Home > News >

Five steps for Virender Sehwag to make a roaring comeback to Indian cricket team

Virender Sehwag © PTI
Virender Sehwag was associated with the IPL side Delhi Daredevils since the tournament’s inception © PTI

Jan 14, 2014

Coaches, experts said forgotten opener’s return to the national team hinges on motivation and self-belief.

Here are the bare facts: Virender Sehwag is 35; he sports glasses/contact lenses; he hasn’t scored a century since November 15, 2012; he has squandered starts; his last 15 outings in First-Class cricket have yielded a solitary fifty; he has batted at every position from one to six and has averaged less than 20 in the Ranji Trophy this season. Simply put, the greatest Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar is going through a torrid time.

Sehwag’s tough phase has lasted agonisingly long. When the Delhi Daredevils showed no interest in retaining him for the Indian Premier League (IPL), it would have been the lowest point in his career. Now, Sehwag looks lost and forgotten, with neither direction nor (cover) drive. For those who love him, there isn’t a more lethal batsman than Sehwag. All they want is to see him effortlessly hoick quickies all over the park, as if it was just another day in office for him. At his peak, he was credited with the fastest reflexes and the best hand-eye coordination. Is it that age has withered him or is it just lack of motivation?

Sehwag has another diverse  interest now, the multi-crore Sehwag International school in Jhajjar, Haryana, where he spends a lot of time, suggesting that his mind is not fully on cricket now.

Sehwag has seldom given a damn about technique: his greatest assets are a clutter-free mind, hand-eye coordination and bat speed. Alas, those very unorthodox methods that fetched him over 8,000 runs in both forms of the game have come back to haunt him. The man who delighted fans and terrorised world-class attacks with his unique brand of daredevilry is now struggling against the most pedestrian of bowlers. But every now and then, he has scored those boundary-laced 20s and 30s, thereby keeping the spark alive.

If Sehwag wants to make a comeback, everything has to go his way – his ageing body has to work overtime, his weakening reflexes need a serious dose of recharge; he must work harder; score runs by the bucketful and hope that the Shikhar Dhawans and M Vijays suffer a string of failures. The odds are stacked against him.

According to Pravin Amre, a technician par excellence, motivation or lack of it is the biggest factor. “To play any form of cricket, one needs to concentrate hard. And if you ask me, it is in fact tougher to motivate yourself and be focused for a first-class or club-level match than in international cricket,” says the former India batsman who has coached domestic giants Mumbai, IPL discards Pune Warriors and India cricketers Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa.

“You can’t say Viru has a poor technique. How did he play 104 Tests then? His methods work for him. So there is no point in going about making a radical change now. All he needs to do is make little adjustments here and there. You need motivation, sincerity and a focused mind to back you,” Amre said.

Former India opener Chetan Chauhan has watched Sehwag from close quarters. Now a senior official in the Delhi and District Cricket Association, he, too, hopes Sehwag can fight the demons and stage a memorable comeback. “Work harder, play more matches, alter your back foot play, don’t go searching for the ball and trust your instinct,” is Chauhan’s advice. “The moment he starts getting runs, everything will fall into place. Runs are runs, so it doesn’t matter if you get them for your company [ONGC] or local club or state or country. He is a great player. Let’s not forget that,” Chauhan said.

Sehwag, or any player of his calibre, can do the unthinkable and have that final flourish. But it will be an uphill task. If Sehwag was as technically sound as, say, a Rahul Dravid, then he wouldn’t have been out of the Indian team for as long as 10 months. What’s more, even Delhi Daredevils, of which Sehwag was an icon player and skipper, refused to retain him ahead of the IPL-7 auction.

Mughda Bavre, a psychologist attached to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), offers a different perspective. “Who are we to question his motivation levels? The very fact that he is playing domestic cricket shows that he is motivated,” she says. “When it comes to established players like Sehwag, there is no question of doubting their inner drive. You and I might believe that he as achieved everything. But we don’t really know what his goals are. Everybody is citing his age as a problem. But he may be wanting to prove everyone wrong by making a comeback at 35. The thing with high-performing individuals like Sehwag is that you can’t write them off till they decide it’s time. That he is still playing is good enough reason for me to believe that he is motivated.”

That Sehwag is still playing state and club cricket shows that one day yet again from the depths of his memory he will replay one of the grand innings that changed cricket for ever.

Vitamins for Viru

Set goals and work harder

Consult coaches and former teammates like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, who played till their 40s

Play, play and play. Runs are runs… no matter where you score

Stick to strengths: make slight adjustments; don’t go for a complete overhaul in technique

Increase focus on cricket.

(This article first appeared in DNA)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes head injury South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Pakistan-New Zealand 3rd Test Day 2 to begin an hour late

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 2

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Ishant Sharma — Is his current ODI form good enough to earn him a place in ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The birth of Day Night cricket matches

Phillip Hughes head injury: Are helmets making batsmen complacent?

Daniel Vettori becomes the most capped New Zealand player

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Shraddha Das: I wish I had a sister like Priyanka Chopra!

Bigg Boss 8: After Sonali Raut’s slap, Ali Quli Mirza missing from the Live feed, has he left the show?

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Week by Week Pregnancy Guide – Week 28 of your pregnancy

विपाशा बासु: पिनकेथॉन महिलाओं को जागरूक करने का महत्वपूर्ण प्लैटफॉर्म

Phillip Hughes dead: Top 3 Test knocks of the gutsy South Australian

Sensex trades flat; IT stocks gain

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here