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Virender Sehwag aims to get back to India reckoning with good IPL show

Sehwag scored a century for MCC against English county side Durham in Abu Dhabi a few days back.

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi |
March 29, 2014 5:17:50 pm
Virender Sehwag became the first Indian batsman to score a triple century in tests on the same day, 10 years ago against Pakistan at Multan. (AFP) Virender Sehwag became the first Indian batsman to score a triple century in tests on the same day, 10 years ago against Pakistan at Multan. (AFP)

Senior batsman Virender Sehwag today conceded that he had not scored enough runs in the last season to be in the India team but said he would hope to be back in the reckoning with a good performance in the IPL beginning next month.

Sehwag, who was bought by Kings XI Punjab in players’ auction early this year for Rs 3.2 crore, said he was looking forward to the IPL to come back to form and make his presence felt.

“Last season was not good for me as I was not making runs. But I hope I can do well in the IPL. It’s a new team, new players. I hope I can justify the faith my new franchise has on me,” Sehwag told reporters at a programme to launch an U-14 cricket league for boys in NCR region, a tournament to be jointly organised by Sehwag Academy and dairy products company Kwality Limited.

Asked how long will it take for him to make a comeback in the national team, Sehwag said, “My duty is to score runs and it is for the selectors to decide whether I should be in the team or not.

“Last season, I did not score runs but if I do well in IPL, I may get a chance to come back in national team. It depends on my performance,” said Sehwag who last played for India in a Test against Australia in March last year.

Sehwag, however, said that he was never low on confidence and his exclusion from the India team was due to “bad days” which every player will have to experience in his career.

“There was confidence even when I was not scoring. I have played for India for so long and it was because of bad days I was experiencing. Every player does experience bad days in his career,” said Sehwag who has scored 8586 Test runs from 104 matches and 8273 runs from 251 ODIs.

Sehwag scored a century for Marylebone Cricket Club against English county side Durham in Abu Dhabi a few days back, but asked about that, he simply said, “It feels good.”

Asked how long he would want to carry on his career, Sehwag, now 35, said, “If my body permits, I want to continue
to play for two-three years. Then I will take a call.”

Sehwag refused to answer any question about the IPL fixing and betting scandal and Sunil Gavaskar being made interim president of the BCCI by the Supreme Cort to look after the running of IPL 7.

“I don’t want to say anything on that issue,” he said.

Sehwag, who played for Delhi Daredevils in the last editions of the IPL, said he told the Kings XI Punjab management that he would prefer not to captain the side.

“I was asked if I want to be the captain but I said if there’s other options I would prefer to be just a player.

Sanjay Bangar (KXIP coach) later informed me that George Bailey will captain the side but I should play a big role in the team as I am the seniormost player,” he said.

“I am happy to play that role. My role in KXIP will be the same with what I have been doing in the Indian team. I will guide the youngsters and try to motivate them,” he added.

Sehwag did not open in Ranji matches for Delhi last season as well as in Vijay Hazare (50-over) tournament, but he
said he will open for KXIP in the IPL.

“I have been playing as opener in Twenty20, so I will open for KXIP in the IPL. In T20, you want to score as many runs as possible. So I will play with the same way I have been playing — hit the ball if it’s to be hit.”

Asked which side are the favourite to win the ongoing World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, Sehwag said, “Number one favourite is India and then West Indies and Australia.

“The conditions in Bangladesh are not much different from those in India and most of the players are in good touch. The Indian middle order has not been tested much. Moreover, all the Indian players have been doing well in the IPL and so India are the top favourites,” he said.

He was happy for leg-spinner Amit Mishra who has been one of the top performers in the World Twenty20.

“Mishra has got the chance to show his worth. He has got back-to-back man-of-the-match awards. In T20, one over can make all the difference or one man can win a match. Mishra is doing that for India,” he said.

Sehwag also talked highly of India’s batting mainstay Virat Kohli but felt that that the youngster will need to play at least five years to go anywhere near Sachin Tendulkar’s record.

“Virat has been doing what everybody was expecting from him. He is scoring runs and winning matches for India.”

Asked about views of some experts that Kohli may break some of Tendulkar’s records if he continues in the fine form he is currently in, Sehwag said, “He has just started and Tendulkar’s records are far away. Virat will need at least five years to go anywhere near Tendulkar’s records.”

On struggling Yuvarj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan, Sehwag said they should be given some time to prove themselves.

“It’s true that Yuvi is facing bad days. But he has not scored in just two matches (in the ongoing World T20). Everybody knows he is a match-winner. So he should be given some more time. I hope he does find form in the semifinal and the final,” Sehwag said of Yuvraj.

“Dhawan is a young player and he should be given some more time. I also did not score too many runs when I started playing for India but I got the backing of team management. I hope Dhawan hit back to form,” Sehwag said when asked about Dhawan who has taken his opening slot in the Indian team.

The only Indian player to have a triple hundred in Test against his name, Sehwag picked Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujar and Rohit Sharma to achieve the feat.

Asked who among the current Indian players can hit a triple century in Test, Sehwag said, “Virat, Pujara or Rohit can do it. The number one to four batsmen have more chance to score a triple century.”

Sehwag, who scored his first triple ton against Pakistan — a 309 — exactly 10 years back at Multan (on March 28, 2004), said every year he does something to remember the feat.

“I married after coming back from that tour in Pakistan and just like our marriage anniversary, I and my wife do something like going for a movie like that to remember my first triple century,” he said.

“When I scored my first triple century in Multan, I did not know that I would be the first Indian to achieve that feat. I thought a Gavaskar or a Gundappa Viswanath must have done that. I came to know of that only after I was at the dressing room.

“Sachin Tendulkar was at the other end in that match and he told me not to hit sixes after I reached 125 or so. He was motivating me to go for a big score. But for him, I may not have scored my first triple hundred,” said Sehwag who went on to score his second triple hundred — a 319 — in 2008 against South Africa in Chennai.

Asked if he would want his son Aryavir to play cricket, Sehwag said, “I will give him the freedom what to do in life. If he wants to play cricket, I will give him the facilities to do that.”

Sehwag said he plans to open academies in small towns in other states.

“I want to give facilities, playing grounds to the young players in these academies. I want them play matches and if I can get even a single talented player from such an academy, I will be happy.”

Sehwag said that the Dairy Best Junior Pitch 2014 tournament for Under-14 players will be competed among 24 teams and the final will be held at his academy at Jhajjar in Haryana.

“It’s not restricted to school children only, anybody under 14 years of age from the NCR can take part. Registration can be done online or by coming at any of our academies.”

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