Virender Sehwag India
Virender Sehwag and that beautiful blade of his made a big impact in the sport of cricketReuters

Zaheer Khan and now Virender Sehwag -- this retirement bug, when it catches, it latches onto everyone on that career precipice, looking down into the great retirement unknown, doesn't it.

While Zaheer was undoubtedly one of India's three best fast bowlers of all-time, the big question is (or not that big really, just a thought), where does Sehwag belong?

That is the great thing about this batting phenom, isn't it? Sehwag, probably, doesn't even remotely care, realise or grasp how much impact he has made on Indian cricket, what he brought to the game, and the immense joy he gave every single cricket (not Indian cricket, cricket) fan.

When Sehwag was at his peak, there was no more destructive batsman in world cricket, and as MS Dhoni said in his tribute to the great man – some of us might have been too young to be able to watch Viv Richards, but Sehwag came close enough in dominating bowlers – not just hitting them out of the park, you know, but in true Viv Richards style, doing it with panache, arrogance and that disdain of "ok, so you are a bowler, and you are meant to be thumped, no offence, but that is just the way it is."

The unforgettable innings' that Sehwag has played runs longer than the Nile river, be that the ridiculous start he gave to India's chase in Chennai, which Sachin Tendulkar finished off, or the triple hundreds he scored – the only Indian to do that by the way – and many, many more.

What was almost unfathomable, and great, about the man was for a player whose game is tailor-made for the limited-overs game, he was at his most lethal in the Test format.

Opening the innings, time and again he gave India such strong, authoritative starts, he made the lives of the likes of Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman a lot easier. You can almost imagine, what would have been going through the minds of the opening bowlers going into a Test match, couldn't you -- "Yikes, that bloke Sehwag is opening the innings for India, should I endure the pain, or will pulling a hammy be better?"

Virender Sehwag graphics

Sehwag was one of those batsmen who could put fear into the bowlers, because no matter how well you bowled, if he was in the zone, that ball would go flying all over the place, particularly square of the wicket.

It is a little sad that, that special era of India's batting has been defined by the "big four" of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman, because, as any of those four will readily admit as well, Sehwag was just as good and worthy of the tag.

Without Sehwag opening the innings, India would not have been as potent, not as good, not as exciting and certainly not invoke that sheer joy you get at watching a game of cricket.

There aren't too many such players around anymore – AB De Villiers comes close – but forever and more, Sehwag will be remembered for making cricket what it should be – sheer joy, and there is no better legacy to leave behind than that.

Also read