Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sehwag's straight bat

An excerpt of cricinfo's text commentary on a passage of play in session 3, Day 3 of the India-v-Australia 2nd Test at Mohali:

Siddle to Sehwag, no run, fires in the yorker on middle and leg, Sehwag manages to squeeze that one out
Siddle to Sehwag, FOUR, Slower delivery, full and outside off, and Sehwag launches that over extra cover, one bounce and into the boundary
Siddle to Sehwag, 1 run, Sehwag steer a delivery that was angling into him to cover point

That fifth delivery needs better explanation. Coming after a rather wide slower ball that was despatched to the fence, it was a sharp delivery that jagged back from back of a length into Sehwag and sought to breach any gap between bat and pad. The same gap that Zaheer Khan successfully found in the defence of mighty Hayden in the Australian first innings. Sehwag had none on show, and the good fifth ball in that Siddle over could only help raise a muffled appeal from the only man on the field unable to see its contact: Haddin, the keeper.

That sequence shows emphatically that Virender Sehwag is back at his world-beating best. Not only is he judging deliveries on their merit, he has also fully revived from his form slump of 2006 when he was visibly falling behind on the basics that had catapulted him into the elite group a few years earlier.

Sehwag was always a miser at feet movement but the straight bat of the young Sehwag could break the heart of many a fast bowler. Good to see him get back to doing that again. Another piece of joy: he used to be no heavier in his early days than he is now. Looks like he has also regained control on his increasing love for that extra dish of delicacy.

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