| Shoaib Malik outside Virender Sehwag’s residence on Friday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha
New Delhi: It wasn’t a symbolic bus or train ride, but where gestures go, the one made by Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik may be hard to beat.
On Friday evening, Malik made the hour-long drive from the Kotla to dreary Najafgarh, calling on Virender Sehwag to offer his and the team’s condolences on the passing away of father Kishanlal.
Keeping Malik company was manager Talat Ali.
“Mera farz banta tha...I’ve myself lost my father (during the Faisalabad Test against India in January 2006) and, so, know how difficult such a time can be... I simply had to convey my own as well as the team’s condolences... Had to stand by Sehwag in his hour of grief,” Malik said.
Malik and Ali spent around 10 minutes at the Sehwag residence, which is off a gali. Their arrival led to the usual commotion and appeared to offend the family in mourning.
That’s understandable and till the TV cameras began to roll, there was little light around the residence, reflecting the mood within.
Sehwag, in fact, had been sleeping till just a few minutes before the visitors arrived. Brother Vinod woke him up when a posse of somewhat confused (“kitne log aa rahe hain'”) policemen came to give the two-storeys a look-over.
On the way back to their Toyota Innova, manager Ali told The Telegraph: “Sehwag looked very, very subdued... For obvious reasons, we didn’t talk much...”
Brother Vinod, incidentally, couldn’t say whether Sehwag would head to Guwahati for the first ODI, on Monday. “I really don’t know... We haven’t spoken about it... Itne log aa rahe hain aur jaa rahe hain.”
Sehwag is in the squad for the first two ODIs, a selection which marks his comeback. Match No. 2 is in Mohali, next Thursday.