India’s Sehwag feted by peers after record 219

Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

AFP: India’s Virender Sehwag was on Friday hailed as a “genius” by teammates and opponents after smashing the highest individual score in one-day cricket with a scintillating double-century.

Sehwag hammered 219 off 149 balls in the fourth one-dayer against the West Indies in Indore on Thursday, joining compatriot Sachin Tendulkar as the only batsmen to score double-hundreds in the 50-over format.

The opener plundered 25 boundaries and seven sixes to surpass Tendulkar’s unbeaten 200 against South Africa in Gwalior last year, before being dismissed in the 47th over.

Tendulkar, currently in Australia preparing for the four-Test series starting later this month, led the plaudits sending text messages to Indian reporters congratulating Sehwag.

“I am very happy for Viru, and also happy about the fact that someone who has broken my record is my own team-mate,” the game’s most prolific batsman wrote.

As Sehwag moved beyond 170, England batsman Kevin Pietersen tweeted his prediction that a world record was on the way and urged his followers to “watch a genius bat.”

“If you are a cricket fan, please switch on your TV right now and watch a genius bat,” Pietersen wrote. “Sehwag destroying the West Indies... world record coming.”

West Indies star Chris Gayle also hailed the prolific Indian batsman’s innings on Twitter, while Sehwag’s World Cup winning teammate Yuvraj Singh compared the opener to batting great Sir Vivian Richards.

“I never saw Sir Viv bat but I’ve seen Sehwag bat,” said Yuvraj, himself one of the most aggressive batsmen in world cricket. “What a player. 219 in a one-day game is next to impossible.”

Former captain Anil Kumble, India’s most successful bowler with 619 wickets, said Sehwag had “achieved the unimaginable”, adding that when he started playing teams could defend totals of 219 -- the opener’s individual score.

Sehwag, who is leading India in the current series in the absence of the rested Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had managed just 46 runs in the previous three matches.

But he took advantage of a good batting track and short boundaries at the Holkar stadium to bludgeon his way to the double-century, which he said was a tougher achievement than his triple-hundreds in Tests.

“In Tests, you get so much time to adjust your game, but in one-dayers, you have to play your shots and maintain the run-rate,” Sehwag told reporters after the match.

“Sachin is my role-model and I?m happy to have broken his record. But it’s not easy to get 200 in one-dayers. But there are some others who may do it... like Gayle and (Australian) Shane Watson.”

In a remarkable coincidence, India’s margin of victory of 153 runs on Thursday was the same as when Tendulkar hit his double-century against the South Africans in Gwalior.

The 33-year-old Sehwag, a veteran of 240 one-dayers, attributed his feat to years of experience massing runs.

“I think you can get a double-hundred like this only when you’re experienced,” he said. “The last time I played 47 overs I got 175, this time I got 219.

“As one matures with age, one tries to achieve whatever one wants. I thrive on expectations. People were expecting a 200 from me and I am happy I lived up to their expectations.”