In Goa these days for a break, Virender Sehwag is expected to return to Delhi on Monday. And the first thing he is likely to do is meet administrators along with longtime coach AN Sharma to sort out an issue concerning the building of a wall at the Vikaspuri academy where he took early steps in the game.
However, with Delhi Daredevils deciding on Friday not to retain him for IPL VII, that issue could fade into the background. Though Daredevils was the only team not to retain any player, it will still be perceived as a snub.
Sehwag’s IPL hopes now rest on the February 12/13 auctions in Bangalore. After a miserable Ranji season and with no cricket until then — domestic limited overs competitions start on February 27 — franchises will only have his reputation to go by. Sources close to Daredevils say some discussions held with the player didn’t prove productive. David Warner too is said to have been considered initially.
Those close to Sehwag however say he is determined to make a strong comeback and his stature will carry him through in the auctions. “Twenty20 is a different format altogether. The tracks he got in the Ranji games were challenging. In T20s, the tracks are belters,” said Sanjeev Sharma, Delhi’s Ranji coach.
Of late, Sehwag has been linked with Reliance, owners of Mumbai Indians with whom he was employed. Sources say MI could consider him now that Sachin Tendulkar has retired. Daredevils also opted not to retain the other stars — Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and Unmukt Chand.
While Jayawardene and Pietersen could also have been ignored due to their national commitments, Daredevils were not exactly a very happy dressing room last year. “They want to start afresh and don’t want any baggage,” said an official close to the team.
Yuvraj Singh, who played for the now-defunct Pune Warriors, will retain hopes of staying in the IPL as Punjab are still alive in the Ranji Trophy. That would help avoid the kind of scenario in 2011 when Sourav Ganguly went unsold. The 24 players retained by the seven teams indicate that franchises have focused on core strength, continuity and connect with fans.
Kings XI Punjab, expected to keep only South African big-hitter David Miller, also retained uncapped batsman Manan Vohra, a former India U-19 player who used to open with Unmukt Chand but missed the last U-19 World Cup due to injury. He made just 161 runs in 12 matches on his senior debut this season, but his retention keeps intact the policy of teams going for local talent.
Rajasthan Royals retained the uncapped Sanju Samson and Stuart Binny as well as India batsman Ajinkya Rahane while Mumbai Indians kept faith with Ambati Rayudu.