Jaffer needs to sit out January 1, 2008

Sehwag should play in Sydney



Waism Jaffer was chosen because of his technique and ability to see off the new ball. However, he was twice out to shots that displayed poor technique for Australian conditions © Getty Images
 

Wasim Jaffer, whose technique has been found wanting in Australian conditions, needs to sit out in the Sydney Test.

India's devastating loss at the MCG was not so much an open and shut case but more one caused by a slow opening. From the moment Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer dawdled like a pair of aging tortoises on the second morning, India's fate was sealed.

Not only did they sacrifice all the momentum that had been hard won by the bowlers they also made it difficult for their middle-order batsmen to regain the initiative with a counter-attack.

For this sorry state of affairs Dravid must take the bulk of the blame. A player of his calibre shouldn't labour for 66 deliveries over five runs and for him to not unearth some singles with his experience is a crime. However, his punishment shouldn't be omission from the next Test, as that fate falls to Jaffer who must make way for Virender Sehwag.

Jaffer was chosen because of his technique and ability to see off the new ball. However, he was twice out to shots that displayed poor technique for Australian conditions and India now finds itself in a desperate position where they need to take a chance.

If the Sehwag gamble comes off it would take a lot of pressure off Dravid and his main job early on would be to keep rotating the strike. If Sehwag succeeds, the flow-on affect will be tremendous not only for Dravid and the batsmen who follow but it would also give the Australian bowlers and captain something to think about.

In the field the Australians were allowed to attack with impunity at the MCG, knowing there was little likelihood of being severely punished. It was difficult to play shots on the MCG pitch but that is why Test batsmen are chosen.

Australia scored at nearly one and a half runs per over quicker than India; not all of that can be put down to the locals more athletic fielding, some of it was the result of their batsmen's intent. To describe the loss as devastating is not overstating the case. The bowlers played their part and kept Australia to manageable scores; to be on level terms after day one and out of the match by tea time on day two is a hard psychological blow to handle.

India's toughest task at the SCG will be to regain the initiative quickly. The best way to do that would be a fast start from Sehwag; it's far from elementary but it is India's best chance.

This article first appeared in Mid-Day