Did Virender Sehwag make way for Gautam Gambhir to join Essex?

Both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been out of the national side due to poor form and Viru's refusal to join Essex could cost him when selectors pick the squad for the tour of South Africa.

Updated: August 18, 2013 14:32 IST
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Even as Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh trained hard in France to regain full fitness and return to the Indian side, another India discard Virender Sehwag snubbed an offer from a County side.

According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, the Delhi dasher turned down the offer to play for Essex in the LV County Championship and Yorkshire Bank 40 competition.

The Essex head coach Paul Grayson has said that "Sehwag was not available" but the reason is unknown.

"I'm not going to disclose the reason behind him refusing to play. We had to hire only one overseas player for the six matches," Grayson further added.

Viru's coach AN Sharma however says that the 34-year-old was not interested on playing. "From what I gather, Sehwag was not keen on playing. If he chooses to play, any county would welcome him," coach Sharma said.

Sehwag's refusal paved way for his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir, also sidelined by the Indian selectors, who grabbed the opportunity with both hands and agreed to join the county side for the remainder of the season.

"We are delighted that Gautam Gambhir has agreed to join us for the remainder of the season," Derek Bowden, the Essex County Cricket Club chief executive said.

Both Sehwag and Gambhir have been out of Indian team for quite some time now due to their poor forms. While Sehwag's last appearance for India was against Australia in a Test match in March in Hyderabad, Gambhir has been out of the Indian side since January.

The 31-year-old left-hander's last international appearance was against England in Dharamsala on January 27.

Sehwag's form in this year's Indian Premier League too was not that great as in 13 matches for Delhi Daredevils, the dasher scored just 295 runs with the help of one half-century.

Since the start of Ranji Trophy is almost three months away, a short stint in the County would have put him in contention for the tour of South Africa starting in November.

The rise of several players including another Delhi lad Shikhar Dhawan in both the formats (Tests and ODIs) has meant that the Indian team has not missed the services of either Sehwag or Gambhir much. But Gauti is ready to fight it out.

"It doesn't bother me at all. It's good to have competition and I have always believed in it. When I was playing for India and was doing well, I was still saying the same thing. I am not someone who runs away from competition. It's good to have competition in every field, whether in cricket or any other profession because it gets the best out of you," Gambhir said.

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