Saturday, December 18, 2010

For the fake Slim Seh-whack

Dear Virender Sehwag,

To paraphrase Eminem:
So, won't the real Slim Sehwag please stand up,
please stand up, please stand up?

There was a time, Viru, when a score of 50 was just the appetizer. You had mountainloads of patience and were content to motor along playing the ball on its merit and chugging along beyond 150, 200, 250, and even 300. These days that Sehwag has morphed into Seh-whack. Once you reach 50 and the field spreads you do the impossible - you make deep midwicket a catching position and long-on and long-off practically close-in catchers. Especially when a spinner, who you wouldn't give the time of the day, is bowling to you.

You once had a streak where 13 consecutive scores over 100 were converted into 150-plus mammoths. To put that into perspective, the world record for 150-plus scores in a career is Sachin Tendulkar's 19. But these days, even after you get to 50 I do not relax, knowing that that next mind-melt is barely seconds away. Even worse, it is almost predictable to happen once a spinner is brought on. Indulge me here for a second. Cast your mind back to the last few innings that you have played. When was the last time you remember getting out to a good ball? How often can you remember losing your wicket to a wild slog, a rushed slice, or a misjudged dance down the wicket?

Memo to captains: Here's the perfect recipe to get Sehwag out. Start proceedings with a fast bowler and a spinner. Keep a deep point, a deep third man, 3 slips and 2 gullies, cover and extra cover for the fast bowler. For the spinner, take away 3 of those catchers and put them at long-off, long-on, and deep midwicket. And then wait. You may give up a few fours/sixes but the catch is coming.

Sadly, Viru, I am only half-joking in the previous paragraph.

You had a great chance to grind the South Africans today, get to a century, march towards that 200 (or who knows, even 400) and swing the series India's way. Instead you got caught up in the tripe that Paul Harris was delivering, jumped out in a pre-determined manner, fell for the trap, and gave the SAffers the first (of 10) slices of good moments they need to win the Test.

(Associated Press 2010, via CricInfo)

Someday, in the years to come, you will hugely regret the way you have been indifferently treating the form of your life.


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