Media hails Sehwag, sympathises with Sachin

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 19:55 [IST]
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New Delhi:Indian cricket hero Virender Sehwag was hailed by his country's media after his triple century against Pakistan -- but Sachin Tendulkar's ire at missing a double ton was met with dismay.

Sehwag, the first Indian cricketer ever to make a triple century, is the man of the moment in his homeland, where the media hailed his 309 against Pakistan in Multan with banner headlines.

"Veeru breaks Mach 3," said a headline in the Hindustan Times while the Pioneer splashed, "Pak pounded by Sehwag triple whammy" and the Tribune led its its front page with, "Congrats Sehwag, you've done it."

The media also noted Tendulkar's disappointment at missing a double century as India declared its first innings at 675 for five when his score was on 194, and commented on his pique at coming within six runs of a fourth double ton.

His century on Sunday saw him notch up his 33rd century, one short of former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar's world record tally of 34.

"It is obviously very disappointing to have come so close and not be able to achieve it," Tendulkar had said at the end of play on Monday.

"I was aware the declaration was round the corner but I was surprised when it happened. The plan was to give Pakistan an hour to bat and I thought we will get a few overs more to go for it. But once the declaration was made, there was nothing I could do," he said.

Tendulkar's comments were noted in the Hindustan Times under the headline, "Tendulkar surprised, in a sulk."

The report also quoted unidentified sources as saying that Tendulkar making his pique public came as a surprise to the Indian team.

"The Indian camp is stunned by Sachin's decision to go public with his disappointment," it said, adding that it sent a "wrong signal" as the comments were hardly those of "a cohesive unit where decisions are collegiate."

The Hindustan Times in its editorial however cheered Sehwag's efforts.

"Despite its cache of star batsmen down the years, India failed to have a triple centurion on board for the last 72 years of its Test-playing history -- that is until Sehwag's swashbuckling knock of 309."

In a sports page editorial, the Hindu newspaper noted that "Sachin Tendulkar may be the most famous sportsman in the country but it is Sehwag who fits the bill as a people's champion."

The Asian Age while praising Sehwag's performance, sympathised with Tendulkar.

"Tendulkar's disconsolate walk back at 194 was not the way this high-flying Indian innings should have ended."

Meanwhile Sehwag is set to campaign for Indian Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma in upcoming national polls, the player's father said on Tuesday.

"Yes, Virender will travel with Verma and will ensure he gets re-elected with a huge margin," Krishan Kumar Sehwag told NDTV television news channel.

Verma, a member of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), visited Sehwag's home in the Indian capital to congratulate his family.

Sehwag's home falls in the Outer Delhi constituency, from where the minister was elected MP in 1999.

Verma is seeking re-election from the same seat in the staggered polls beginning April 20, which surveys predict will be won by India's ruling BJP-led coalition.

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