Adelaide, Jan 30: Virender Sehwag is back to where he belongs and he can thank new coach Gary Kirsten for mapping his route of return.
Sehwag won back his Test spot with a remarkable 151 in the fourth and final Test in Adelaide and is now one of the first names Indian team would tick in for their forthcoming Twenty20 and one-day tri-series in Australia.
Sehwag came to Australia on reputation rather than on form and it was not until his century against ACT XI in Canberra, between the second and third Test, that he was offered a lifeline to resurrect his Test career in Perth.
Kirsten, due to take over as coach of the team in March, arrived as a consultant during the third Test in Perth and being an opener himself, set about reigniting the career of one of India's most explosive batsmen ever.
Sehwag offered India a positive start in both the innings at Perth but his scores of 29 and 43 did not make for a thumping return. His first innings dismissal in Adelaide, cutting close to his body and being caught at first slip, made Kirsten seek him out for a special session in preparation for the rest of the match.
In this lengthy nets of a few hours, Kirsten asked Sehwag to take an off-stump guard and leave everything which was bowled to him on and around that area. It ostensibly was an attempt to make Sehwag leave out a few shots which he can't resist outside the off-stump.
The second advice was to completely leave out the upper cut - even though it makes for a pleasing, exciting sight to see the ball soar over the slips and sometimes even the third man -- for it leaves too much room for errors.
Sehwag was asked to keep his bat perpendicular, allowing his quick hand-eye co-ordination to meet the ball with straight bat and leave out errors such as playing across, as it happened in the second innings of the Perth Test, being bowled by Stuart Clark.
Interestingly, Kirsten offered Sehwag a little challenge of trying to last 150 balls each time he visits to the crease.
The more Sehwag stays at the wicket, more the chances of him scoring runs in spurts and a surge of confidence that rubs off on his fellow mates in the dressing room.
All this worked out brilliantly for Sehwag and India as the visitors were able to salvage a draw after some anxious moments on the final afternoon in Adelaide.
Sehwag's innings was remarkable for a few other reasons as well. He has scored in excess of 150 runs in the last nine Test centuries that he has been able to raise against his name. His Adelaide effort -- 151 off 236 balls -- is one of his slowest ever! So much so for all those who were gushing over his slice of 100 runs out of the 128 which India had put on the final morning of the Adelaide Test.
With Yuvraj Singh struggling with his knee and Mahendra Singh Dhoni yet to inspire confidence, also the uncertainty of how India's young talents would cope in the den of the world champions, Sehwag's return to form, as well as the dazzling brilliance of Sachin Tendulkar, give India their best chance in the rest of the series.