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Thread: Why is Sehwag so good: My analysis

  1. #1
    C_C
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    Why is Sehwag so good: My analysis

    Ok since i am an insomniac sucking on a fag, i decieded to write a piece on why i think Sehwag is so successful.

    People raise doubts about him due to his non-existant footwork(not true really and i will explain why) and many write him off as a slogger.Others who are a bit more cognizant of Sehwag's records write him off as a disaster waiting to happen as he eventually runs outta form.

    Looking at his record though, it paints a surprisingly different picture.

    To dat(this series included), Sehwag has played 13 series.
    In those 13, he averages over 50 in 6 of those series and averages above 40 in 10 of them...
    and out of the three series he averages less than 40, in one he averages 39.50.

    His record till the ridiculous pitches on NZ was a very commendable 832 runes from 17 inning @ 48.94 with 3 centuries and 4 fifties.Certainly pretty good!
    but since his OZ sojourn, he has exploded and now he stands at 3041 runs from 55 innnings @ 56.31 ( last completed innings included) with 10 tons and 9 fifties and he has scored a century in the last 6 of his 7 series with the only series without a century comming against the insignificant Bangladeshis :that is simply stupendous and his remarkable series consistency is awesome and certainly more consistent than any 'slogger' has ever been.

    So why is Sehwag so successful ?

    Well for one, footwork is misunderstood in cricket by many people and i might do well to point out that many successful players didnt have excellent 'ballet dancer' footwork- Viv Richards for one...he certainly was no leadfooted wonder but he wasnt a footwork mafia to the extent of a Dravid, Lara,Gavaskar or Greg Chappell.
    Steve Waugh had less than worldclass footwork and Gordon Greenidge wasnt known for his footwork either.... Sehwag is probably the extreme case example and the impatient ones must be dying to pop the question 'why is he so successful ?'

    Well the reason is simple yet subtle.
    The question one must ask is, what is one trying to achieve with footwork and the answer immediately becomes clearer.

    As a test batsman, your objective is to be in control of your shots and put em where you want to. Failing to do that, you dont give your wicket away. Inorder to do that, you need to have a few crucial components aside from 'technique'. A big heart for one, judicious shot-selection for two and excellent timing for three.
    Anyone who's watched Sehwag for a long period of time will admit that Sehwag has all three by heaps. He has the guts required to bat at the highest level and he doesnt shy away from any bowler- not even the great McGrath or Warne. This is not a question about his success but a question about his attitude. Timing and shot selection of his are top notch too.
    But enough about the 'other stuff' !! Before the 'technique' mafia puts a gun to my head, i will go straight to the issue of technique.

    The biggest 'physical' thing you need to be accomplishing inorder to have control over your shots is to have excellent balance during point of contact. That is critical and essential.
    Sehwag has this- he rarely reaches for the ball and rarely is he over/underbalanced for a shot. He accomplishes this by playing late and making deft wrist adjustments at the last second. And that he accomplishes extremely well due to his brilliantly quick eye. Sehwag to me, seems to have one of the quickest eyes ever to play test cricket. He plays the ball very very late and is almost one of the 'latest' players of the ball.
    He plays the ball 'under his nose', that is, his point of contact is almost directly under his nose and that is the optimal place for controlling your shots. It also is a product of his superb eye and hand-eye co-ordination.

    Inorder to play the ball with great balance consistently, you absolutely must do one thing footwork-wise: you MUST get to the pitch of the ball. Sehwag does this by plonking his left foot down and he guages the pitch of the ball excellently.

    Perhaps the second biggest physical thing to batting consistency is playing with a 'still head'. That is, your head must be as still as possible during the point of contact. And after watching Sehwag for a while, i've come to the conclusion that his head is the stillest of them all playing cricket today- yes, even 'stiller' than Tendulkar, Dravid,Ponting,lara, etc.
    In the replays you will see a lil movement of the head sometimes amongst these great players. But with Sehwag, almost always i see a head that is 'deadset still'.

    Some of the 'master technicians' of the past wernt too good at this aspect, leading to bouts of inconsistency. Carl Hooper and Mark Waugh are two examples.

    As we are on the topic of technique, another thing i notice in Sehwag is that he plays with an extremely straight bat and when he does go across the line, his bat angle is almost perpendicular to the trajectory of the ball. This is essential in 'technique' and is a forte of almost all the great batmsen.

    You see, all that is essential is your balance during point of contact. Most people achieve this through footwork- to get their body into position and perfect balance for the proper execution of the shot. Sehwag however, completely eschews this modus operandi but achieves exactly the same results- he achieves perfect balance during point of contact with brilliant hand-eye coordination alongside a pair of one-in-a-million eyes.

    One more thing Sehwag has is soft hands. I've seen him use 'soft hands' many times when he mi***** the ball and as a result it often drops just a bit short of the slip cordon.

