Harbhajan will return to Indian team soon, says Sehwag

ndia’s star batsman Virender Sehwag says the best way for Harbhajan Singh to make a comeback in Indian team is to perform consistently in domestic cricket Getty Images

By M R Mishra

New Delhi: Oct 13, 2011

Dashing opener Virender Sehwag on Thursday backed his axed and out-of-form teammate Harbhajan Singh, saying it is “just a matter of time” before the off-spinner gets back in form to regain his place in the Indian team.

Sehwag said Harbhajan, who has been dropped from the team for the first two ODIs against England starting tomorrow, will have to sweat it out in the domestic circuit to get his mojo back.

“He (Harbhajan) is a champion bowler and I have no doubt he will stage a comeback. He is playing in the Challenger series in Nagpur. He has to work hard in domestic cricket,” Sehwag told PTI in an interview.

“I remember when I was dropped from the team in 2007. I played domestic cricket and worked my way back into the team.

That is the only way to do it. It is just a matter of time and Harbhajan will be back,” he said.

Still recuperating from a shoulder injury that flared up during the Test series in England, Sehwag is eyeing next month’s West Indies’ tour of India for making a comeback into the national team.

Sehwag played the last two Tests in England at Birmingham and the Oval before seeking permission for rest and rehabilitation because of the shoulder injury as well as a hearing problem.

“Well, I am doing fine. I have come to the NCA and the rehabilitation is going on well,” .

Asked about his comeback into the Indian team, Sehwag said, “I dont want to put a time frame. I am working hard to stage a comeback into the team. I am targetting the West Indies series.”

The injury also forced Sehwag, who has had two operations on his shoulder and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, to miss the entire ODI series in England.

The West Indies is scheduled to play three Tests in India starting November 6 at Delhi’s Feroze Shah Kotla stadium followed by a five-match ODI series, the dates of which are yet to be announced.

During his off-time from the game, Sehwag fulfilled his father’s long-cherished dream by launching his integrated sports academy in Shilani Kesho village in Haryana’s Jhajjar district last Sunday.

The cricketer was accompanied by his mother Krishna and wife Aarti for the inauguration of the international standard cricket academy.

“It was my father’s dream and I have now fulfilled it. My father always wanted me to open an academy for children so that they could benefit from it. It was an idea I had for the last five years or so,” Sehwag said.

“I am grateful to all that the school has come up in Jhajjar. I am grateful to Haryana Chief Minister for giving me the land. Right now my target is to provide good facilities and environment.”

Sehwag’s Krishna Drishti Educational Society was given over 23 acres in Jhajjar’s Shilani Kesho village in October 2008 on a 33-year lease by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government for a sports complex at Rs. 3 lakh per acre to promote the interest of the residents of the city in the game of cricket.

Sehwag also said that he has big plans for the trainees and intends to invite his India teammates to the academy in future.

“That is my plan (invite teammates). Whenever India is playing in Delhi, I will try and take some of my teammates to my academy. They can have a chat with the boys. It will be a big motivation and inspiration for them,” Sehwag said.

“In the future, the academy team can also go for some overseas tours for exposure. But these are plans, right now my focus is to give the best facilities and environment,” the swashbuckling batsman said.

He, however, refused to react to ICC’s U-turn from its earlier decision of making the controverial Decision Review System mandatory.

“It is a decision taken by the ICC. I don’t want to comment,” Sehwag said.

The ICC, in its Executive Board meeting, had decided that DRS was no longer mandatory and it will revert to its previous pre-June position to allow the participating nations to decide bilaterally whether they wished to use the system or not. (PTI)