New Delhi: Declaring himself fit to resume cricketing activities after being 'rested' because of injury, opener Virender Sehwag said he missed not being in the dressing room when Sachin Tendulkar struck his landmark 100th international century last week.
"The rest period is over and I am set to train, and play in the IPL," Sehwag said.
Sehwag's name not figuring in the Asia Cup squad had created a controversy after selection committee chief Krishnamachari Srikkanth failed to give a convincing answer.
While the chief selector insisted that Sehwag had been "rested" due to a sore shoulder after announcing the squad for the Asia Cup, the opener said he had back spasms and had opted for rest as per the physio's advice.
A long-time partner of Tendulkar at the top of the order, Sehwag was not there when the latter got to his 100th international ton during the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in Mirpur last Friday.
"I missed being in the dressing room when Tendulkar scored that 100th century."
Post the debacle in Australia, calls for senior players to retire are getting louder but Sehwag, himself 33, said nobody can force a cricketer to retire.
Rahul Dravid had recently announced his retirement from international cricket.
"I will continue to play as long as I am enjoying the game, contributing to the team, winning games for my country. Nobody can force a player to retire," he said on the sidelines of promotional event during which the Delhi Daredevils website was launched.
"It's not like a job, government job where you have to retire at 60. A cricketer can retire at 30 or 60, it's upto the player. (Sanath) Jayasuriya played till 42," he added.
The last few months have been far from impressive for Indian cricket but Sehwag is sanguine as ever, the drubbings in England and Australia, and the Asia Cup exit, notwithstanding.
"It happens with every team across the world. There is also the home advantage which every team is taking now. Time will change for us.”
"We beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka but lost to Bangladesh. They have the ability to beat any team," he said.
About Virat Kohli's meteoric rise, Sehwag said, "He is a brilliant player. He has hit 11 (ODI) centuries and has not even played 100 matches. He has proved it. No amount of praise is enough."
Though the Daredevils have an array of strokemakers in Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene and Ross Taylor, Sehwag said he will "not change" his game.
Reminded about his statement that he would like to have Dravid's patience, Sehwag said, "Dravid is too good, he is a good listener. Patience is important even in T20s, you have to bat out 120 balls."
With Pietersen, Jayawardene and Taylor -- all have captained their respective countries -- in the side, there surely will be no shortage of inputs.
"It's an honour to be playing with the other players who have captained their countries. They can always give me suggestions. So it feels great to be playing with Mahela, Kevin and Ross Taylor.
Talking about the team composition, Sehwag said "I have got my first preference, happy to have strong team. Some players like Mahela, Kevin and Warner will not be available for the first few games, so we will have to really play well.”
Asked if his team had set a specific target, Sehwag said, "No one can set a target. We will try to play good cricket, give our 100 per cent. The most important thing, to start with, is to make the play-offs.”
"From there on we will think. The first 2-3 games are very important, and then we take it forward."
Sehwag also defended the track at the Ferozshah Kotla that has come in for some sharp criticism in recent times. "Toss is important in every centre wherever you play. When you a play a day game there is always a bit of moisture, especially in northern part of India. We have a lot of Tests, one-dayers and T20s in Kotla, it is a good home ground for the Delhi Daredevils.”
On the launch of the hindi website, the skipper said, "I am happy and excited to see the hindi website. I am from a rural area, I lived in Najafgarh for 26-27 years. A lot of people can't read or understand English in small villages. Daredevils mentor TA Sekar seemed satisfied with the team.”
"(We) were in touch with Viru in Australia, he gave us inputs. We have the options to play different combinations according to the opponents."