India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 3rd day

Has Sehwag run out of time?

With the series under India's control, one of the few questions confronting them is whether the opening combination needs to be rejigged yet again

Sharda Ugra

March 4, 2013

Comments: 137 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag was dismissed for 19 by Nathan Lyon, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 5th day, February 26, 2013
Giving Virender Sehwag the nudge may appear the logical thing to do, but who replaces him? © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Virender Sehwag
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

The Hyderabad Test is going India's way even with Australian passages of resistance. If the match threatens to change course - Australia's best batsman is yet to turn up - there is enough time in the game for India to stem that tide.

The series is under India's control and the "turn and bounce" in the pitch is producing the requisite cocktail. Unlike in Chennai, in this Australian second innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened the bowling, ahead of the more experienced Ishant Sharma. His was a precise, targeted burst of six overs, in which he induced chances from the openers but had both catches put down.

If there is still any question mark left lingering from India's performances in Chennai and Hyderabad, it would be whether the opening combination needs to be rejigged yet again with a call taken on Virender Sehwag's form.

The selectors will meet after the Hyderabad Test to pick the team for Mohali and Delhi and Sehwag will be debated. The selectors are said to have an eye on India's next away Test tour to South Africa coming winter. Performances against Australia are being studied, it is said, with that tour in mind. In theory, a meeting with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander without at least a couple of experienced batsmen would appear fatal. Who are the openers in the running to travel that far then?

The Sehwag riddle arises from his form, or the lack of it. Starting from the tour of Australia, Sehwag has scored one century and two fifties in his last 21 innings. After the century against England in Ahmedabad, his scores read: 25, 30, 9, 23, 49, 0, 19, 2, 6. In the last five years, his best innings outside the sub-continent has been 67 in Melbourne in December 2011. Outside conditions of comfort, he averages 22.73.

M Vijay will definitely get another two Tests following his century and the 370-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara that should seal this Test. Should Sehwag be spoken to quietly, the other opening option is left-hander Shikhar Dhawan, who was pulled in following an excellent domestic season. Dhawan is a left-handed replacement for Gambhir, who has gone away and scored 44, 69 and 5 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament for Delhi.

Giving Sehwag the nudge may appear the logical thing to do, but who replaces him? There are two choices: one could be to bring back Wasim Jaffer, who has ended feasting on another mammoth domestic season. Jaffer has played 20 of his 31 Tests overseas: in England, West Indies, South Africa and Australia. India won series in the West Indies and England with him. The choice of Jaffer apparently runs contrary to the unwritten "BCCI's youth policy" whispered to the selectors, a policy which is ruled, it seems, by selective application rather than long-distance vision.

On the side of the youth policy, however, there is another silent, not spoken-of candidate who cannot be ignored any more. Ajinkya Rahane has been waiting in the dressing room for more than 12 months since he got drafted to tour Australia.

Chief selector Sandeep Patil may have declared that Rahane has been picked as a middle-order batsman, but the middle-order berths in the Indian line-up are full. Dhoni has already said he will go in at No.6 to make room for Ravindra Jadeja in the XI. While India's middle order is always jammed, the demand for openers never ends, particularly when travelling overseas: Rahane is, at the very least, ready to be tested. The only time to do so between now and South Africa will be the last two Tests against Australia. To stand up against James Pattinson and Peter Siddle in the first session at Mohali won't be a bad way to check footwork and stomach.

Just like this series against Australia has produced both performances and results that will renew the team's essential faith in itself, the tour of South Africa must act as a laboratory where the imbalances wrought by the tours to England and Australia can be redressed.

One more thing: for all the happiness and back slapping from Chennai and Hyderabad, India had another hiccup they would do well to take note of. India lost its last eight wickets for 116 runs once the Vijay-Pujara partnership ended. The Hyderabad pitch has been blamed for much of the problems and questions it poses to fresh batsmen and the importance of set batsmen to stay stuck in. Pujara said on Monday that he thought there was, "a bit of help for the spinners." The pitch was, "turning a little more and the odd ball is jumping. It's good for spinners and you have to apply yourself to bat well." Kohli and Dhoni did put up 56 for the sixth wicket, but the last six wickets fell for 43.

