The Game changers

A marquee series needs a marquee contest, a key event, the headliner. This Test series between the two top teams features two of the most joyful cricketers in the world.When MS Dhoni was asked at the pre-match press conference in Johannesburg how Virender Sehwag was dealing with the pressure of being the centre of discussion surrounding the series, he replied, "He doesn't take the pressure. That's the best part." Dhoni wouldn't have known that around the same time the man himself was sitting coolly in a corner of the food court of the huge shopping mall - a world in itself - that is Sandton City.

You wouldn't even have noticed Sehwag but for the larger presence of Ishant Sharma, and the smaller one of Gautam Gambhir, around him.Just an additional small group in a crowd of small groups. If you were looking for the man everyone was talking about, Sehwag didn't look like that man. If you were looking for the man thought to be the key for India in the three-Test series, Sehwag didn't look like that man either."You can have only one Sehwag," Dhoni said. "That's the beauty of his game. Whatever comes his way he will play according to the value of the delivery. That's what his strength is."

Perhaps Dhoni has got it wrong there. The concept of the merit of the delivery is quite different in Sehwag's world. After scoring close to a triple-century in one day against Sri Lanka last year, he had this to say: "In the dressing room they told me I was hitting the good balls too, but if you look at it my way, I hit only the bad ones." That's why Sehwag is so important to India. They need him to redefine good balls and bad balls in difficult conditions.They need to see him hit the South Africa bowlers for boundaries before the rest of the batsmen come in to bat.


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