Virender Sehwag threw the Delhi Daredevils' IPL campaign in jeopardy after failing to show up at the Eden Gardens on the eve of their opening clash against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
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Late on Tuesday evening, news from the Daredevils' camp was that Sehwag had still not arrived and has been ruled out of Wednesday's match.
If his absence was befuddling, the Daredevils management's ignorance about his whereabouts was even more astonishing.
Neither team mentor TA Sekar nor coach Eric Simons could specifically say when or whether Sehwag would arrive. “He is not in town yet. We are not sure exactly at which stage he will be here,” was Simons' terse reply when asked about Sehwag.
On thin ice
Underachievers Daredevils already face a tricky situation with Kevin Pietersen having withdrawn from the IPL due to injury and Jesse Ryder recovering from a shocking assault outside a bar in Christchurch.
A further blow has come in the form of Morne Morkel, the highest wicket-taker last year, who is unavailable due to domestic commitments in South Africa. But none is as big as Sehwag's, who despite not being the captain remains the face of the Daredevils.
What makes the situation complicated is the reason offered for his absence.
“He has been having back spasms,” was the official quote given as the reason of Sehwag's absence.
Played with injury
History though tells us that Sehwag had played in the 2011 IPL despite having an iffy right shoulder. He had to later undergo surgery that ruled him out midway through the IPL and for the tour of West Indies after that.
It also meant that India didn't get his services for the first two Tests in the tour of England in which they were whipped 0-4. Sehwag came back for the last two Tests on that tour but again faced discomfort in the fourth Test at the Oval.
It was found that his injury had not completely healed as a result of which he was again ruled out of the ODI leg of the tour.
This time though it's unknown when Sehwag was actually injured. He has hardly trained with the Daredevils team and also didn't play in their practice games. Sehwag had started complaining about back pain after Holi last week.
It's been three days since the Daredevils landed in Kolkata but Tuesday was the first time there was any concrete news on Sehwag.
His latest tryst with 'injury' comes once again at a crucial juncture. In the wilderness after being dropped for the last two Tests against Australia earlier this month, this IPL could have been the perfect comeback vehicle for Sehwag. But the latest incident could put a spanner in its wheels.