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Twenty20 - Sehwag's American rendezvous
by Venu Palaparthi
Sep 10, 2007
Speaking to Indian media yesterday, Sehwag said that in Twenty20 games, he has seen teams "lose too many wickets in the initial overs while going for runs and not being able to complete the 20 overs.” He claimed to have a plan in place to play all 20 overs.

Coming from Sehwag, this kind of analysis is reassuring.

For Sehwag worshippers, it has been a depressing year owing to his mishitting ways. Post World Cup, Viru scores are hardly encouraging - 30, 21, 45, 52 and 8 — the slower ball busting him each time. It has been an easy formula to get him out, one that most bowlers seem to have figured out. First, he belts a few boundaries, then inevitably prods at a slow one and walks back to the pavilion.

Having not had too many opportunities to showcase his talent in domestic cricket, Sehwag really needs to prove himself in the Twenty20 World Cup.

During his exile, he has played a bit for his employer (ONGC) and he also played competitive cricket here in USA - in the LA Open Twenty20 where his team made the finals. This American Twenty20 competition assumes greater significance when assessing chances of Sehwag's comeback.

Has he actually practiced what he now preaches about not losing wickets too early in Twenty20?

The unfortunate truth, looking purely at his stint in Los Angeles, is that he has not. Although Los Angeles fans were treated to some good old Sehwag magic in the first 4 matches, those massive boundaries came at the expense of American league bowlers.

Sehwag fared poorly in the semis and the finals, where his team, the AM International, played A-list players from the West Indies including a handful of players with international experience.

Here is how his luck played out in the LA Open 2020.

In the first match against Los Angeles Transformers, he scored 40 runs from 31 balls for AM International. Avishka Gunawardene was the highest scorer in this match scoring 42 from 25 balls. In the second match versus Southern California, he scored 46 from 29 balls - he was the highest scorer in his team's 123. He was not so lucky when he bowled conceding 34 runs from 4 overs (no wickets). In the third match against Combined XI, he was out for 29 from 11 balls in what was a low scoring match.

Then came the quarter-finals and Sehwag's magic waned as the quality of opposition began to improve. He was clean bowled by Sunny Singh of the San Francisco Blasters in this match after scoring 17 from 11 balls. Sushant Marathe pulled AM International through with his 45 run haul. Sehwag's bowling was somewhat lack-lustre in this match - 3 overs 22 runs.

In the semis and finals, Sehwag was back to his old woeful ways against tougher competition.

Against Punjab Blues (a strangely named team - playing for Punjab were men from the West Indies like Richie Richardson), Sehwag made 4 from 7 balls. Of course, his team still won owing to Rohan Gavaskar's 36. Viru had better luck with the ball here (4 overs 19 runs for 1 wicket).

All eyes were on Viru in the final between AM International and Trinidad and Tobago. T&T had some first class players - endl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Dave Mohammed, Kieron Pollard, Rayad Emrit, Richard Kelly to name a few.

T&T won the toss and decided to bat. Barring Bravo, who made 36, there were no big scores for T&T and Sehwag bowled an economical 4 overs conceding 10 runs. T&T ended their 20 overs on 147 - the ask of 7 runs an over should not have been too huge a task for a side that included several international and Ranji names!

The stage was set for Viru as he opened alongside Avishka. But he faced all of 10 balls scoring just 14 runs before being caught by Andrew Brown off Richard Kelly. His side, AM International, lost the match and T&T took home the championship.

Viru probably would have preferred to have better scores against his name than 4 runs in the semis and 14 in the finals.

"I have been working on the mental side of my game. I have been doing some yoga exercises aimed at controlling my mind and heart," he reportedly told PTI. We hope he deep breathes in before he goes for another errant shot.

 
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