Sehwag starts a different innings on an auspicious day

Published: Friday, April 23, 2004, 15:48 [IST]
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New Delhi:Life will never be the same again for dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who tied the nuptial knot in a ceremony that carried on into the early hours of Friday.

The player married fiancee Aarti Ahlawat in the second big event of his life in the span of a month, the first being his monumental 309 at Multan in Pakistan.

The 25-year-old will have more responsibilities in his personal life just as more is being expected from him as a batsman since he late last month became the first Indian to break the 300-run barrier.

That feat made him as big a name as any other in the current Indian batting line-up, including the likes of Rahul Dravid, Venkatsai Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar.

Known to be flamboyant and confident, even audacious, Sehwag is not unlikely to be overly-burdened by the new pressures.

He has made it clear he doesn't like being compared with anyone else, especially not his idol Tendulkar.

"Please don't compare me with him," he said recently. "Sachin has proved himself to be a great batsman while I am yet to do that."

But while Sehwag may not consider himself on a par with the likes of Tendulkar, others do and he is being billed as one of the most exciting cricketers in international cricket right now.

Millions of fans in cricket-crazy India adore him, especially for his ability to blast away right from the start of an innings, once dispatching the first delivery of a Test match out of the ground.

His coach Amar Nath Sharma has never doubted his capability.

"I don't agree with the view that he is unconventional simply because he plays most shots in copybook style. I would say that he has a couple of extra shots in his repertoire coupled with an attacking game," said Sharma.

"He drives and pulls as well as any other batsman and also has the advantage of playing shots like the slash over point which often clear the boundary," said Sharma.

Sehwag, who hails from the rural area of Najafgarh on the outskirts of Delhi, has worked hard to earn soubriquets like "Nawab of Najafgarh" and now "Sultan of Multan".

When he burst on to the Test scene with a century on debut against South Africa at Bloemfontein in November 2001, critics brushed it aside as a "flash in the pan".

But he has since scored another five tons in his first 23 Test matches against different attacks and in different conditions -- in Australia, England and the sub-continent.

For a middle-order batsman to adapt so easily to the opener's role in both versions of the game speaks a lot about his talent.

He has also scored six centuries in limited overs matches.

But his crowning glory was his triple-ton, which came immediately after his engagement to Aarti.

With Thursday having been the most auspicious day on the Hindu calendar for the past 70 years, Sehwag's marriage on that day is likely to make his star shine even brighter. If that's possible.

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