Virender Sehwag, the former Indian opener, lashed out at Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for their use of ‘code strategy’ in a match against Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Monday.

The incident happened in the middle overs of Punjab’s innings when Knight Riders’ analyst Nathan Leamon held up a cryptic placard reading ’54.’ Everyone, including the commentators, was perplexed at the message and tried to decode it with their wild guesses.

Sehwag, too fluked that the number ’54’ must be the plan to bring a certain bowler into the attack.

“We have only seen such code language in the army. I think ’54’ was the name of their plan which could be about bowling a certain bowler at a particular time. I think that’s a little help that management and coaches want to give to the captain from the dugout,” Sehwag told Cricbuzz.

The stalwart agreed that though there was nothing wrong in sending messages across from the dugout but for the fact that this took away the captain’s instinctive ability. Stressing on the importance of instinct, Sehwag further added that it was Eoin Morgan’s intuitive ability that won England the ODI World Cup.

“There’s nothing to frown upon in this, but if they are dictating [the game] from the outside then in this way, anyone can be the captain right? There’s no role left for his (Eoin Morgan) popular instinctive power in the game, the power with which he won the World Cup,” opined Sehwag.

The veteran also admitted that the captain could take help from his side’s staff if they provide him with an ingenuine solution or remind the skipper of something that he has forgotten.

“I think one should definitely get help from outside but the captain himself has some instincts about which type of bowler to use when. I am not saying don’t take the help from outside because sometimes even the 25th player can give a good suggestion.But this suggestion should be only something which helps the captain and he thinks ‘Right, I didn’t think about it in this way’. Also, these things can help if he has forgotten something and the code reminds him of that then there’s no issue, “Sehwag added.

Sehwag concluded by giving an example of how MS Dhoni’s innate thinking ability helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) when Mahi placed just two players on the leg side to contain Andre Russell.

“Many captains like MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are instinctive. They change their strategy according to the situation on the ground. If I talk about MS here, then when Andre Russell was batting, there was no fine-leg or deep square-leg, just 2 players on the leg-side, and the rest were on the off-side. No analyst can tell you this; this is MS Dhoni’s immediate thinking. No doubt, help from the dugout is good, but there are certain instances when the captain’s instincts are more important,” Sehwag further stated.

KKR won the match comfortably-for the second time this season with 5 wickets in hand.


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