Indian cricket legend, Virender Sehwag celebrates his birthday today. He turns 40.
The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ as he is also known, will definitely go down in the history books as one of the most feared batsman to ever yield a cricket bat.
In a career that spanned 14 years, Sehwag scored 8586 runs in 104 Tests at an average of 49.34 with 23 hundreds and 32 half-centuries. In 251 ODIs, he amassed 8273 runs at 35.05 with 15 centuries and 38 fifties while in 19 T20 internationals he made 394 runs with two fifties.
Sehwag made his ODI debut against Pakistan in 1999 at Mohali and his Test debut in 2001 against South Africa at Bloemfontein. He also captained India in the country’s first-ever T20I, when they took on South Africa in 2006.
Renowned for his attacking play, Sehwag holds many records to his name.
On March 29 in 2004, Sehwag became the first Indian batsman to breach the 300-run mark when he hammered the Pakistan bowlers in their own den in Multan.
In an innings that lasted for 530 minutes, Sehwag smashed 309 off 375 balls, during which he was also unbeaten on 228 at the end on the first day, which saw him register the highest score by an Indian against Pakistan in Pakistan.
On the second day of the Test, Sehwag reached his maiden triple hundred in the second session by smashing a six off Saqlain Mushtaq when he was batting on 295.
At the time he was the only batsman in Test history reach a triple century with a six until Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara emulated the feat in a Test match against Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2014.
He was finally dismissed on 309 by Mohammad Sami but not before he scored 39 boundaries and six sixes while batting with an unbelievable strike rate of 82.40.
Sehwag’s knock helped him earn the nickname of ‘Sultan of Multan’ as India won the match by an innings and 52 runs
But that was not all, Sehwag repeated the feat (of scoring a triple hundred) against South Africa in the first Test in Chennai. Overall, just four batsman have scored a triple hundred twice in Test cricket Don Bradman (Australia), Brian Lara (West Indies), Sehwag and Chris Gayle (West Indies).
Four years later, on the very same day, Sehwag finished the day unbeaten exactly on 309 and on the following day (March 29) he added another 10 runs to his total before being dismissed by Makhaya Ntini with the Test match ending in a draw.
With his knock of 319, Sehwag still holds the record for the highest individual score by an Indian batsman in Test cricket.
Sehwag also became the first player in the history of the game to score an ODI double hundred, when he scored 219 from 149 deliveries balls against West Indies at Indore in 2011.
Happy Birthday @virendersehwag. On the swashbuckling opener's Birthday, we relive his iconic ODI double hundred he scored against West Indies 🎂 😎
Watch 📽️ 👉 👉 https://t.co/aUS1eEdJ03 pic.twitter.com/A4GXdKOr8R
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 20, 2018
Sehwag was a game-changer for India at the top of the order in both Tests and ODIs after former captain Sourav Ganguly asked him to open the innings in both formats.
Ganguly even revealed how he identified Sehwag’s potential as an opening batsman. Sehwag before coming to the Indian team in 2001 used to play in the middle order for his Delhi Ranji side.
But it was Ganguly who promoted Sehwag to open the innings in both Tests and ODIs and the rest is history. Sehwag was the first Indian to smash a triple century in Test cricket and not once but twice.
Ganguly saw the potential in Sehwag and backed him even when the selectors felt otherwise and advised against the move of making him an opener.
“When Viru opened. During selection, people asked why are you taking for an away tour. He won’t manage bouncers. They’ll hit him in the head with bouncers.
And I replied: ‘You are judging him without even seeing him play or giving him an opportunity’. Then he ended up scoring a century on his debut in South Africa. After that, we did not have a position for him in the middle order, so one day I told him…Viru, no one made a career by sitting on the bench. Why don’t you open? And opening is not a skill anyone is born with. If [Matthew] Hayden and [Justin] Langer could do it, so can you..
“Viru told me he had never opened and batted only at 5 or 6 for Delhi. ‘What if I get out?’ I told him you can get out even in the middle order. And I batted down the order so that I could have him in my team. And then he opened in England and scored a century…
“He is a little mad and keeps telling me you never played me in the middle order. I told him ‘you would not have been half the player with that kind of impact and match-winning ability…that would not have come by playing in the middle order,” Ganguly said on Breakfast with Champions.
Now retired, ‘Viru’ reigns over the world of social media with his witty takes on topical issues. From funny tweets to birthday wishes, Sehwag is a real treasure.
In fact, Sehwag shares his birthday with Allan Donald (who turns 52) and Navjot Singh Sidhu (who turns 55).>