Mumbai, Mar 12: Former BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele wants discarded Indian opener Virender Sehwag to be recalled and made an integral part of the Indian team in all three formats of the game for his match-winning abilities.
"He is a batsman who has scored two triple hundreds and one near triple hundred in Test cricket. He's a match-winner and according to me Sehwag should be in the Indian team in all three forms of the game as long as he is fit and available," said Lele, at the CCI yesterday, while delivering the keynote address of the "Legends Club" on the 98th birth anniversary of former captain Vijay Hazare.
The outspoken former official claimed how he had played a role in Sehwag getting a firm foothold in the Indian team through the ODIs early on in the Delhi dasher's career.
"Selector Madan Lal used to bring up Sehwag's name consistently in selection committee meetings chaired by Chandu Borde as the player used to score 40-50 regularly batting at 7 or 8 in domestic matches and after a lot of persuasion was included in the squad of 15 in the ODI series against Zimbabwe (December, 2000)," Lele recalled.
"When captain Sourav Ganguly was banned from the Rajkot game for India due to over-rate penalty, Madan asked me to try and convince Borde to give Sehwag a chance. I persuaded Borde to include him in the XI and the latter agreed only on the condition that I take up the entire responsibility by saying he could not be contacted and I agreed. And Sehwag is still playing," said Lele.
Lele also recalled legendary Sir Garfield Sobers' lofty praise of Sehwag's abilities during a talk show in Mumbai a few years ago when he said he was the Indian player he liked most for his attacking play. "When I met Sandeep Patil before the Test series, I told him about Sehwag's match-winning qualities and he agreed," Lele added.