India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Brisbane February 21, 2012

Sehwag unaware of Dhoni calling seniors slow

Virender Sehwag has said that he was not aware that one of the reasons MS Dhoni wanted to rotate the three openers in the Commonwealth Bank Series was that Dhoni thought playing all three would cost 20 runs in the field. Sehwag captained India, in Dhoni's absence, against Sri Lanka, and he, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar played together for the first time in the tournament. Sehwag said Dhoni had chats with all three individually, saying that youngsters should get enough exposure in these conditions keeping in mind the next World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand. Sehwag said he was fine with that reasoning but was unaware that Dhoni had said, after the February 19 match against Australia, that he couldn't fit all three openers in a given XI because of their slowness in the field.

"No we didn't know that," Sehwag said. "I didn't know what he said and what's going on in the media. But we decided, we had a meeting, he chatted with everyone, with Gautam and myself and Tendulkar; he explained that he wanted to give chances to youngsters so youngsters can play all the matches here because the next World Cup is also here, so they'll get an idea of how the pitches behave in Australia."

Sehwag was asked if accommodating all three openers in an XI was not feasible. "I don't think so, we played together in the World Cup and we won games," he said. "We want to give chances to youngsters and it's good for every team to just keep rotating players so they will be fresh for the next game; so that's what I think [it is about]."

When asked about their fielding, Sehwag asked: "Did you see my catch?" and smiled. He was referring to the full-length diving catch he took at midwicket to send Mahela Jayawardene back. "We are same for the last 10 years. Nothing has changed," he said.

Sehwag was then asked if the 20 runs that the younger legs are supposed to save in the field are a good enough reason to keep persisting with then even as they continue to flounder with the bat. "You have to ask Dhoni again," he said. "What he told us is he has to give chances to youngsters; they will come here and play the next World Cup. That's what he told us."

Is he now going to have a chat with Dhoni? "Why should I have a chat with him? He is the captain, he is the leader; if he and the coach think we should give breaks to the top order, that's fine, I am okay with that. I don't have any issues with that."

Is Sehwag surprised at this apparent lack of communication? Shouldn't he now confront the captain? "I am available for all the matches. It depends on the captain and the coach, what XI they pick. If they give the reason that we want to give chances to youngsters and you take a break, I am happy with that."

In principle, though, Sehwag remains a supporter of the rotation policy, and said he had been advocating it for a long time. "I have been saying for a couple of years that we have got to rotate. Give more chances to youngsters because they will play more matches in the coming years. I told Dhoni before the last World Cup that if [Suresh] Raina, Rohit [Sharma], Virat Kohli play 100 matches they will get good experience so that they can fire at the right time. So it's good thinking."

On the surface, there seems to be a serious lack of communication in the Indian camp. After India win a game, Gautam Gambhir says the game should not have been taken into the last over. The next day, Dhoni says the set top-order batsmen should finish games off. There are various reasons given for the rotation policy, and if Sehwag is to be believed he has learned from the press that Dhoni thinks the top-order trio is too slow in the field.

Despite all that, Sehwag says the team is one happy unit. "We are one unit. We are very happy. He is the captain. He can say whatever he wants to say, and he has been addressing the media for the last couple of years. We are okay with that."

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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