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IPL 7: Virender Sehwag’s ton is positive sign, but hold back India comeback talks

Virender Sehwag batted with the same flamboyance and flair the world was accustomed to © IANS
Virender Sehwag batted with the same flamboyance and flair the world was accustomed to © IANS

Virender Sehwag smashed a brilliant ton for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 Qualifier 2, but has some work to do to come back into the Indian team, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

Virender Sehwag batted with the same flamboyance and flair the world was accustomed to. There was also that typical Sehwag-touch, with an innocent backdrop involving his son complaining that his friends teased him because his “dad didn’t score runs.” And didn’t Sehwag save his son from them by literally bullying the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 Qualifier 2 at Wankhede Stadium on May 30. It was an innings that rolled back times and refreshed memories from when Sehwag unleashed his dominance on all bowlers.

Throughout the IPL 2014, Sehwag has looked in decent touch for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) outfit. He was getting many starts, but apart from that one fifty against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Cuttack, he failed to convert them into big scores. He batted with the same fearlessness, smashing them through the off side with minimal footwork, but would often lose it in one moment. He needed to carry on and make that good score.

The great thing about Sehwag’s ton was the way he kept going on and on. Even as he crossed milestones, his approach was unhindered and he kept attacking the opposition. Batting in the 90s, he was surely targeting the boundaries in his typical style. Some of the shots through the off side were fantastic. One of them was hit so hard that the sweeper, who only moved a few feet, had no chance to stop it. And, when the spinners were on, he almost flat-batted the full deliveries down the ground.

These strokes did feature earlier in the IPL, but they all came together in one package on Friday at Wankhede Stadium. There was that look in Sehwag’s eyes, spurned by his son’s wish, to go out there and make a big one. He was his usual self, enjoying along the way, yet showing the determination to make it count for his team. That was how Sehwag batted during his big innings in the past. With this knock, Sehwag has moved to the sixth spot in the list of leading run-getters in the IPL 2014.

Keeping this in mind, there is a buzz on the social media about a possible comeback. Sehwag last played for India in early 2013 and has been out of the side since. He did play for India A later in the year, but then had a terrible domestic season. Many felt that his hand-eye co-ordination had tapered off with age and his fitness wasn’t the best. With this innings, Sehwag has shown that he has the hunger to score runs and still has the ability to do it.

However, Sehwag doesn’t warrant a comeback only on this knock. He does have more to do, particularly in First-Class cricket. A T20 performance shouldn’t be a criteria to judge him just yet and he has to build on this in the future. The only problem is that Sehwag will have little or no cricket in the months to follow. The First-Class season begins only around October and Sehwag will have a long lay-off. He may want to consider a stint in County cricket to perhaps push his chance for a comeback and stay in the groove.

To watch an old warhorse perform brings joy to cricket fans and they hope Sehwag has a little more in him to serve India. Cricket has seen funny comebacks and this may just be the beginning of one.

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

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