New Delhi: He relinquished the Delhi Daredevils captaincy last season but Virender Sehwag feels that his decision will have no bearing on his approach as he once again shoulders the burden of being the batting mainstay of the franchise in the sixth edition of IPL.
"I don't think it matters whether I am captaining the side or not. Captaincy has never affected my game. I have never felt the pressure on my batting while leading the side," Sehwag told PTI.
"I have never felt any pressure as captain, my approach to batting has always remained the same", he said when asked whether Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene donning the mantle of captain will lessen the burden on him.
For Sehwag, captaincy and performance are two separate entities which should not be mixed with each other.
"I have always maintained that captaincy and performance are two separate issues altogether. If you talk about the pressures of captaincy, then I had scored five consecutive half centuries during the last edition of the IPL and the highest number of runs for Delhi Daredevils," he said.
Sehwag's five half-centuries in a row (he scored 495 runs last season) is an IPL record but he reckons that it might be surpassed this year.
"Someone can break it this year," he answered with a smile after his interaction with kids during NDTV's 'Marks for Sports' Campaign at the Modern School ground.
Sehwag admitted that Kevin Pietersen, who is out with knee injury will be missed a lot as his contribution was immense in helping the team reach last four stage in the fifth edition of the cash rich league.
"KP is a big occasion player and he will certainly be missed but we have other players who can put their hands up and be counted. We have 10 quality foreign players and whoever replaces him in the XI will get an opportunity to make a name for himself on the big stage. If they can grab their chance and prove their worth, we can win the trophy."
Asked about how he is shaping up going into the first game, the 34-year-old opener said, "Very well and I feel 100 per cent fit."
This edition will be important for Sehwag as he tries to make a comeback into the Indian team and he feels that any player on his day can win the championship for his team.
"If one guy can play particularly well on a given day, he can very well win the trophy for his team. Take Manvinder Bisla as an example. He played a superb knock in the IPL final and Kolkata Knight Riders won the trophy. I am hopeful that someone will do it for the Delhi Daredevils this year," Sehwag added.
However, the veteran of 104 Tests and 251 ODIs felt that it will not be fair to earmark certain teams as favourites.
"Look at the IPL history and you know that any team can win the tournament. It is difficult to pinpoint any one team. Every team has the capability to pose an equal challenge and it will depend on how a particular team fares on a particular day."
Being the 'fitness ambassador of Delhi, Sehwag lauded the initiative taken up by NDTV and Nirmal.
"It is a great privilege to be associated with NDTVs Marks for Sports Campaign. I believe country has a great sporting talent and such initiative will encourage parents and teachers to support a more active and healthier outlook in their children's lives. Also if there can be marks for studies, there should be marks for sports as well," he concluded.