Now Sehwag bats for Bharat Ratna for Sachin

Last Updated: Apr 06, 2011, 23:23 PM IST

New Delhi: India opener Virender Sehwag on Wednesday joined the growing chorus for conferring the prestigious Bharat Ratna, the country`s highest civilian award, on senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar for his contribution to cricket.

Sehwag, who was here to launch Delhi Daredevils` campaign in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League, said that he was a fan of the iconic batsman and wants him to be bestowed with the prestigious honour.

"I am not much aware of the rules and regulations of the government regarding the Bharat Ratna. But I know a lot of people want Sachin to get the highest honour and as a fan, I too want him to get Bharat Ratna," Sehwag told reporters at a glittering function here.

Sehwag, who was a part of the World Cup winning team under captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, said it was a dream come true for him and rated Dhoni as a very good captain.

"My opinion really doesn`t matter. Everyone has seen how great a captain he is. Under him we won the T20 World Cup and now the World Cup in Mumbai. He is a good captain. We achieved a lot under him and we still have a lot to achieve," he said.

But now that he dons the Daredevils jersey, Sehwag made it clear that he would not leave an inch for his India captain.

"I know how he goes about his job as captain. So when we meet him in the IPL, we will be better prepared to face him," he said.

Within a week after India`s World Cup win in Mumbai, India players have started regrouping to play in the IPL 4 but Sehwag had no issue with the schedule and said it was not too hectic as players can take break when they want to.

"I don`t think it is a hectic schedule. Now we will be playing in the IPL and after this, we would be going to West Indies and England, this is part and parcel of a cricketer`s life. The BCCI has also told the players that they can take a break as and when they feel the need. So I don`t think the schedule is very tiring," he said.

"Also the IPL is a game of 20 overs each. There is also enough time and gap between the games for the players to take rest. IPL is a very good opportunity and a fantastic platform for the youngsters to prove themselves," he added.

Sehwag said winning the World Cup was a dream come true for him and hoped to repeat the feat for his IPL team in the fourth edition, which gets underway on April 8.

"Winning the World Cup was a great moment, not only for me but also for the entire nation. After all, we won it after a gap of 28 years. We are still celebrating and may continue to celebrate even between the IPL matches. It was a dream that finally came true.”

"I don`t know if this moment will again come in my life. Now we will look to repeat the feat in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils and win the trophy," he said.

Daredevils reached the semifinals twice in the first two editions but couldn`t go the distance, and Sehwag said it was a bit of concern for the team.

"Yes, it is a concern. We reached twice to the semifinals but couldn`t finish on top. Hopefully this time results will favour us and we will go all the way. I can promise our fans that we will give our 100 per cent," said Sehwag, who regained captaincy for this edition after relinquishing the position to Gautam Gambhir in 2009 and 2010.

Asked to recollect his thoughts after India won the World Cup in 1983, Sehwag said, "Frankly, I did not realise the importance of the victory. I was only four year old then. Now I am 32-year-old and I understand how big the achievement was at that time."

"When my son grows up, I will show him the photos and videos of the World Cup that we have won and at that time he would definitely understand the achievement," he said.

Asked if it will take some time for the new team members to gel in the IPL, Sehwag said it was the same with other teams as well.

"There are a few new faces but they are all professionals. All of them know how to play their parts in a game. Moreover, besides Mumbai and Chennai, none of the teams have been able to retain too many players so it is ok," he said.

Asked about his India team-mate Gambhir, who will turn up for Kolkata Knight riders after playing for the Daredevils in the last three editions, Sehwag said he has some plans against the left-hander.

"Gautam is a good player but I know his strengths and weakness and in the IPL, when we come across him we will not allow him to score runs," he said.

The event was also attended by all-rounder Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Naman Ojha, Morne Morkel and Aaron Finch besides coach Greg Shipperd.

Irfan said it was a very important tournament for him and he would look to revive his international career by performing well for the Daredevils.

"It is a right time and high time for me. I have been out for a long time now but here I am and I will look to perform well in the tournament and get noticed and get picked into the Indian team once again," he said.

Asked what did he say to his brother, Yusuf Pathan, after India won the World Cup, Irfan said he congratulated him for the victory and patted for his wonderful gesture of lifting Tendulkar on his shoulders.

"It was an emotional moment for the Pathan family and I was happy to see him carry Sachin on his shoulders. I congratulated him for the victory as well as for lifting Sachin. It was a wonderful gesture."