Delhi Daredevils decided not to retain any of their players going into the fresh players' auction for season seven of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Reputations plummeted and the biggest loser in the process turned out to be Virender Sehwag.
First a snub from the Indian selectors and now from his franchise, Sehwag's soul-searching phase has entered another depressing patch; and with runs continuing to come at a premium, it could well be the beginning of the end for the once intimidating batsman.
The downfall for the Nawab of Najafgarh began in 2012 on the tour of England and the gloom deepened when the selectors put him on the chopping table during Australia's tour of India.
But those close to Sehwag say he won't go down without a fight. In fact, the former India opener is eyeing a strong return, though his dry spell in the Ranji Trophy doesn't suggest that. "Twenty20 is a different format altogether. The tracks he got in the Ranji games were challenging. In T20s, the tracks are belters," Delhi Ranji Trophy coach Sanjeev Sharma told the Hindustan Times.
Sehwag will now keenly watch the auction as there's no cricket before that for him to impress the eight IPL franchises. The domestic limited-overs season begins February 27 and the IPL auction is scheduled for February 12. Though some reports suggest he is linked with his ex-employers Reliance that owns the Mumbai Indians and will for the first time be playing without Sachin Tendulkar, who retired after the CLT20 last year.
Another big player to miss out on retention was Yuvraj Singh. He was also dropped from India's ODI squad for New Zealand after making a comeback during Australia's limited-overs tour of the subcontinent last year. Punjab are currently playing the Ranji quarter-final and Yuvraj will hope they progress to the semis, which will allow him a chance to get back among the runs before the auction to make an impression on the franchises.