India in England 2011 July 14, 2011

Uncertainty remains over Sehwag's return

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India are set to be without Virender Sehwag for the first two Tests against England and there is still no definite timetable for his return following the shoulder surgery that ruled him out of the West Indies tour.

It had already been announced that Sehwag will be joining the tour two weeks late after being given extra time to recover at home but uncertainty remains over the seriousness of his problem. "We've heard that he'll be over here for maybe the third and fourth Test, so we're crossing our fingers for that," Duncan Fletcher, the India coach, said.

On the recent tour of West Indies, India had an entirely new opening combination with Gautam Gambhir also missing out with an injury. Abhinav Mukund partnered Murali Vijay for the three matches and did enough to secure a berth to England having made 147 runs at in six innings.

Mukund now faces the prospect of joining forces with Gambhir to face England's new-ball attack at Lord's and Trent Bridge. MS Dhoni wants his side to be given a solid platform but knows Sehwag's boots are tough to fill. "We are a side that relies on our openers quite a bit," he said. "If we get off to a good start then we can really capitalise with the middle order we have.

"As far as Virender Sehwag is concerned, there aren't many cricketers in the world who can have the impact he can. Of course we'll miss him, but the good thing for Indian cricket is it gives a chance to a youngster like Mukund who can have a look at international cricket and see what areas he needs to improve. Viru will be back at some point, but it's good to have Gautam back as well."

Sehwag, though, is just one part of a formidable batting line-up that will include the returning Sachin Tendulkar along with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Fletcher also believes that the tough batting conditions India faced in West Indies will stand them in good stead for the series ahead.

"In West Indies, without some top players, they played on some spicy wickets - two like I'd never been involved with before - it was really quick, it bounced and seamed," he said. "They handled it well. So we feel they are in a good space at the moment and can carry on."

Dhoni, meanwhile, isn't overly concerned that India only have their three-day match against Somerset as preparation because the team are coming off their hard-fought series in the Caribbean, although he may have been lulled slightly by the warm day on Thursday. The forecast isn't so promising.

"The West Indian climate is quite different but there's nice weather here for cricket. I don't think there's too much pressure on us to acclimatise," he said. "The last two days we've had fantastic net sessions. In West Indies, wickets were slightly different. It was a challenge for the batsmen because shot-playing wasn't very easy. Over here it might be a bit different because the outfield should be miles faster than what we had in West Indies."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on July 17, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    India has a poor record as far as the first test of any series goes. So if they can get past the first test or two without loosing,........then they will bully any attack in the second half of any series and at any venue.

  • RajeshMys on July 17, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    @Bang_la & 801mlh, what nonsense are you talking ? Indian Batsmen are flat track bullies , Billboard heroes who thrive only on dead Indian pitches? I think your cricketing knowledge is questionable!! Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, all have done well on Fast tracks in England, South Africa, Australia & Newzealand, against quality Fast bowling!! Some examples I can give you , Sehwag's 105 on debut against South africa,Laxman's 178 against Australia at sydney, Sachin's classy 119* against England in England in 1990 when he was just 17 years old, Sehwag's 195 against Australia in Australia, Dravid's 200 in Australia in 2003-04,Sachin's Hundred in SA in 2010, the list is endless! And keep in mind, every team is comfortable in home conditions but when they go abroad, they tend to struggle in the 1st game, but adapt to the foreign conditions by the 2nd game! Even Aus & Eng struggle wen they come to India or pakistan! Think well before you pass comments!Giv up Ur prejudice & jealousy,friends.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 17, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    I can see where the Bangla fan's are coming from. Sehwag called you an ordinary team and now, so, you, the Bangla cricket followers, want to call him an ordinary or flat track bully. hahaha...It doesn't go like that. No matter what you all would hope it to be, Captains of all the teams are terrified at his presence. Remember how Smith couldn't declare in his own backyard in the final test because of Sehwag's presence! No score is small to post or too big to chase when he is around. Remember the pasting you guys got in WC2011? I even thought Dhoni would declare the Indian inning at one stage. Loll.....it's ok Indians are flat track bullies. Why not concentrate on your Bangla Cricket and develop some decent batsmen! It's been a while since you guys started holding a cricket bat!!

  • cric_fanatics on July 16, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    @ Bang_La..ohh you dont worry about all this india england stuff...your major competitors are zimbabwe and ireland..dont take visceral pleasures out of talking about the big boys(world champs)...and dont forget what sehwag did to bangladesh in the world cup..National humiliation.And that too after saying a day before the match,that he would do THAT.

  • bks123 on July 16, 2011, 23:48 GMT

    Some people always comments without knowing the facts. Sehwag is a flat track bully is not a true statement. Look at his stats first. Irrespective of pitches, sehwag is the only Indian batsman who averages more than 45 against best or top quality bowling. Have a look at the analysis by Anatha Narayanan ...here is the link...http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2011/05/batsman_against_bowler_groups.php...this link will let you guys have an unbiased analysis on batsmen's quality. Let's not go on adding comments w/o knowing facts. Thanks

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 16, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    Thanks to IPL, it bruised our players. It's time for the Country to get bruised consequently. Thanks to IPL.

  • Bang_La on July 16, 2011, 23:22 GMT

    @RajeshMys, why people should be jealous of Indian cricket while everyone knows that its a team full of billboard heroes whose only might is shown on dead Indian tracks. I pleasantly remember Shewag's scared and eye-popping face even against Bangladesh's Shahadat's bouncers. It is so easy to forecast that Shewag will fall "sick" when the time comes for playing on hard, bouncy pitches against genuine fast bowlers! RajeshMys, take out 5 old horses you once thrown out of the team and see what your great Indian cricketers can do. Keep your "destructive" batsman Shewag into the team, we don't mind :)

  • Alexk400 on July 16, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    For me any batsman who can lift whole morale of team is great batsman. Just mere presence of sehwag in team XI makes opposition sweat and make other 10 players in the team breath easy. He played 190s in perth and he scored lots of runs even SA. For me sehwag style is simple. he is not worried about stats. He is there to entertain in playing his way. He can change ofcourse and play risk free. Can he? Well it is with his mind. if he is happy , he can do anything. if he is not happy he will throw away his wicket. That is only his fault. No pitch , No bowler scares him.

  • SSon_cric on July 16, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    Dear 801mlh: Sehwag is a flat track bully? Like he bullied England on the tour of 2003, or like he Bullied Australia in Australia when they were the best team? Or like he bullied SL in Galle when no other batsman could make a 50? Do you know of another flat track bully who has scored so many runs at avg of above 50? I salute your cricketing knowledge....

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    its funny how people start talking about team soon is they get chance. even not knowing the full reason behind it. it just a warm up match no one care about it other than warming up. India is very good team its record speaks for it. we will see what happen after real series

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