Australia tour will not reopen old wounds, says Sehwag

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New Delhi, Sept 13 : Indian batsman Virender Sehwag played down the prospects of further bad blood in the forthcoming series against Australia after a racism row marred the previous meeting between the two sides.

"Tensions of last time will not repeat because whatever happened last time ended there," Sehwag said here last evening at a series launch held by broadcaster Neo Sports. "We will try to play tough cricket not through words, but with the ball," he added.

It was reported that India may pull out of the series in January after spinner Harbhajan Singh was initially found guilty of racially abusing all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the acrimonious second test in Sydney.

A standoff between the teams was ended after the charge was downgraded on appeal to using abusive language and the bowler let off with a fine. Australia won the series 2-1.

The issue was revived after Symonds was omitted from the touring squad named on Friday for disciplinary reasons after missing a compulsory team meeting to go fishing.

"We are happy he is not coming because he can change the course of a match any time. He bats at number five and can bowl too, so it will be to our advantage," Sehwag said.

"He is a very good player and you need such players to lift the competition. It is a loss for cricket, but we're happy from India's point of view," he added.

The 29-year-old batsman said he was looking forward to facing Australia again after recovering from an ankle injury.

"If you are playing against the world champions you have to be on the top. I love to face challenges and the Australian team is a challenge. Their bowling attack is so good. So, if I score against Australia, I feel proud and feel confident playing against other side also," Shewag said.

Sehwag has been in fine form since he was recalled to the test team on the Australia tour, ending a year-long absence due to poor batting form.

He stroked 151 in the drawn final test in Adelaide after he was picked for the third test win in Perth and scored 319 in the following test in the home series against South Africa.

He also hit a match-winning 201 not out in the 2-1 series loss in Sri Lanka in July-August, aggregating 1,002 runs at an average of over 70 from 14 innings since his return.

The first test starts in Bangalore on October 9.

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