Stooping over the bat with legs stretched apart, Virender Sehwag glanced at Virat Kohli in dismay.
There was nothing the young Delhi skipper, now the toast of the nation, could do to save the sagging career of his one-time hero.
An innocuous ball that crashed through Sehwag’s defences in the Challenger Trophy final against India Blue, exposed the fragility that now defines India’s most destructive batsman.
Bat coming from the direction of slips and feet rooted on the leg stump, the ball trundled in through the crevice, giving seamer Vinay Kumar more joy than he actually deserved.
After Sehwag had walked past him, Kohli shadowed the way the ball should have been played. Kohli’s reaction could have been delayed on purpose. It is an arduous task to admonish a player of Sehwag’s stature.
He had seen that on the field, and had to put him in slips even when the ball wasn’t likely to take an edge or in positions where the ball wouldn’t chase him. “He is a great player. It is an honour to lead him,” Kohli had said before the first game here. When Kohli was cutting teeth in Delhi cricket just 8 years back Sehwag was tonking the best.
And here was Sehwag, in front of 22,000 people, fighting for a place in an India team that has Kohli as one of the decision-makers, and on the very ground that gave him a standing ovation for a world record ODI score, less than two years back.
Earlier, Yuvraj Singh did enough to stay in the radar. He made an authoritative 29 and partnered Manish Pandey (62) well before falling leg-before.
Delhi were in charge as they reduced India Blue to 178 for five. But Ankit Bawne resisted and Piyush Chawla hit some lusty blows to push India Blue to 274.
Brief scores: India Blue 274/9 in 50 overs (Pandey 62, Chawla 42; Awana 4-39) beat Delhi 224 in 44.4 overs (Milind 54, Bisht 54 no; Bhuvneshwar 4-39, Vinay 3-64)