers. This move says he is no longer confident against the new ball. That could be because his reflexes have slowed down and his eyesight has weakened. Thus his exceptional talent is no longer exceptional and cannot compensate for his technique or the lack of it. The move to bat at no. 4 is a horny twenty year old virgin ; desperate. Having said that, the only way he should be allowed a spot in the team is if he scores mountains of runs and not on the back of his reputation, which he built as an opener. His recent Test scores, including Ind A vs WI A are 7, 6, 19, 2, 0, 49, 23, 9, 30, 25, 117. The one century in his last 11 innings came against England at Ahmedabad. His international century before that came against New Zealand in 2010, also at Ahmedabad. Since then his Test average has dropped drastically, from 60+ to 30.

 

 

Virender Sehwag Year wise Performance

 

The question the selectors need to ask themselves is whether an admittedly weakened Sehwag is better than an in-form Rahane, Yuvraj, Raina, Rohit etc. Sandeep Patil has done a fabulous job thus far. It doesn't seem like he will commit the folly of picking Sehwag hastily.

 

 

Batting Position Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s
Opening 98 168 6 8124 319 50.14 9780 83.06 22 29 15 1149 88
Number 3 3 1 0 5 5 5 4 125 0 0 0 1 0
Number 4-7 8 9 0 374 105 41.55 562 66.54 1 2 1 69 2

 

Sehwag scaring bowlers world over has been and still is a treat. He played a valuable part in many a victory. But maybe it's time his part ends in this ongoing orchestra called Indian cricket. In an orchestra, the maestro needs to conduct and ask a player to stop. The selectors need to play that part.

The player is never the best judge of when he should retire. Only the somewhat quantifiable factors of form and fitness should be considered while making this decision. But when the player himself thinks about it, factors like love for the sport, money, a fear of moving on and the need to go out with one special innings confound this decision. It should be in consultation with the player, but the final decision should be made by the selectors. They shouldn't ask him to retire, but drop him when he doesn't perform and not pick him again unless he scores heavily in domestic games.

For Sehwag, that seems quite distant. Good technique doesn't guarantee success but gives you a higher chance of surviving a good ball. Sehwag's chances are therefore, quite low. He could make a comeback and prove me wrong. But I think his time is up.

Stats by: Karna Yajnik



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