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Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag, affectionately known as Viru and the Nawab of Najafgarh, also called the Zen master of modern cricket, or the Viv Richards of this era by columnists, is one of the finest and most destructive batsmen in world cricket, Sehwag was born on October 20, 1978, in Delhi. He is a top-order right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-break bowler.

Son of a grain merchant, Sehwag spent his childhood in a bungalow in a joint family. Though now settled in New Delhi, the family hailed from Haryana. He was the third of four children born to father Krishan and mother Krishna, with two older sisters Manju, Anju and younger brother Vinod. His father attributes his interest in cricket to a toy bat which he was given when he was seven months old. He attended Arora Vidya School in Delhi and pestered his parents to let him play cricket, on the basis that he was not academically gifted.

Sehwag married Aarti Alhawat in April 2004 under heavy security in a media publicized wedding. The couple has two sons Aaryavir and Vedanta. Sehwag is fondly referred to in the media as the Nawab of Najafgarh, Najafgarh being his home locality in Delhi. A lifelong vegetarian, he owns a vegetarian eatery, Sehwag Favorites, which opened in late 2005 in the Fun Republic Cineplex in Delhi.

As a starry-eyed youngster from Najafgarh, where his family ran a flour mill, Sehwag grew up, like many others from his generation, wanting to be Sachin Tendulkar. Indeed, when he scored his first one-day hundred, filling up for his injured idol against New Zealand in Sri Lanka, he could have been mistaken for him: there was the same back-foot punch on the offside, the minimalistic straight drive and the wristy whip to the leg.

Sehwag played his first one day international in 1999 and joined the national Test team in 2001. He became the first Indian cricketer to be honored the Wisden Leading Cricketer in 2008 and also in 2009.

His uncomplicated approach – batting is all about scoring as many runs as quickly as possible – showcases a sharp and street-smart cricket mind. He has a keen grasp of his own, and his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and exploits them in a forensic manner. What appears risky to many is merely an opportunity for him. And his lack of footwork, which does get him in trouble against the moving ball, is mostly an advantage, for it creates space for his brilliant handwork. Few batsmen have hit the ball harder square on the offside, and fewer still have hit them as frequently. The sight of a spinner brings the savage out in him. For many spectacular assaults against the world’s leading spinners, there have been numerous outrageous dismissals against the not-so-reputed ones.

The most remarkable aspect of Sehwag’s career, of course, has been his ability to build massive Test scores at breathtaking speed. He holds the Indian record for the highest number of Test double-hundreds with Sachin Tendulkar (6 times) and is the first batsman to score three triple-hundreds. That innings, against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, when he scored this third triple-hundred has epitomized the Sehwag brand of batsmanship: a mix of imagination, daring, power, skills, and clarity of vision.

He is equally refreshing off the field and shares his views on the game in an endearingly direct and candid manner, a rare trait among contemporary cricketers. He is, in every sense, a true original.

Fast Facts:
Along with legends Don Bradman and Brian Lara, Virender Sehwag became the third player to cross the 300-run mark in Tests twice.
He became the first to retain Wisden’s “Leading Cricketer of the Year” honors in 2010. In the same year, he also received the ICC Test Player of the Year award.


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