The absence of Virender Sehwag has left the Delhi Daredevils management short of answers. © AFP

The absence of Virender Sehwag has left the Delhi Daredevils management short of answers. © AFP

The big question on everyone’s lips on the eve of the first match in IPL-VI was: Where is Virender Sehwag?

It’s a question that is also perhaps uppermost on the minds of the Delhi Daredevils think tank, which seemed as much at a loss to provide convincing answers on the whereabouts of its former captain.

“He is not in town yet,” said Eric Simons, the team coach, hoping to put an end to the Sehwag conundrum. “We are hoping he arrives later today. We are not sure exactly at which stage he will be here, but hopefully later today.”

It’s not the kind of answer you want to hear, especially when it concerns a senior and important member of the side who has just found himself being dropped from the Indian Test team as well. So, does it mean Sehwag will not be playing the opening game? “We haven’t made a final decision on Viru yet,” Simons replied.

Enter TA Sekar, the team mentor, when asked why Sehwag hadn’t flown out to Kolkata with the rest of the team. “As everyone knows, he has been having back spasms for quite some time,” offered Sekar, the former India paceman. “He is recuperating. We will take a call later today, as Eric said, whether to play him or not.

Sehwag has always been a bit of an enigma. The day he was dropped from the Indian team for the third and fourth Tests against Australia, he was at the Jamia Millia grounds in New Delhi, cheering on Jamia Millia University, his alma mater, in the all-India inter-university T20 tournament. Then, he sought permission, and received it, from the Board of Control for Cricket in India to play first-class cricket on the English county circuit at the end of the IPL in a bid to further his international comeback bid, though it is unclear yet if he has already found a county that will accommodate him in June and beyond.

For his own sake and for that of the Daredevils, it is imperative that Sehwag is fit and firing on all cylinders. How desperate he is to don the India whites, or colours, all over again will depend a great deal on how he turns up over the next few weeks, physically, mentally and emotionally.