Virender Sehwag acknowledges after scoring his maiden double ton in ODI cricket on Thursday © AFP
By CricketCountry Staff
Mumbai: Dec 9, 2011
Former international cricketers Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Chaminda Vaas and Saqlain Mushtaq have lavished praise on the flamboyant Indian batsman Virender Sehwag, who on Thursday created a new world record of the highest individual score in one-day cricket.
Sehwag became the second cricketer in the world to record a double ton in the 50-over cricket, clobbering 25 boundaries and seven sixes for his magnificent knock of 219, which came from just 149 balls.
“What happed at Multan was unfortunate for me on a personal level. But what he did there — getting 100, 200 and 300 with sixes — proved to me that he was not an ordinary player. The sort of concentration he possesses, the fact that he doesn’t fear any bowler, his positive attitude, I truly salute him as a modern day great,” said Saqlain, who played against Sehwag in the Multan Test in 2004, wherein he scored 309.
“I must admit that he put some fear in me (while I was bowling). I like him a lot, and appreciate his game. I am a big fan of his,” Saqlain told MiD DAY.
“In my defence, I had not practiced for close to six months before that Multan Test. I was playing with pain-killing injections. I always got pleasure while bowling against players like Sachin (Tendulkar) and Brian (Lara). I put Sehwag in that same category after that Multan Test. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be didn’t want me to bowl to him ever again,” he said.
“As you know, my career ended with that Test. I regret that I could never bowl to him again. But that’s how life is. The knock he played today (against West Indies) was special and only he could have done something like this,” Saqlain added.
“Oh, what can I say about this genius. I bowled a lot to Sachin (Tendulkar), Azhar (Mohammed Azharuddin) and other Indians, but I found nobody more difficult to stop. When he gets going, he’s got the caliber to score big hundreds. He’s never satisfied. He’s a player who can make a lot of runs in whatever format or conditions,” said Vaas.
“I think it’s become easier to score a double (ton) in ODIs now with powerplay rules, but I don’t want to take any credit away from him. As a bowler, you need to have patience against him as he’s always trying to dominate,” he added.
“I used to try and bowl in the same spot for six balls in a row, bowl wicket-to-wicket, but you can’t do that against Sehwag. I have managed to get him out many times, but I was lucky. Wherever I bowled, he managed to find ways to score. His batting has improved recently because he plays more through the leg-side.”
“I want to congratulate him for his fantastic double ton. It will give more bowlers around the world nightmares now. The only way to get him is in the first few overs,” Vaas added.
Former South Africa pacer Makhaya Ntini had a tough time against Sehwag, giving away 128 runs in 28 overs as Sehwag recorded the highest individual score for an Indian, 319 at Chennai in 2008.
Ntini said, “He’s simply one of the best I have bowled to. It’s particularly not easy to bowl to him on flat wickets. He can destroy you and leave you demoralised. As a bowler, there’s not a lot you can try, especially if the pitch is flat. If there is some movement in the air or extra bounce, you can do some things.”
“But world cricket is full of flat tracks today, and that’s why a batsman like him becomes more dangerous. During that triple hundred at Chennai, we tried everything. I remember Dale (Steyn) and I went around-the-wicket, and tempted him with wide balls, with fielders in catching positions, and still he kept finding ways to score through his pads,” he added.
“In the end, I was happy to dismiss him. Though he got 319, it was still a wicket. I am happy that he has got a one-day double century. He’s a great bloke. Though he shows no respect to bowlers on the field, he’s a fantastic person and person. Cheers, Viru,” Ntini concluded.
Former South Africa great Shaun Pollock shared, “To be honest, when he crossed 130-odd, I had a feeling that he was going to get it. I haven’t been watching a lot of cricket, but I actually saw this match. It was a phenomenal knock, one of the best knocks in one-day cricket. I wouldn’t say he put a fear factor in me while I was bowling but definitely he’s someone that made me think as a bowler.”
“When he scored that 319 against us at Chennai, he scored so many runs in unconventional areas where you don’t see batsmen scoring in Test matches. I remember he played lot of reverse-sweeps and kept generating unique ways of scoring,” Pollock said.
“I was glad to have retired by then, but did bowl to him a lot before. He’s a champion batsman. Definitely someone who puts bowlers on the back foot… I am not surprised that it’s Sehwag who has broken the record of another great Sachin Tendulkar,” he added.
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