I may retire from international cricket soon: Sehwag

MUMBAI: Staying true to his unpredictable nature, Virender Sehwag – the veteran of 104 Tests and 251 one-dayers – just stopped short of officially announcing his retirement from international cricket in Dubai on Monday evening.

A game-changer and one of cricket’s most entertaining batsmen ever, Sehwag was present at the launch of Masters Champions League (MCL) in Dubai to announce his participation in the tournament for ex-cricketers beginning next year.

In doing so, he told TOI: “I am not announcing my retirement right now because I have the whole domestic season coming up. However, I don’t think I am going to figure in India’s international scheme of things any more. Therefore, I might come back to India and announce my retirement from international cricket.”

Social media was abuzz with speculation throughout Monday evening moments after Sehwag had arrived at the MCL event. However, he had officially not made any announcement about retiring.

Participation in this league for ex-cricketers requires players to quit all forms of international cricket and for Sehwag to sign on the dotted line, he’ll have to first bid goodbye to his dreams of making a comeback for India. There is also the All Stars League coming up, being introduced by Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne and scheduled to be played next month in the US, to which Sehwag may give his go-ahead.

Never one to forgive a loose ball, Sehwag minced no words in saying that he didn’t see the national selectors looking at him any more when it came to India’s international scheme of things. He also made it clear that he would be part of the MCL in Dubai slated to begin next year. In order to do so, Sehwag will have to officially announce his retirement which he is likely to anytime soon after he returns to India.

Last week, Sehwag’s long-time teammate, good friend and one of the finest bowlers in international cricket, Zaheer Khan, had announced his retirement from international cricket and said that he would continue to play domestic cricket leading up to the ninth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Given Sehwag’s stated intent, he’s likely to do the same, though he refused to provide any specifics on Monday.

As on Monday evening, the BCCI also had no idea about Sehwag’s intent to quit international cricket and neither had he communicated with anyone in the board to that effect. BCCI treasurer and Haryana Cricket Association secretary Anirudh Chaudhary told TOI: “Viru has made it clear that he will continue playing for Haryana in the ongoing Ranji Trophy competition.”

India’s only triple-century maker – and that too twice – he formed the Fab Five of India’s batting strength alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly over the last decade. However, his form had begun to take a serious beating at the international level post 2010 and though he played his role in India’s 2011 World Cup victory at home, Sehwag struggles for runs and always become synonymous over the last four to five years.

At an average of 49.34, Sehwag has 8586 Test runs to his credit, inclusive of 23 hundreds and 32 fifties, all scored at an impressive strike rate of 82.23. But numbers will never speak of the aura of his batsmanship, that left bowlers across the world in both awe and dread.