Viru, the philosopher-butcher


The whole nation was disappointed on Friday, Dec 4, when Virendar Sehwag got out for 293 runs. The newspapers had gone to town about his breathtaking innings and what does our Viru do the next day? Pats the ball back to Muralitharan and returns to the pavilion just seven short of a third triple century and a place in the history books.

How truly cricket reflects life and how truly Sehwag reflects life! At the press conference later, querried about his getting out for 293, the calm Viru’s replay showed the philosopher in him. “I am happy that I at least scored 293 runs. Still I made a record that after two triple centuries I am able to score 293. I am extremely happy and proud of this. It was a missed opportunity, but there will always be a next time,” he said.

Every die-hard cricket fan knows that the game reflects the vagaries of life. You are on top of the world one day and the next, you hit the ground with a thud. This is exactly what Viru was speaking about. He was satisfied with that explosive innings though we as watchers and admirers were heart-broken about him not getting the third triple ton. He also sent out a warning to all the other Test playing nations when he spoke of “there will always be a next time.”

He also said that he was an entertainer. This is so true in this day of television. His philosophy is simple, “ball is there to be hit, you hit it”. Viru said that comparing him to Vivian Richards is an honour. Viv played his first Test match in Bangalore and was out early when Chandra picked up his wicket. Then he scored an unbeaten 192 in Delhi where Chandra did not play. We have all seen how Viv destroyed fast bowling attacks around the world. His swagger to the wicket showing the dominance of the blacks was something that we all cherish to this day.

In comparison to the powerfully built Viv, Viru is really small sized. But the way he destroys bowlers is a sheer reflection of his mental strength and uncluttered approach to the game. He makes everything look simple.

Viru can be remarkably candid about his lack of knowledge about the game too. He frankly admitted some years ago that he was not aware of Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s world record opening partnership which he and Dravid were on the verge of breaking. He had no regrets about missing that record either.

Viru is a ‘stitha pragna’ in its truest sense. He takes success and failure with great equanimity. This could be seen when the television cameras panned on him sitting in the dressing room: wearing shorts and teeshirt after getting out missing a triple century with not a trace of regret on his face.

In its over 130 years of history, the game has seen many greats, both batsmen and bowlers, but rarely one has seen a philosopher-cricketer and we are all fortunate that he is an Indian and one the world should be proud of.

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