India in Australia 2011-12 January 23, 2012

Sehwag not ruling out move down the order

Virender Sehwag, the India opener, has not ruled out shifting down to the middle order once some of the senior batsmen retire. Sehwag began his career as a middle-order batsman, scored his first Test century there, but had to naturalise to the opener's position because the middle order was packed. He has come to be known as the man who revolutionised how Test innings are opened. However, even at the highest points of his career, Sehwag has maintained he would love to go back to the middle order, where he doesn't always have to negotiate the moving new ball.

Sehwag said such a move would not happen in the Adelaide Test, in which he is captaining India. "No, not in this team because, you know, we have a very good middle order so when they retire then I'll think about it," Sehwag said.

When the fact that there will be vacancies over the next year or so was pointed out to him, Sehwag said: "It depends on the combination, and who's the captain, and who's going to retire."

There has been a lot of criticism of MS Dhoni's captaincy - defensive or pragmatic, depending on how you see it - over the past two away series, and against that backdrop Sehwag was asked if he saw himself as a full-time Test captain. Sehwag played the rare leave outside off. "Right now, no," he said. "Right now I'm just concentrating on this Test match. It's not in my hands; it's just the selectors' job and BCCI's job."

Sehwag's press conference ahead of the Adelaide Test was as much about the past as about the future. He was asked if the century he scored the last time he played in Adelaide gave him confidence. "Tomorrow is a different day, different game, different tour," he said. "Last time when we came here, I didn't play the first two games, and I was out of the team for some time, and I was fighting for my place. But now it's a different story, a different thing, so I think it's good to play in Adelaide because when you score a hundred on the previous tour you look forward to going and playing on the same ground and trying to make another hundred."

Sehwag has had a poor run on the Australia tour, with just 128 runs from six innings. He gave credit to the Australia bowlers, saying it was probably the best Australia attack he had faced. "I think they are bowling good areas. They are not giving easy balls to hit boundaries, and they are playing with your patience, so I think this is the best bowling attack I've ever seen. Against Australia, generally when I played in the past, I'd get a couple of balls in the early overs to hit to the boundary; but from this attack I hardly get a ball to hit, so I think it's one of the best bowling attacks."

In a test of patience, he said, you need patience to win. "I think I have to show some patience against the bowling attack because if I show some patience maybe I'll get some balls to hit for boundaries, but it's a challenge. It's a great bowling attack, which everyone loves to play against so I'm looking forward to playing in this Test match and doing well because whenever you do well against Australia people will appreciate and people will praise your performances."

There has been concern during this tour that India's minds are elsewhere, sparked by on-field comments from the India players, telling the Australia players they will see them when they come to India. Sehwag, though, said that was not the case. "We are focusing on this Test, and looking forward to it. Adelaide is one of the favourite grounds for everyone because the pitch is good to bat on. We have great memories of when we won the game here in 2003-2004. So I think the dressing-room atmosphere is positive, and we are looking forward to this Test match."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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