NEW DELHI Virender Sehwag's world record score in one-day internationals will remain under constant threat from the swashbuckling opener himself, according to the Indian batsman's coach.
Sehwag hit a breath-taking 219 off 149 balls against West Indies in Indore on Thursday to surpass Sachin Tendulkar, the player he was compared to early in his career, as the owner of the highest individual score in 50-over cricket.
A.N.Sharma, credited for not ruining Sehwag's natural free-flowing batting when he took the school student under his wing, was not surprised by the achievement.
"It was long overdue," Sharma, who runs a cricket academy in the capital, told Reuters on Friday.
"Honestly speaking, I expected him to score 200 in one-dayers ahead of Sachin Tendulkar.
"I lost count how many times I told him that he just needs to bat 40-odd overs. He does not require more overs to get there. He has such a game.
"I think he can better even this knock. All he needs is a match on a good wicket where the ball comes nicely onto the bat and the outfield is fast. It's not a difficult task for him."
According to Sharma, Sehwag has it in him to surpass the record test score of 400 not out set by West Indies great Brian Lara.
"Of course it's not easy but Sehwag has already hit two triple centuries and can score so quickly that you don't want to rule him out.
"Of course test matches are a different ball game altogether. To score 400, he would have to return the next day, get his eyes in all over again and resume the good work.
"What works for him is that he is never bogged down by any milestone. If he's batting on 94, he would like to reach the 100 with a six. That's how he plays his game and I never tinkered with that."
WHAT A PLAYER
One thing that Sharma did tinker with though was Sehwag's foot-work.
"He had this habit of dragging his back foot out of the crease while playing his shot. To stop that, I tied one end of a rope to his leg and another to a post. He'd practise like this for one month to cure himself," Sharma quipped.
Since those days, Sehwag has established himself as possibly the most devastating batsman in international cricket. His uncomplicated batting philosophy has made him a spectators' delight and led to comparisons with former West Indies great Viv Richards.
"I say it again! I never saw Sir Viv bat but I've seen Sehwag bat! What a player, 219 in a one-day game is next to impossible," his team mate Yuvraj Singh tweeted at twitter.com/# !/yuvsingh09.
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja echoed a similar view on the same platform via his page twitter.com/#!/RamizSpeaks.
"When Viv Richards retired I thought it was end of entertainment. But then came Sehwag, the King of entertainment! Long live the King!"
Tendulkar too was happy that the record he possessed now belonged to a man, who early in his career, was dubbed a "Tendulkar-clone."
"I saw his batting towards the end. I'm very happy for him and also the fact that someone who has broken my record is my team mate and an Indian," Tendulkar, now in Australia, was quoted as saying by the Indian Express newspaper.
(Editing by Patrick Johnston; To comment on this story: email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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