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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Cricket

Viru makes quiet return to old hunting ground
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Indore, September 26, 2013
First Published: 00:40 IST(26/9/2013)
Last Updated: 01:53 IST(26/9/2013)

It must be a strange feeling for the man who blazed his way to a world record ODI score here less than two years ago to return to the venue with the fight for survival uppermost in his mind.

Virender Sehwag had smashed 219 in December 2011 against West Indies, and walked away with a swagger, and his reputation as the enforcer enhanced.

On Wednesday evening, Sehwag strolled into the stadium with the Delhi squad for the Challenger Trophy under the shadow of his one-time protégé, Virat Kohli, with his eye purely on regaining his place in the India squad.

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Big impact
Virat was actually warming the bench during that double ton. After watching that Viru show, he described it with a smile as "highlights".

"It is a huge moment. I have always seen him play, admired him. He is a big player. I have played under him. It is an honour and privilege to lead him," said Kohli, who has led India, but never Sehwag even for Delhi.

The two discussed matters for a while at the Holkar stadium during practice, although Viru kept largely to himself, not mixing much with other players. Virat said, "his help is priceless".

No practice
Sehwag, who had been absent from Delhi's preparatory camp, even missing the one-off practice game against Services, flew in on Tuesday evening along with the team. Barring occasional hits at the nets, Sehwag hasn't played a lot of cricket of late.

That rustiness is likely to be tested. Rains have ensured some dampness on the pitch which promises seam movement. Sehwag, a man who relies on reflexes, will have the master of swing Bhuvneshwar Kumar to contend with first up on Thursday.

Virat is hoping that he gets to see another Sehwag magic show. Almost everyone agreed that 270-280 will be a challenging total on this track, unless Sehwag plays one of his knocks when even 300 will tough to defend.

It has been learnt that Sehwag had shown interest in captaining Delhi but the state selectors, especially the panel chairman, Chetan Chauhan, went with Virat. "The decision to appoint Virat makes sense. He is captaining India, otherwise it would have been a step back," said Madan Lal.


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