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Rediff.com  » Sports » Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

June 8, 2009 22:35 IST

Image: The Indian team warms up for practice with a game of football at the Lady Bay ground in Nottingham
Photographs: Harish Kotian Harish Kotian in Nottingham

The mystery of Virender Sehwag's availability in the Twenty20 World Cup continues after he missed Monday's practice session.

The Indian team trained at the Lady Bay middle in Nottingham, but Sehwag, recovering from an injury, was conspicuous by his absence.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni checks out a new bat supplied to him by his sponsors

Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan Singh also did not travel for the optional practice session, preferring to stay back in the hotel.

Sehwag is recovering from a shoulder injury that he picked up during the Indian Premier League and missed the first match of the WT20 tournament against Bangladesh. The team is hoping the opener can play some part in the tournament, but it looks highly unlikely that will happen anytime soon as he is yet to take part in a full nets session since arriving in England.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni with his collection of bats

India coach Gary Kirsten on Friday had said the team is happy to keep Sehwag in the squad and not replace him since there is a chance that he will take part in the latter stages of the tournament.

'He [Sehwag] was picked in the squad and then he got this injury... and we felt that this injury was not serious to miss the whole tournament. If a player of the calibre of Virender Sehwag can be available for any part of the tournament we want to keep him there,' Kirsten had said.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: Dhoni's new bat has a distinctive orange sticker of the sponsors and his nickname 'Mahi' embossed

Since Rohit Sharma is doing a good job as a replacement opener, the team is in no hurry to rush Sehwag back.

The Indian team also chose not to oblige the waiting media, and no player turned up to speak with waiting journalists after the practice session that stretched to nearly three hours on a bright, sunny day in Nottingham.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: Coach Gary Kirsten walks back after the practice session along with his son

"It is an optional practice session and no player will be talking to the media today," media manager Anirudh Chaudhry clarified, when asked why no player wants to talk with the Indian press.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: The players have a chat after the practice session

It is obvious that the squad is unhappy with the Indian media following publication of stories of an alleged rift between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag. It is learnt that they will speak to journalists only when obligatory, as per rules of the tournament.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: West Indies pace duo Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards leave the practice session

Interestingly, the West Indies' team, training at the same venue, was more than happy to oblige Indian journalists and coach John Dyson came up and spoke to them.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: West Indies captain Chris Gayle jokes around with the Indian players

"Even though we are in a comfortable position [after beating Australia], we are fully focused on winning every match," Dyson said.

Mystery of Sehwag's availability continues

Image: India coach Gary Kirsten, son Joshua, fast bowler Zaheer Khan and mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton leave the practice session

After their respective sessions, players from both teams mingled with each other. West Indies captain Chris Gayle exchanged a few light moments with quite a few Indian players.