Now while 9 for 116 is not the most breathtaking collapse by India at home in the 2000s - that is 9 for 52 against South Africa in Ahmedabad - it is the third time in two years they have gone down such route. In November 2011, it was 9 for 109 versus West Indies in Delhi and a year later, 9 for 105 against England in Mumbai. It says more about the batting than the opposition.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

Agreed with the points about openings. This is an issue. However I don't think we should be worried of the Indian collapse of 9/116. If you see that phase after the departure of Pujara, most of the Indian batsmen like Dhoni, Kohli, Jadeja wanted to get quick runs having already obtained a very good platform. Hence they got out. There was no harm in that which Allan Border pointed. Since India was already on the driver's seat they wanted to bring the Aussies to the crease as soon as possible. Had Dhoni and Kohli wished, they could have comfortably got a century partnership yesterday.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 10:16 GMT)

Use Sehwag in middle order to super finishing. And Sachin is best to Opening.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

i agree sewag should be dropped their is too much talent available even sachen should go. i was very dissapointed with fielding on both sides players fumbling the ball as were the two wicketkeepers i know the wicket kept low but really this is test cricket i have seen better keeping in 3rd grade in australia.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 10:06 GMT)

One more chance at No:5, if he doesn't deliver. Kick him out!!!

Posted by RSBali on (March 5, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

Replace Sehwag with Unmukat Chand.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

Tendulkar should be tried to open the innings with Vijay for next 2 tests and Sehwag should go to Tendulkar position to bat...No other changes should be tried at this winning combination...India is doing good with this combination

Posted by satishchandar on (March 5, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

@uncanny : Apart from his debut innings, Sehwag was aways a walking wicket against SA. No matter who replace Sehwag, ill do better than him. Even if they fail, ti will be same as Viru pa. Vijay is not the ONLY batsman who might struggle against Steyn after all..

Posted by arup_g on (March 5, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

It's simple - Drop him! Why continue to keep a player who is clearly well past his best! When the England series finished, Sachin went to play 2-3 Ranji trophy games, and he looked comfortable at the crease at Chennai, and was unlucky at Hyderbhad, but what did Sehwag do? Nothing! Sat at home eating parathas with ghee...! He is not the same player as he used to be, and the decisive factor is that he will never change. Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly all changed their techniques once they neared the end of their careers, but Sehwag refuses to. He shows no motivation. He can easily be replayed by someone young, or even Gambhir can come back as he offers a lot more to the team still.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

I dont think Shikhar Dhawan will do any better, I've seen him in one day and t20 cricket for india and he wasnt up to it then, unless he's drastically improved I would retain Sehwag

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

do not short Sehwag. his very presence in the batting line-up would be a psychological Frankenstein to the opposition.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Sehwag himself knew this thing that time running short now for himself and he must be curious to do something special to remain in the side. India is leading the series by 2-0 i think the selectors will not take an chance to change the side now. Sehwag will be there and most likely will be in 11 at Mohali. This is the test which change Sehwag life either in or out. Good luck Viru, hoping you to get big score at Mohali.

Posted by creekeetman on (March 5, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

sehwag, like chris gayle is a useless test batsman. unless there is a flat pitch where they can smash a big century, they usually either fail, or score a useless quick fifty. time for him to be dropped along with ishant and harbajan.

Posted by ab_cricket on (March 5, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

With the series against Australia almost won (by all means we will manage at least 1 draw). The following should be done 1. Master Blaster Tendulkar should finally say good bye with this series won against his mainstay opponents. 2. Drop Virender Sehwag period. 3. M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan can be openers for SA. Although I am quite sure that Vijay will have a very hard time there( Lack of foot movement will be exposed) 4. Rahane plays in the middle order 5. More batting practice for Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar

Line up for SA 1.Vijay 2.Dhawan/ Gambhir 3. Pujara 4. Rahane 5. Kohli/ Rohit Sharma 6. Dhoni 7. Ashwin 8. Bhuvneshwar 9. Umesh Yadav 10. Varun Aaron/ Parvinder Awana 11. Shami Ahmed/ New Kid on the blocks.

