The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sehwag to repay Dravid debt

Montego Bay: Virender Sehwag has pledged to repay a debt to skipper Rahul Dravid for his unwavering support.

Going through the leanest streak of his international career, the struggling Sehwag’s selection in India’s World Cup squad was not assured until Dravid insisted on having the belligerent opener in the team.

“The backing I’ve received from Dravid has been a huge morale booster. I now want to justify the faith in me and live up to the expectations,” Sehwag told reporters Thursday.

“I was confident of staging a comeback and ... the time I spent away from international cricket helped me get my focus back, I did a lot of meditation.”

Sehwag was dropped in January for the ODIs at home against the West Indies, but recalled for the one-dayers against Sri Lanka.

“I’m quite happy with my form, it’s getting better and better with every session in the nets. I want to stay longer at the crease,” said Sehwag, indicating that he was now looking to settle down before unleashing his array of strokes.

Sehwag was India’s vice-captain until a few months ago, but his position in the squad became doubtful during the one-day series in South Africa and he was dropped. That was not a major issue, Sehwag said.

“I was not expecting the vice-captaincy when it was given to me, nor was I disappointed when it was taken away.”

Yuvraj Singh is also keen to justify Dravid’s faith in him as a solid middle-order batsman by consistently delivering with the bat at the crunch situation.

“I have a responsibility, sure. Whenever I go out to bat, I tell myself that I need to bat till the end. I am trying all the time to finish off games,” the Punjab allrounder said.

The left-hander draws confidence from his performance over the last two years when he scored 1,676 runs from 44 matches including five hundreds and nine fifties. That, he reckons, is the reason his captain reposes so much trust in him.

“I have been doing that decently well, so the captain has the faith in me. But one must also remember that it’s not always possible to do well.”

Yuvraj agrees with his skipper that a batsman who has been set should look to bat the full quota of overs. “That’s an ideal situation. Anyone who bats well must bat till the end. The roles of batsmen though could vary. Openers, for example, have to attack all the time while batsmen in the middle should look to bat till the end.”

It was all the more important for the batsmen not to throw their wicket on the slow Caribbean tracks, he said.

“On these sort of wickets, the ball always doesn’t come on to your bat. So you need to spend time in the middle, assess the conditions and bowlers before deciding what score you would like to put on the board.”

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