During the last 10 years, if there is one cricketer who can be classified as charismatic, whose playing style can be summed up as audacious, who can easily tear apart the opposition just in the first hour of play and who is considered the most dangerous batsman of the modern era, he is the "Sultan of Multan:" Virender Sehwag.
This name has surely become the synonym of trust and confidence in the Indian Cricket team. Every time the team needs something special, Sehwag always has an appropriate answer for that.
Year after year, innings after innings, he has proved that simple hand-eye coordination and sharp reflexes can also help you to become one of the most prolific scorers of the history of the game.
Though he wishes that nobody should follow his style of play, still he is one of the most followed cricketer in the world today.
But now, the time has come that he should convert his "good cricketer" tag into that of a "great cricketer."
And the current Indian tour of South Africa provides the perfect opportunity for him to do the needful task.
It’s been well known that the Indian team has rarely performed well in the African nation even in a single test, forget a whole test series. No Indian cricketer averages more than 45 in tests played in South Africa. Even "great cricketers" like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman themselves have found it extremely hard to perform up to their expectations against the proteas in their den.
Thus, this tour of South Africa, just ahead of the World Cup, provides an excellent opportunity for Sehwag to enter the list of all time greats.
Sehwag will surely be having good memories of South Africa, as he made his first test match hundred—an attacking 105 against the hosts in late 2001 in Bloemfontein under pressure and will again look forward to dictate the terms against the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
It will be a great contest between the pace of bowlers and the pace with which Sehwag makes runs. If he can provide quick solid starts to India and covert them to big hundreds, as he often does, there is no stopping the men in blue.
It is widely debated what will his approach be while batting, as it will be difficult to play on the front foot. The Proteas would also test him with short pitched deliveries in the fast and bouncy tracks.
To tackle all of those, Sehwag has only one universal mantra: "See the ball, hit the ball." This sort of approach should definitely help him there.
He has now established a unique brand which is popular for fearless cricket. The moment a spectator lays his eyes on Sehwag, he knows that there is always the possibility for a boundary on the next ball. His execution of batting with the same effect for pacers and spinner proves to be a great advantage for him.
Having said that, there are still many critics who question the "great" tag sometimes associated to him. There are questions raised over his technique and style of play.
But it is not at all remembered that with all the shortcomings which his critics have penned down, he has scored 7550 runs in 84 tests with an excellent average of 54.71 and even better strike rate of 82.17.
The South African coach commented on India's past performance in South Africa saying, "Records and numbers don't lie."
Well the same can be said here. Such a performance can be only expected by a great player.
Regarding the nearest milestone for Sehwag in the coming high profile series, he has a perfect chance to climb up the chart of maximum sixes in test cricket.
Presently he has 84 sixes, and is only behind Adam Gilchirst (100), Brian Lara (88) and Chris Cairns(87).
A fantastic Test Series in South Africa will put Virender Sehwag in that elite group of cricketers who have performed exceptionally well in all possible conditions and will surely win over the elusive title of a "great" cricketer.