Look for Pujara as Future India Captain. Kohli is not the right person to lead.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

Sehwag must be dropped from squad for his out of form and age while Gambhir have to wait until his performance back to good. India must consider that priority to young batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan,Murali Vijay,Ambati Rayudu,Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane for up coming test series

Posted by Hiba.R on (March 5, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

Well not just the fans but even BCCI seems to be running out of patience with Sehwag, and none would be wrong if they do so. Let Sehwag rest from now on, let him find his form in nets and domestic circuit, SA tour is not for who glue themselves to the crease and considers leg moment a sin. I think BCCI should keep aside their youth policy for at least this upcoming SA tour, for the team with youth alone cannot fight the ruthless quicks of SA. Wasim Jaffar should be picked for SA tour, he along with Vijay, Pujara, Kohli would form a great team to face steyn, Morkel and Philander. Tendulkar should be on team regardless of whether he would or could perform, his presence as always gives a feeling of security in the team and if he plays well can make any number of Steyn (guns) in-effective.

Posted by kir.vas on (March 5, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

Wasim jaffer and vijay open the innings for next two tests. Give sachin rest for another two tests. Sehwag should come in the place of kohli and kohli should bat at 4. If it works out keep the same team for south africa tour. My side for south african tour is Vijay, Jaffer, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Sehwag, Dhoni, Ashwin, Umesh Yadav( if he is fit), Sreeshant and Bhuvaneswar Kumar

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

In both the matches against Australia, the contributiion from the middle is excellent not forget about Dhonis counter attack. What we need is to have good openers, practice on matting wickets will help the openers to play bounce and quick ones and if the batsman play in 20 years rather than the normal 22 yards they can face the challenge in South Africa. This currnet series is almost over as india will beat then either 3-0 or 4-0.

Posted by Publickakaptan on (March 5, 2013, 7:32 GMT)

Time to Drop Sehwag and Harbajan..........Bring Alrounder Rasool for Harbhajan.....Rahane or Dhawan for Sehwag.............Please don't get Gambhir......Negative energy................Time forSachin, Sehwag,Zaheer & Harbhajan to retire from test cricket.....Past and records are all nonsense..........please don't get into past...keep ur eye on present and future........As Dhoni always talks about Present Moment

Posted by hhillbumper on (March 5, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

lets face it if he cant score against this attack then what hope does he have against a decent one? He is just a flat track slogger

Posted by uncanny on (March 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

if anyone remembers.....murali vijay was opened like can by steyn during SA visit to india, mind you that were indian conditions.....and murali vijay was in form of his life, before getting selected for test side. Trusting on vijay during SA tour will be debacle, that might lead to inexperienced pujara coming very early. Sehwag golden days are over, his hand eye coordination made him the star he was, but now that's lacking ..and footwork was never with him throughout the carrier. Rihane could be better option replace sehwag as he already tasted english conditions and fared well.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

Sehwag out, Gambhir in. Thats whats doing to happen.

Posted by CricketBirbal on (March 5, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

Team for Mohali: Vijay,Rahane,Pujara,Tendulkar,Kohli,Dhoni,Jadeja,Ashwin,Bhuvanesh,Ishant,Ojha

Team for SA: Vijay,Gambhir,Rahane,Dhawan,Pujara,Tendulkar,Kohli,Sehwag,Dhoni,Saha,Jadeja,Ashwin,Bhuvanesh,Ishant,Umesh,Zaheer and Shami. If 17 players are not to be taken then drop Gambhir.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (March 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (March 4, 2013, 19:01 GMT), seriously mate, you still going on about dhoni regarding sehwag and Gambhir non performance? LOL,I know at the moment you are in some pain ,credit india 2-0.If sehwag and Gambhir performs in the field,then why anyone removes them from team? If you want these two non performers in the team,then don't blame dhoni for losing the test series.Every team needs good opening partnership ,look at cook who gave solid response during their series win in india and the way Aussie top order fails to make runs and give pressure to captain Clarke.Come out of your blind hate and post constructive criticism ,not some paranoid self made up stories.If sehwag and Gambhir don't score,its their fault and not anyone else.And you call sachin flat track bully?ROFL. This tells your lack of cricket knowledge and its there for everyone to see.Get well .No wonder Indian team goes through hard unlike any other country team when fans are like you

Posted by chandanpau on (March 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

sehwag got his opportunities.now its time for gambhir.i think dere sud be only one change in playing eleven for india.bring back gambhir for sehwag. on other side lots of things to be considered as far as aussies are concern.my eleven foe mohali test wud be cowan,warner,watson,clarke,khwaja,wade,henriques,johnson,pattinson,lyon and doherty.dis is perfect side wid 2 proper spinners and 2 fast bowlers to go wid henriques as allrounder.

