Sehwag hoping to use IPL as a stage to shape turnaround

Last Updated 30 March 2014, 18:18 IST

A decade ago, Virender Sehwag basked in the glory of becoming the first Indian to hit a triple century.

The feat happened in Multan, Pakistan and earned him the sobriquet of 'Sultan of Multan'.

That irrepressible form seemed to have deserted the swashbuckling opener, who is now struggling to return to the national side.  

He, however, sees an opportunity in the forthcoming Indian Premier League, which begins April 16. The Delhi dasher admitted he didn’t score enough runs to be reckoned for selection but drew hope from the century he hit recently for Marylebone Cricket Club against Durham in Abu Dhabi in a four-day game.

"It feels good. When I was not scoring then also the confidence and motivation were there. After the century I am hopeful that the IPL will go good. I am very excited to play for the Kings XI Punjab. It is a new team (this year). My first class season did not go well. But I am working a lot on fitness besides practicing.  If I do well in IPL, I may get a chance to come back to the national team. It depends on my performance,” Sehwag told reporters at the launch of Dairy Best Junior Pitch 2014, a cricket league for under-16 players on Saturday.

The tournament will be jointly organised by Sehwag Cricket Academy and Kwality Limited.

The 35-year-old believed he still had 2-3 years of cricket left in him and would like to open the innings the way he had done all these years.

He, however, refused to captain the Kings XI Punjab and was content to guide the younger members of the team.  

"I was asked if I want to be the captain but I preferred to be just a player. But I will be guiding the youngsters and motivating them,” said Sehwag, who had been with Delhi Daredevils in all past editions of IPL.

"I have always opened the innings in Twenty20, so I will open for Kings XI.  In T20, you don’t get much time to think and you want to score as many runs you can. I will play with the same way I have been playing -- hit the ball if it's there to be hit."

Sehwag is also keeping a close tab on the ongoing World T20 in Bangladesh and picked India the favourite to win the title.

“The conditions in Bangladesh are not much different from India. Also most Indian players have been doing well in the IPL, so we have good chances. Hopefully the middle order will score more runs," he said.

Sehwag fondly remembered his milestone of 309 on March 29, 2004.

"I didn’t know I was the first Indian to score a triple century. I thought Gavaskar or a Gundappa Viswanath would have done that before. It’s only when I came back to the dressing room I got to know,” he said.

(Published 30 March 2014, 18:16 IST)

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