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'I will open for Kings XI and play the same way I have been playing'

Last updated on: April 02, 2014 08:14 IST

'I will open for Kings XI and play the same way I have been playing'

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Manu Shankar

IPL 6 wasn’t very good for me. I wasn’t making runs for Delhi. This time I’m a part of a new group and hope I can repay the faith of the franchise.

Virender Sehwag talks to Rediff.com’s Manu Shankar about life on the sidelines and his chances of regaining lost glory in the upcoming Indian Premier League season.

Whether he is in form or not, one trait about Virender Sehwag is his positivity. Like always, it takes one solid innings for the 'Sultan of Multan' to roar back to form.

His last Test was against Australia at Hyderabad,  and last ODI against Pakistan, both over a year back. Following dwindling form and a string of poor scores in domestic cricket the dashing opener finds himself in the wilderness.

But a whirlwind innings for the MCC against Durham last last month could change all that.

Sehwag smoked a 88 off 109 deliveries, which included 18 hits to the fence and one six, as Marylebone Cricket Club posted a six-wicket victory over Durham in a Champion County Test match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Naturally, the confidence is back.

The Delhi opener is now hopeful of a good showing in the upcoming seventh season of the IPL, where he will turn out for Kings XI Punjab.

The 35-year-old opener, who has 8586 Test runs from 104 matches and 8273 runs from 251 ODIs to his name, talks to Rediff.com’s Manu Shankar about life on the sidelines and his chances of regaining lost glory in the upcoming Indian Premier League season.

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Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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'I was never low on confidence'

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Manu Shankar

Would you say IPL 7 is an ideal opportunity make a statement?

IPL 6 wasn’t a very good one for me. I wasn’t making runs for Delhi. This time I’m a part of a new group and hope I can repay the faith of the franchise.

All I have to do is score runs and leave the rest to the selectors to decide whether I should be in the team or not.

The string of low scores must have been a frustrating time...

The thing is I was never low on confidence. I believed in my ability. I have played for India for so long, so it’s just a matter of time. This bad phase will pass.

It’s a phase that every cricketer goes through. What’s required is that you need stay positive and keep working hard. 

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Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Tags: IPL , Delhi , India

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'I was asked if I want to lead Delhi Daredevils, but I declined'

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Manu Shankar

Were you disappointed that Delhi Daredevils did not bid for you at the auction?

Yes, it was a bit disappointing, considering the fact that I have been a part of the Daredevils team for the last six seasons.

But I also know that decision was a professional one and not personal.  So, it’s okay.

Any specific area you are working on?

I’m doing everything that a batsman would do. I’m hitting it well in the nets and also putting in the hard work.

Going back to the IPL, why did you decline the captaincy role at Kings XI?

I was asked if I want to lead the side, but I declined because I want to contribute just as a player. 

Later, Sanjay Bangar [assistant coach] informed me that [Australia's] George Bailey will captain the side. The management, however, expects me have a say too, considering I am the senior-most player.

And I am happy to play that role. My role in Kings XI Punjab will be the same as what I have been doing in the Indian team. I will guide the youngsters and try to motivate them.

So, will we see you as an opener or in the middle order?

Of course, I will open for Kings XI. In T20, you want to score as quickly as possible. I will play the same way I have been playing -- hit the ball if it's to be hit. 

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Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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'Virat will need at least five years to go anywhere near Tendulkar's records'

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Manu Shankar

Virat Kohli has cemented his name as the top Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar. Do you agree? 

Virat has been doing what everybody was expecting from him. He is scoring runs and winning matches for India. 

He has the skill, the ambition and currently, in the Indian line-up, he is the most in-form player. 

Tendulkar's records are far away. Virat will need at least five years to go anywhere near Tendulkar's records. 

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Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: BCCI

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'I owe my triple ton to Tendulkar'

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Manu Shankar

Does March 28, 2004 ring a bell in your ears?

Of course, it does! It is the most-cherished moment of my life. It’s been 10 years, but I still remember it like yesterday.

The thing is, when I scored that triple ton [309] in Multan, I wasn’t aware of that fact that I would be the first one to hit it. I thought [Sunil] Gavaskar or Gundappa Viswanath would have achieved the feat. It was only after I got back into the dressing room that I got to know about it. 

Tendulkar was at the other end in that match and he told me not to hit sixes after I reached 125 or so. He kept motivating me to go for a big score. But for him I may not have scored my first triple hundred. 

Who’s your best bet to score a triple ton for India again?

Anyone from No 1 to No 4 can score a triple ton. But if I have put a name, then it has to be Kohli, [Cheteshwar] Pujara or Rohit [Sharma].

Any plans on hanging up your boots and going into entrepreneurship?

Not right now. I plan to give myself at least three years more, if my body permits. After that I will decide.


Image: Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar during the course of the triple century against Pakistan in 2004
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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