Sehwag to resume batting in a week

Young guns not fazed by short-ball criticism

STRIKING QUARTET: Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma were introduced as brand ambassadors of Birla Sun Life Insurance at a function in Bangalore on Wednesday. DH Photo

Sehwag thus indicated that he could be fit to lead the Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League T20 tournament beginning in the second week of October.

“I am getting better, and feeling fitter and stronger. I have been hitting about 10 to 15 balls a day but I haven’t yet tried the cut and the pull as these shots exert more pressure on the shoulder. I am feeling good and I will start batting from the first week of September,” Sehwag said here on Wednesday.

Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina were unveiled as brand ambassadors of Birla Sun Life Insurance at a launch function.

Sehwag is recovering from a Grade II shoulder tear, for which he was operated upon in London during the World T20 in June. The right-hander, who has been out of action since then, is undergoing a rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy here under physio Paul Close.

The hard-hitting batsman made a whirlwind visit to Delhi during the weekend to resolve the crisis triggered by players’ mutiny against interference in team selection by a certain section of the Delhi and District Cricket Association. Sehwag chose not to comment on the DDCA issue for now.

He, however, ruled out non-cricketing reasons playing a part in selection at the national level. “I haven’t seen anybody who has not performed and has still played for India.

“But such actions (revolts) are necessary at lower levels, where things aren’t so much in the public eye,” he averred.

One-day vice-captain Yuvraj Singh agreed with his senior colleague.

“These (selectoral interferences) things happen at lower levels and that can shatter the dreams of a young boy. I think that’s why Viru has raised the issue and sorted it out,” he opined.

No short shrift!

The short-pitched stuff might have been the scourge of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in the World T20 in June, but the duo sought to put to rest doubts about their inadequacies against the rising ball.

“The pull is my favourite shot,” proclaimed Rohit, almost adding ‘if you please’. “You can’t judge us based on a couple of matches. In fact, I was doing well in South Africa (in the Indian Premier League) against the short ball. I know we didn’t do well in the World T20, but that happens,” added Rohit, who was left out of the Indian one-day squads for the tri-series in Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

Unimpressed by the youngsters’ inability to handle the rising ball, the national selectors brought back Rahul Dravid, who last appeared in a one-day international almost two years ago.

‘It’s very disappointing to lose your place in the side, but these things happen in cricket,” noted Rohit. “There are many senior cricketers who have advised me to come out of that feeling quickly. There is a lot of domestic cricket lined up and I will work hard to come back into the national side.

“My immediate task is to get fit and there are a lots of things to work upon. The Mumbaikar injured himself during a Buchi Babu tournament match in Chennai last week, and will be out of action for at least three weeks.

Raina, who too has had to cop a lot criticism for his inability to cope with the short ball, echoed his team-mate’s views. “We are having two important series ahead of us and I would rather concentrate on them than discussing our problems against the short ball here. Both Rohit and I have handled short balls well in the past and we have hit them out of the ground as well.

“Yes, World T20 was a bad experience, but if you have any doubts about my handling of the short ball, you will get the answer soon,” remarked Raina.

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