London: Swashbuckling Indian opener Virender Sehwag was released by his county Leicestershire on Thursday, mid-way through his contract, and is returning home for rest and treatment to a back injury.
Sehwag’s contract, reportedly worth £80,000, was terminated by mutual agreement after doctors advised at least six week’s rest for the opener, a statement issued by the cricket club said.
“We have mutually agreed that his contract is terminated and this will enable us to seek a substitute overseas player for the remainder of the season,” Leicestershire coach Phil Whitticase said in the statement.
“We are very grateful to Virender for the consideration he has shown to the club and are naturally disappointed that he will not be available to us for the rest of the season.”
Sehwag, who played six Championship games in his debut county season scoring two centuries and totalling 478 runs at an average of 47.8, said he hoped to return to Leicestershire in future.
“I am disappointed that I will not be able to see out my contract with Leicestershire. I would like to express thanks to my teammates, supporters and club officials for making my short stay at Leicestershire a memorable and enjoyable one.
“I will take back fond memories of my time here and I wish the team the best of luck. I hope Leicestershire will give me the opportunity to play for them at some stage in the future.”
Whitticase said the decision was arrived at after taking into consideration the long-term health and fitness of the player.
“Virender’s injury flared up in the recent national league game against Worcestershire at Oakham, and we rested him from the Championship fixtures against Sussex as a precaution ahead of the Twenty20 Cup final,” the coach said.
“A scan has shown a disc injury and the prognosis is that he needs complete rest from cricket for at least six weeks. Even then there is a possibility that the injury might flare up again.
“In these circumstances we have both agreed that it is in his and the club’s best interests that he returns home to link with the Indian team’s medical people. His long-term health and fitness are of paramount importance,” Whitticase said.