Despite being shown the door from the Indian cricket team last year after a string of dismal performances, Delhi batsman Virender Sehwag remains upbeat about a recall to the national team. The Nawab of Najabgargh plans to continue playing with the same attacking style he is known for, when the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League kicks off in the United Arab Emirates from April 16.
Sehwag, who was bought by Kings XI Punjab at the 2014 Indian Premier League Players' Auction for Rs 3.2 crore, has been in good touch lately for Delhi's domestic side along with his former Team India opening partner Gautam Gambhir. He smashed 67 runs off 35 balls to lead Delhi to a six-wicket win over Punjab in a Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy match on April 4. Earlier on March 26, with his 97-ball 109, Sehwag led Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to a comfortable six-wicket win over Durham in a Champion County Test match in Abu Dhabi.
"Last season I did not score runs; but if I do well in the IPL, I may get a chance to come back in the national team. It depends on my performance," Sehwag said a few days back.
With young players like Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma doing a decent job for the Indian team, Sehwag understands that only consistency can help him get back.
"If my body permits, I want to continue to play for two-three years. Then I will take a call," he said, hinting that he is not thinking of retirement. Sehwag last played for India in the Hyderabad Test against Australia in March 2013.
Although Sehwag was unhappy after his local franchise, Delhi Daredevils ignored him in the IPL auctions this year after six consecutive seasons, he promised to repay Kings XI Punjab for the faith they have placed in him.
However, Sehwag refused to take up the role of captain that was offered to him by the Punjab franchise, after which Australia's George Bailey was named skipper.
"I was asked (by the Kings XI Punjab) if I wanted to be the captain; but I said if there are other options, I would prefer to be just a player. My role will be the same with what I have been doing in the Indian team. I will guide the youngsters and try to motivate them," Sehwag revealed.
Sehwag, who has amassed 8586 runs in 104 Tests and 8273 runs in 251 ODIs during his career, experimented with a stint in the middle order in 2013 in a quest to regain form, but it did not work for him. Now, he plans to open for his new team Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
"I have been playing as opener in Twenty20, so I will open for Punjab in the IPL. I will play the same way I have been playing - hit the ball if it's to be hit," said Sehwag.
The fire to play for India still burns inside Sehwag, along with the fire to hit balls out of the ground! (Also read: Sehwag turns good samaritan, helps 12-year-old to go to school)
(With quotes from PTI)