Mumbai: There can be no doubt that Delhi Daredevils have missed Virender Sehwag’s flair and experience in their first two games of the Pepsi Indian Premier League.
In his absence due to back spasms, Mahela Jayawardene and David Warner have had to shoulder extra responsibility, and while both have done so – against Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals respectively – neither has been able carry Delhi to victory.
Which is why it was a cause great joy for the team when Sehwag not only travelled with the team to the Wankhede Stadium here but also had a nearly half-hour long hit at the nets, signalling that he could well return to the line-up on Tuesday against Mumbai Indians.
Asked about Sehwag, medium- pacer Irfan Pathan told reporters at the pre-match press conference: “A final call on Viru’s fitness will be taken by the team management tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Sehwag needs a quick return to fitness and form if he harbours any hopes of a return to the national set-up.
Delhi too quickly need a win to give themselves some momentum and stay within shouting distance of the early leaders in the table. But they find their path blocked by the likes of Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and, possibly, Lasith Malinga.
The pacer missed the first game against Royal Challengers Bangalore and then had to sit out the previous match in Chennai owing to the Tamil Nadu government’s orders.
But now, with his hair looking blonder than ever, Malinga is back bowling at the nets and causing his teammates some discomfiture.
From here to the XI is the next logical step, but even Mumbai are reluctant to reveal whether that will happen on Tuesday or not. On Monday, Malinga could be seen having a long conversation with Delhi skipper Jayawardene and all-rounder Jeevan Mendis, who also hails from Sri Lanka.
When the two teams met here last, the Delhi fast bowlers had a field day, dismissing Mumbai for 92 on a fast, bouncy pitch to help the team romp home.
For Mumbai, this is a great chance to gain some momentum after two heartstopping games. They lost by two runs to Bangalore and then almost had the Chennai game taken away by MS Dhoni after Kieron Pollard’s heroics. But the Mumbai bowlers and fielders pulled off a defence of 140.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.