I hope the bad times are over, says Sehwag
Admitting that his shot selection has been poor, ace batsman Virender Sehwag hopes that luck will "smile" on him during the World Cup.
"Luck has not been with me for sometime now. I hope the bad times are over and luck will smile on me during the World Cup," Sehwag said.
"My shot selection has also not been good in the recent past and it contributed to my poor form," he said in his hotel room before catching the early morning flight to West Indies Thursday with the entire Indian team.
The 16-nation World Cup begins on March 11, and India plays its first match against Bangladesh March 17 in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Sehwag, who showed signs of regaining his touch with a strokeful 46 against Sri Lanka in Visakhapatnam in the last one-dayer before the World Cup, is aiming to score consistently in India's two warm-up matches in the West Indies to cement his place in the XI.
"My goal is to put up consistent performance. I have worked hard in the off time in Delhi and hope it will bear fruit. Hope good times are just around the corner," he said of his long practice sessions under his childhood coach Amar Nath Sharma.
"I will take it match by match in the West Indies," said the 28-year-old, the lone Indian to have scored a triple Test century.
Sehwag's hopes emanate especially from his 46-run knock in which he looked in complete control of shot selection. In that series, he returned to the Indian team after being rested for the preceding series against the West Indies owing to poor form.
He was, however, quite bizarrely run out when looking set to notch his 25th half-century, and possibly his eighth century. The run out drew a lot of criticism for his casual approach, but Sehwag emphasised that his mind was very much on the game.
"I was not distracted; I was not thinking anything else except cricket. I just thought I was in the crease," he commented on his dismissal for the first time in the media.
After he completed the run, wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara broke the wickets at the bowler's end to take Sehwag completely by surprise.
"The only thing that I was thinking was that I had missed a boundary; that had I played the shot well it could have crossed the boundary."
Sehwag, who has aggregated 4,833 runs in 167 one-dayers, also clarified that removal from vice-captaincy has not affected him or his batting.
"After all, when I started playing cricket I never expected that one day I would become the Indian team's vice-captain, so when I was removed it did not affect me," he said.
"You have to bat responsibly at all times, whether you are vice-captain or not."
Sehwag said the last two international innings have given him a lot of confidence.
"When you are not scoring runs your confidence is low. During the break (he was rested against the West Indies series) I cleared my mind. I came back with a fresh mind against Sri Lanka," he said.
Sehwag had extended practice sessions, ironing out flaws in his technique with Sharma's help. "I had uninterrupted batting sessions of up to two hours during the break. It helped me improve my concentration level."
"Usually, 30-35 overs are bowled in two hours in one-day internationals. And if you bat for that period, you can carry that concentration to the rest of the (50-over) innings," he explained.
Now Sehwag is looking to score some more runs in the warm-up matches against the Netherlands and the West Indies March 6 and 9 at Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica to enhance his confidence.
"Scoring well in those matches will help a great deal," said the cricketer who was the top scorer with 82 in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia in Johannesburg.