Dropped from international squad, will Sehwag turn to politics?
New Delhi: In the last three days, Virender Sehwag —dropped for good from international cricket — has played a local game, attended a kid's birthday party and dined with his family at a favorite restaurant.
The 36 year-old former Indian opener has maintained a stoic calm, told his wife Arti that he took the sack as a "hit on my chin" with "loads of pain" that only the wife would understand.
No words of comfort
He even reached out to a key member of the cabinet, with whom he shared a very special relationship, but heard no words of comfort, not even a farewell match. Even his former coach, AN Sharma, said Sehwag would not have "merited a chance in the team on his present form."
The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors said Sehwag, one of the key members of the 2011 ICC World Cup winning side, was dropped from the first list of 30 probable players because it could've been "embarrassing to drop seniors from the final list."
And now, knowing the cricketer has no hope of returning to international cricket, political parties in the Indian capital are keen to offer him a ticket to the forthcoming Delhi assembly elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress are both keen to get the former international into their list of candidates.
"We are not wooing candidates, it is the other way round," quipped Sanjay Kaul, the BJP spokesperson, adding that he would neither confirm nor deny the news. However, he said it was trendy for families to be in multiple political parties, his obvious reference being Sehwag's sister Anju who fought the 2012 municipal corporation elections as a Congress candidate and won from Dakshinpuri constituency in South Delhi.
Senior officials of the Congress party said they were way ahead of the BJP in the race to offer a ticket to Sehwag, whose family have been "die hard loyalists" of Congress for more than five decades.
In fact, the party was keen to offer a seat to the player earlier, but did not push for it because Sehwag hoped he'd be picked for the 2015 ICC World Cup and rejected the Congress feelers. But this time the situation is different. "His selection in the team has not happened. We will again approach him," said a party functionary.
Also in the fray to get the cricketer is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who feel their party is the best option for Sehwag, who is known in cricketing, corporate and social circles for his clean image.
"We feel his image gels with the overall image of our party," said AAP spokesperson Rahul Mehra, adding that he would not be in a position to confirm whether his party top brass had already approached the cricketer.
In private conversations, Sehwag has told confidantes that he is in two minds, hoping against hope that a call could still come if an opener fails in Australia. But that would be asking for too much, his friends have forewarned him.
If he takes the plunge, politics may not be a bad option for Sehwag, who played his 100th test against England in 2012 before being dropped from all forms of the game. After all, Sehwag, one of India's finest openers, currently both out of form and favor, has already said in an interview "there is nothing to achieve."