Posted by the_blue_android on (March 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

My heart bleeds to see Rahane in the sidelines where as opposite-of-very-serious person, Sehwag gets to play. He made merry on flattracks and dustbowls but now against good bowling sides, he even struggles to do that.

Posted by AnujRoy on (March 5, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

What Sehwag has done in his prime, is to score runs and score them quickly to give enough time to the bowlers to pick 20 wickets. Unless we find at least one player in the top 4 who can score runs quickly the chance of India winning matches aborad and doing that consistently is rare. Also bigger issue for the selectors is pace bowlers, India will need at least three frontline pace bowlers in fast pitches, currenlt there is only one.

Posted by quittthewhinging on (March 5, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

I've posted this message time after time. Sehwag should go. He scores no runs and continually drops catches in the slips, which he seems to find amusing.

Posted by Pathiyal on (March 5, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

it will be a hard decision to drop someone of Sehwag's caliber esp. since it is a known fact that he remained the most feared opening batsmen for such a long time, a one man army capable of unsettling any attack and paving an easy way for the batsmen to follow. considering performances in the past couple of years and in line with a long term perspective, he should understand that he is no more contributing effectively for the team and should step out. i dont think exposing youngsters like Rahane or Vijay or even Shikhar to Styen & co is a big crime! the future is theirs.

Posted by Edassery on (March 5, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

Sehwag is done. In fact, he's been very inconsistent - like Gambhir - in the last two years. Doesn't matter whether they have been the most successful pair prior to 2010, at the moment both of them look clueless. And the usual statements from fans like 'He can rip off any bowler in the world in any conditions' is an outdated statement and no more a reality. So just get rid of him just like Gambhir. Both of them have time and again proven that IPL is their priority...

Posted by NP_NY on (March 5, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

@saadaftab: You are absolutely right. Rahane is one of the few young batsmen who has the skill to bat well in non-subcontinent conditions. He showed it in England when he got an opportunity when most of the first choice Indian batsmen were unavailable. Every test that India doesn't give him a chance is time wasted.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

Guys i didn't see nobody is talking about ishant sharma what is doing in the team? I don't understand see his records what has he done in last few matches whether its in test odis or even T20s he's just a big time waste and god knows he's protected by who? Guys its high time to think about fast bowlers as far I can see the squad our biggest worries are our fast bowling unit give me one world clas fast bowlers name in our team just one name nobody is there. I think we shouls bring back zaheer for SA tour. As far as opening slot is concerned bring back Gautham Gambir and put him along with vijay and let veeru play @ No:6.

Posted by kas211 on (March 5, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

Great article. Personally I see Rahane taking up Tendulkar's spot once he retires. Giving Sehwag an opportunity in the middle order may or may not work. From what I've seen of matches in South Africa, the ball continues to swing for quite some time, and if we're all worried Sehwag won't be able to handle the swinging ball at the top of the batting order, there is little chance he'll be able to handle it in the middle order. I would definitely like to see what Dhawan has to offer, so maybe he and Vijay should be the opening partnership for the last two matches. The selectors also seem to have forgotten about Mukund. He was picked for the tour of England, and did alright for someone completely alien to those conditions, but I can't comment on his current form because I haven't seen him play in the recent domestic season.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Providing Sehwag another opportunity proves to be innocuous. I feel Sehwag and Vijay should open the innings at Mohali. The reason why MSD is silent could be because of his performance in the nets. He may be playing his shots well in the nets, but all we can provide is another platform for the swashbuckling batsmen from Noida. Perhaps, if he scores well, all the nay-Sayers would resort back to Sachin's prolonged poor show.