    That is the critical difference between Sehwag and a 'pure slogger' like Afridi... Afridi doesnt play the ball under his nose and infact plays it earlier than many people. As a result, he is reaching for the ball and is often overbalanced during shot-execution. Another thing in a 'pure slogger' like Afridi you'd find is that he doesnt know the concept of soft hands. He grips the bat like a vice and his wrists are almost never soft nomatter how he has hit the ball.
    Ofcourse, nevermind the fact that his shot-selection is one of the poorest.

    And this is why i think Sehwag is likely to be of the greatest batsmen ever to play test cricket: he achieves everything balance-wise and poise-wise as a master technician achieves through excellent hand-eye coordination and brilliant eyes. Along with that, he does the other things right- shot selection, attitude, timing, etc.

    Hopefully, people will find this post a bit meaningful.

    Regards.
    Last edited by C_C; 27-03-2005 at 09:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Cricketer Of The Year Mr Casson's Avatar
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    That's actually a very, very good analysis. Certainly takes a bit of the enigma out of Sehwag.
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    Hall of Fame Member superkingdave's Avatar
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    One thing there, Sehwag is sensational first innings player, but he has yet to score a hundred in the second innings, in fact, he has only scored two 50's and averages about 25 in the second innings.

    He does average a sensational 71.30 (before this match) in the first innings tho..

    maybe he'll get a century tommorow to change that a bit
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    Cricketer Of The Year Robertinho's Avatar
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    I think that's true, very good observations there. He is definitely one talented individual - naturally gifted to the utmost.
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    It's an excellent & well-constructed post. Gotta be honest when I saw the length of it I thought, "can I be ar$ed?", but am glad that I was. Sehwag does seem to be the living embodiment of the old "see it early, play it late" adage.

    SKD's is an interesting observation too; I hadn't noticed that at all. It might also be instructive to see how his efforts in the first innings when India bat first against those when they bat second stack up. If he performs better when they bat first I guess it suggests he's at his most effective when given free-reign. He doesn't strike me as a player who over analyses his own game; nor should he with the supreme talent he's been blessed with.
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    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    EXCELLENT post CC, it a very good analysis on sehwag and why he is so good

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    U19 Vice-Captain SpeedKing's Avatar
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    As i read that, i tried to think of a player very similar to him in technique and poise.
    Oddly enough, i found that Graham Thorpe is quite similar.
    That bit about ''his bat angle is almost perpendicular to the trajectory of the ball'', and ''almost one of the 'latest' players of the ball'' and that playing with a very straight bat. Also Thorpe doesn't have the best techique [dents to sit on the backfoot more often than not]. Pity that Thorpe is not half as audacious as Sehwag is.

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    U19 Vice-Captain SpeedKing's Avatar
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    Soft hands and never reaching out for the ball as well

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    U19 Debutant chekmeout's Avatar
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    Sehwag simply has an extraordinary and the best-ever hand-eye co-ordination in any form of the sport in any period of time.
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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedKing
    Pity that Thorpe is not half as audacious as Sehwag is.
    well if he was then england would be no where near as good a side as they are as they would have no players that would be able to scrap, if england were setting a high total then yes thorpe perhaps would be better suited if he was more audacious, but in a scrap i would take thorpe over sehwag any day, he is one of the best scrappers around, and invaluable to england considering the only other player that can come close to making a scrap at all is strauss, the rest are poor.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by sledger
    well if he was then england would be no where near as good a side as they are as they would have no players that would be able to scrap, if england were setting a high total then yes thorpe perhaps would be better suited if he was more audacious, but in a scrap i would take thorpe over sehwag any day, he is one of the best scrappers around, and invaluable to england considering the only other player that can come close to making a scrap at all is strauss, the rest are poor.
    You don't need to 'scrap' if you have a guy like Sehwag, it only comes down to a scrap when a top class player is out of touch or when the players aren't that skillful in the first place (Hussain).
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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaly piscine
    You don't need to 'scrap' if you have a guy like Sehwag, it only comes down to a scrap when a top class player is out of touch or when the players aren't that skillful in the first place (Hussain).
    i completely disagree, a player like sehwag is no good on a bad pitch when a team is about 85-5 lets say, you cannot start playing attacking shots you need to scrap and look for the singles, that is where thorpe is invaluable, in a teams like england anyway he is very much needed, almost all of the test teams have players that can scrap and dig in.

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    Yes this is true and scrappers are needed but so are players like sehwag and i wouldnt say he would always be useless in difficult situations atack can work well in tight situations

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sledger
    i completely disagree, a player like sehwag is no good on a bad pitch when a team is about 85-5 lets say, you cannot start playing attacking shots you need to scrap and look for the singles, that is where thorpe is invaluable, in a teams like england anyway he is very much needed, almost all of the test teams have players that can scrap and dig in.
    Australia come in at situations like 85-5 time and again, because they're good enough, like Sehwag is, they take the attack back to the opposition and play their natural game.

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    U19 Vice-Captain SpeedKing's Avatar
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    The thing that i find mainly striking about Sehwag is that he plays away from his body with a straight bat. Perhaps that is why he is almost useless in the second inings. What i mean is that when the pitch starts to detoriate and is not the belter it is in the first innings then starts playing up, his technique is badly exposed

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