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Virender Sehwag eyes India comeback with good show in IPL 2014

Virender Sehwag © Getty Images
Virender Sehwag will play for the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 7 © Getty Images

New Delhi: Mar 29, 2014

Senior batsman Virender Sehwag on Saturday 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 Indian Premier League (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 National Capital Region (NCR), 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 8,273 runs from 251 ODIs.

Sehwag scored a century for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) 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.

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