England tour of India - Sehwag looks forward to playing against England

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2001, 20:44 [IST]
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New Delhi: Virender Sehwag, the man at the centre of a storm threatening world cricket, just wants to do what he does best play the game."I don't want to be in the news for the wrong reasons," the 23-year-old Delhi batsman said before the team's departure for home from South Africa. "I just want to get back home and start focussing on cricket again," Sehwag was quoted as saying in the Times of India.Sehwag, who scored a century on his Test debut a fortnight ago, has been unwittingly drawn into a stand off between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the BCCI that shows no signs of abating.The bone of contention is whether Sehwag should play the first Test against England at Mohali from Monday after being banned for a game by controversial match referee Mike Denness in South Africa for excessive appealing.The Indians argue the ban was served when Sehwag was left out of the unofficial Test against South Africa at Centurion Park, which ended on Tuesday.The ICC has ruled the ban extends to the first Test against England, but the Indian selectors went ahead and included Sehwag in the 14-man squad announced on Wednesday.Barring a last-minute compromise, the ICC will rule the match unofficial, forcing England to pull out of the tour. "I have taken it (the ban) in my stride," the soft-spoken Sehwag said."I just want to play. Right now I want to focus on the England series and forget everything else. I just want to play for India as long as I can."Sehwag, who hails from a rural suburb of Delhi, had never been pulled up before for bad behaviour during his four seasons on the domestic circuit.He has let the bat do the talking instead piling up runs in first-class cricket that finally earned him a berth in India's One-day squad in 1999.The hard-hitting batsman responded by smashing the seventh-fastest century in One-day cricket off 69 balls against New Zealand in July. Sehwag justified his selection for the first Test against South Africa at Bloemfontein earlier in November, by making 105.

Copyright AFP 2001

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