Posted by shripadk on (March 5, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

The problem with Middle order theory is where in middle order. India's middle order is settled with Pujara and Kohli doing reasonably well with Dhoni at 6 at least in India. There is no place in middle order. To find a replacement at top means giving chance to either Dhawan or Rahane. And if they are to come in, who is going to go out? Only Sehwag's place is up for grabs at the moment with Vijay having played a timely knock. Nobody deserves to be dropped to give Sehwag a chance in middle order. They including Jadeja have performed. It is one thing that someone does not get a chance, but completely other if someone who is performing is dropped for the sake of player who is not performing. Sehwag has been the pillar stone of India' success in last 10 years, but right now there is no place for him in middle order.Either he performs at top or he goes. Thanks to India's wins, he will probably still be in the team for 3rd test which I honestly think is injustice to Dhawan and Rahane.

Posted by kedar.patil on (March 5, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

How if they swap Dhoni n Viru's batting position ? bcoz Dhoni in his superb form can bat at any position n he has proved this many times in past by promoting himself in up order.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

If you are finding one real opener through the performance in domestic cricket, it should be Wasim Jaffer without ant doubt... But in the context of Sehwag, lets give him 2 of the tests coming against Australian.

I am recollecting those words said by Saurav Ganguly ... lets make an opening stand of Viru and Yuvi. Yuvi is a great player against fast bowling. So that it will help him to resurrect his Test career ... and just imagine if they both start get going ... 500 in a day is not an unimaginable thing ...!! But alas!! Ganguly wasnt supported by the others at that time ...!!

Posted by sams235 on (March 5, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

Get rid of Schewag and Bhajji for the next game. Get Rahane/Dhawan and Ojha

Posted by Aaranya on (March 5, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

You need Gambhir in SA. Vijay will manage better than other openers in sight. Pujara at one down, then Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni. Jadeja at 7 in SA will not work. Hence he can not be in XI. That makes Dhoni AT 7 and who at 6?. We need a solid one there.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (March 5, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

Why not Gambhir? Two left hand batsmen is not a good tactics, but if it is good for the team, go for it. Also, need to rest harbhajan as he is clearly out of form.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 6:31 GMT)

For the future tests, drop Sehwag and Bhajji..let them retire.. Play Dhawan/Rahane and Ojha in India..Maybe play Umesh Yadav or Varun Aaron if they are fit on fast tracks...Sreesanth is worth keeping in mind as well since he can swing the ball well... I have been critical of Jadeja..but I guess he takes wickets on helpful pitches...his batting is awful...so we have to see what happens to him in pitches that are not helpful..

Posted by joseyesu on (March 5, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

Selectors are trying their best to get them into the team, but both Sehwag and Gambir are not willing. Had they been under CA selectors, by now they would have in bench for more that 1 year.

Posted by SRIDWI on (March 5, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

Sehwag, given his attacking ability against any bowler on any condition of the wicket or situation, should be persisted with for some more time, in the middle order. This will be helpful once sachin retires. Dhawan or mukund should be paired with vijay for some more time to come. Pujara at no.3, kohli at 4, dhoni at 5, sehwag at 6, jadeja or rahane at 7, ashwin at 8, 3 bowlers to fill in 9 to 11 position. No point in trying rahane to open the innings in test cricket, as he does not open in domestic matches.

Posted by cricket_frenzy on (March 5, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

bring back wasim jaffer for one last time.....keep sehwag and gambir for one last time...

Posted by saadaftab on (March 5, 2013, 5:39 GMT)

I'm from Pakistan and after watching the top order ripped to shreds by Steyn and Co in SA, i'd kill for a young batting talent like Rahane. I've always thought, on evidence of the limited international opportunities he has gotten, that he looks the part but always plays like he knows his present chance is his last ... he needs to be given a series or 2 ... like the Aussies have given to Ed Cowan, clearly a lesser batsman then Rahane but beneficiary of a consistent selection policy

Posted by Sriram1113 on (March 5, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

Sehwag definitely deserves more chances, compared to Gambhir he's a very good player. When he was given a lot of chance in england test then definitely Sehwag deserves. Also if he is not able to bat at opening and is struggling why not Dhoni give him a tap saying "bat down the order" and let Dhawan or Rahane open with Vijay just for one test. How long are u going to say atleast one experienced needs to open. Let Rahane play, he definitely deserves that place. Also fielding, i remember how was Rahane's fielding with England test at silly. . . . If he is groomed definitely he can work had for SA to play Steyn and Morkel.

