'Have nothing to prove to anybody' - Sehwag
Virender Sehwag is hopeful that a good run in the IPL could help him get picked for India's tour to England, but the batsman also stressed he had nothing to prove after more than 15 years in international cricket. Sehwag, who last played an international game for India in March 2013, said his focus in the IPL was on getting his new franchise Kings XI Punjab through to the tournament playoffs, and possibly deliver a title win.
"There's no question of whether Virender Sehwag is keen or not because I have played more than 15 years, played more than 100 Test matches, 250 ODIs and a number of T20 games, so I have nothing to prove to anybody," he told ESPNcricinfo during a Hangout session. "I only have to prove to myself. This IPL, I have to play for Kings Xi Punjab, I have to try and help them qualify for the playoffs or maybe win the championship. So I am not proving [anything] to anybody else. My job is to go out there, give my 100% and try to give a good start to Kings XI. That's more important at the moment. I'll think later on about how my IPL went and how I should do this or do that. At the moment, I am concentrating on my batting and concentrating on giving a good start to the team."
Sehwag's last Test appearance for India was in March 2013 against Australia in Hyderabad, where he was out for 6. He played his last ODI in India colours in January 2013. The patchy form continued into the recent domestic season, where he managed 234 runs in 13 innings with only one half-century in first-class games. In the zonal stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy (one-dayer competition), Sehwag failed once again, scoring just 25 runs in two games. He found some form with a hundred for MCC against Durham and followed that up with useful knocks as an opener, steering Delhi to an unbeaten streak in the zonal T20 matches.
When asked if he thought the tournament was a good platform to make a case for selection, he said a good run could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June.
"I think IPL is the correct platform for everyone, not just for Sehwag. It's more important for youngsters and domestic players, who work hard on the domestic circuit and score 800 runs and take 40-45 wickets in a season and now they have the platform to show them in the IPL, where may be selectors and the whole world is watching," he said. "So maybe if they can perform in 1-2 games, the selectors might pick them for one-day or T20 or Test matches. It applies to everyone, including me, so yes if my IPL goes well, maybe they will pick me for the England tour. It depends on my performance."
Sehwag also said he was enjoying the atmosphere in a new dressing room, after having spent the last six seasons of the IPL with the Delhi Daredevils. He hoped, however, that Daredevils and Kings XI would meet in the play-offs.
"Now Kings XI Punjab is my second home and I have a second family. The guys are really good. I have played with most of them, mostly against them. We are gelling well. The domestic players are all from Punjab and they are gelling with us and we are sharing our experiences with the younger guys.
"As a Delhi fan and a local boy, my wishes are with Delhi, so hopefully, we'll play in playoffs against each other."