The final nail in Virender Sehwag’s career as an Indian cricketer might just have been hammered in, after his latest performance in the Ranji Trophy game against Gujarat last week. To be honest, it was a game in which he had to score anything respectable to have a chance of getting selected for the team that is going to tour South Africa in November. He batted at number 4 for Delhi but could only make 1 and 15 in each innings of that game. However, his inept show with the bat has made it abundantly clear that it is surely the end of the road for Virender Sehwag as an Indian cricketer.
Age, Fitness and Form
First and foremost, Sehwag turned 35 this October which is usually the sort of age in which a cricketer finds his powers waning. In case of Sehwag, he is in the middle of a horrible patch of poor form which makes it even more difficult for him. In addition to that, his eyesight which used to be his biggest asset when he used to flay the fastest of bowlers to all corners of the cricket ground is not what it used to be either and that means that his natural flair as a batsman is no longer there. After all, he was never a great technician who could play with such a handicap and it is unfair for anyone to expect him to be the batsman that he used to be. He has been bowled out 5 times in his last 10 innings which logically points towards the problems that he has been experiencing with his eyesight.
Now coming to his form, he averages a pretty ordinary 28.85 in the last 12 Test matches with only one century in the game against England at Ahmedabad last year. What is even more alarming is the fact that, the particular century in question was his first since he scored a century against New Zealand at the same venue in 2010. However, what has perhaps been the final straw for the selectors and the captain has been his unwillingness to curb the way he plays. It is simply not possible to carry on the way in which he plays with dodgy eyesight and well-known fitness issues. On the other hand, Sehwag is a batsman who is programmed to play the way he does and hence it is simply futile to curb those instincts.
As a conclusion, it must be pointed out that this is not a hatchet job with a view to belittle the achievements of one of those batsmen who has changed the way Test match batting is approached, but an evaluation of exactly where he stands in his career. When he finally retires, most cricket fans would be inordinately sad but at the same time they should also be aware that life demands change. Change is important, good and necessary.
By Soham Samaddar
Image Source: virender Sehwag@Facebook