Posted by cricketanand12 on (March 5, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

If anybody doubts about the calibre of sehwag, then that person is a fool.219 in a one day innings,two times triple hundred to go with another 293.I know he is out of form,but he must be dropped at the moment because several youngsters are performing well in domestic cricket.Let him go to perform at domestic cricket then he will adjust himslef with the spects and also retain is form.ONly then he should be included in suad.

Posted by Top-Spinner on (March 5, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

Serves them right for squandering opportunities against England and now Australia. By now BCCI and Dhoni could have groomed many players like Rayudu, Rahane, Dhawan and even Unmukt Chand. In the bowling department too they could have tried Rasool, Pankaj Singh and other youngsters. What was point in dusting up and bringing a dinosaur like Bhajji? To get him 100th test? Just reckless planning.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (March 5, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

In my earlier post I overlooked a very important point raised by Sharda. That the Indian middle order had been collapsing rather regularly for any comfort. This is very true. This is the third occasion when I have had to see the jarring news of India's batting collapse in the last 3 months. This could be because of the absence of Laxman or a solid middle order batsman who is also capable of opening the batting. It is also probably because the tail just refuses to wag. Jadeja could become a solid batsman at the Test level in some time. I have no doubt at all of that. But I feel this is the time to blood someone like Parvez Rassol. A big hitting all rounder in place of Harbhajan.Also drop Sehwag to where he started. At No 6.He could be very useful even if his weakening eye-sight does not allow him to take liberties at the top of the batting order. In South Africa Sehwag, Dhoni and Rassol at 6,7,and 8 could be quite stable.

Posted by nyc_missile on (March 5, 2013, 3:50 GMT)

With a bit of planning and foresight any captain would have made the best use of Sehwag.Had it been Ganguly,the same man who thought out of the box and made Sehwag a sizzling opener,would have noticed dip in his form as opener and asked him to bat down for team's and his own sake.This is called leadership.

Dhoni lacks it big time and worse,he seems happy that all his peers who were imminently qualified to be captains are now struggling.Sehwag for a while,has been announcing that he prefers middle order and should have been talked to.After all,if a puny Jadeja can be accommodated for Ojha,the best Indian bowler at home,a legend like Viru is entitled to at least be heard.So Sehwag must be persisted with at 6.It's not as if the middle order is all settled and locked in.Why not gamble and buffer Sehwag between a couple youngsters.If he still fails,ease him out and bring in a youngster right away.

Posted by realfan on (March 5, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

why cant we leave him out for at least RAHANE and dhawan.......they will get the taste of test cricket before they tour to SA.... going there and debuting will be a very very difficult task for them..... sehwag should understand that his time is over.... his main skill was hand eye coordination... now that he wears spectacles its more likely that his eye sight is diminished, and where should the hand eye coordination come from?????

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 5, 2013, 3:03 GMT)

@Sharda Ugra :- "Sehwag has scored one century... in his last 21 innings"...

Well we (Oz) have Watson who has managed 2 centuries in 71 (career) innings & have moved him down, trying to save his career... Think you have bigger worries than Sehwag - agree with others, its time that he was moved down the order & would be great with Dhoni when India have set up an innings & really punish the opposition - Sehwag has an bat average @49 with s.r. @82 making him a unique Test batsman...

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 5, 2013, 2:58 GMT)

Sehwag had great hand/eye coordination and reflexes and flourished as a result. Now that he's getting older those are starting to wane and he's left with poor fundamentals, particularly probably the worst footwork of any top-order batsman in the world. He was always likely to go downhill quickly when because of that and I don;t think that he can open the batting any longer. He has to go down the order or out altogether.

Posted by TRAM on (March 5, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

@Nampaaly, agree with Mukund being the other opener. Mukund has scored triple-century, scores one century every third FC match. Has a quadruple-century opening stand with Vijay ! Apart from being a Leftie, (replacement for Gambhir), he is a very good fielder, which Sehwag/Gambhir dont do. Again, a opener should be replaced only by a opener, and I want Rahane to come in the middle only and not as opener, otherwise there is a danger of Rahane career being ruined like DKarthik. (and I do want Rahane as well in the team) in place of SRT for SA tour.

Posted by Trodent on (March 5, 2013, 2:23 GMT)

Sehwag's batting is primarily predicated on hand-eye co-ordination. In that sense, he is different from any other similarly successful batsman in the history of cricket. He has also demonstrated in the past that form is not the best way to judge him (cliche about form being temporary..). However, hand-eye co-ordination is not as permanent as class and the batting coaches and selectors need to evaluate him by that standard alone. If he is dropping off in that area, he will lose his effectiveness immediately, as he has no foot movement and/or defensive tenacity to make up for the loss. Based on the catching reflexes in last 2 tests, I don't think he has lost it yet, but perhaps net evaluations are better indicators.

Posted by cruisnat25 on (March 5, 2013, 2:08 GMT)

With existence of so much politics in Indian cricket, we will never see the 11 best/most deserving players of the country take field at any given match....which is very sad indeed.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (March 5, 2013, 1:55 GMT)

While the writer is spot on as far as whatever she has written about Sehwag and Rahane. But it is nothing but utter favoritism towards Jaffer. There will be some players who will always score big in domestic circuit, but are not at all worthy of a test place. Jaffer is one of them. He has been given plenty of chances. He comes out with a big score after 3-4 failures. Then he fails and again scores when his place is in danger. If one goes back and checks his record, what I am saying becomes evident. The writer does not talk about the scores made by Jaffer in West Indies and England, but only cleverly talks about 'India won with him in the team'. Let Jaffer concentrate on keeping Amol Mazumdar at bay so that he holds the record for highest runs in Ranji trophy. Lets not bother him with India call up. Let Rahane or Dhawan Paly. If they fail so be it. They would at least learn and become better players. Pujara too failed in SA, but he would have learned a lot and is now ready for SA.

Posted by BoseDeeKay on (March 5, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

@Vivek_Singh3089... partially agree with Vivek. It's high time we infuse fresh blood and build on the team to claim the #1 spot. Sehwag, Bhajji & Ishant need to be replaced by Shikar, Ojha and Shami/Pankaj no doubt but Sachin needs to make way for Ajinkya Rahane. Mr. Tendulkar needs to retire asap. Not sure what is he still waiting for. He has provided some great service to Indian cricket and that is very well appreciated. But considering the future of Indian cricket, I feel he should hang up his boots and not selfishly hang around until people start cursing him. Someone needs to tell these cricketers to read the comments posted by the fans. Perhaps that will allow them to make their decisions unless they are thick skinned.

Posted by RoJayao on (March 5, 2013, 1:19 GMT)

Hmmm yeah in a series where India are dominating Australia, Sehwag looks like our only pigeon! He looks seriously gone, just s he did of course on the Australian tour. Tendulkar, save for bullying spinners, doesn't look to have the patience for test cricket anymore, though still the eye. He reminds me of Allan Border late in his career, contributing but nowhere near what he was and more and more likely to be found out by good bowling. He really should be thinking about going out on top after this series and letting the punks go to South Africa.

Posted by CricketChat on (March 5, 2013, 1:15 GMT)

I agree with author. Rahane should be tried for the next 2 tests in place of Shewag. As was pointed out, it will be a good test for Rahane to check if he is good beyond slam bang T20s. Secondly, Shewag does not to prove anything. He is just not backing himself like he used to do few yrs ago. If the Rahane experiment fails, I would rather have Shewag back for SA tour than anybody else. With the ball coming nicely on to the bat with pace, Shewag will be in his elements in no time. I still think VS has couple of yrs left in him, at least in tests.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

I believe youngsters need to be given chance. It is about time Sehwag is dropped. He should remain in the one day or T20 but in test i feel Shikhar Dhawan or Jaffer should be given a go with Vijay. It is just early days for Vijay so if Gambhir does perform well then he should come back. But i feel it is about time Sehwag needs to be let go off from tests.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 23:37 GMT)

Rahane can replace him... easy. Next?

Posted by Silverbails on (March 4, 2013, 23:28 GMT)

Surely, time to say goodbye to Sehwag, Sharma and Harbhajan. IF the selectors have the courage do drop Sehwag and Harbhajan - and, on this form they SHOULD; no room whatsoever for sentimentality in such a tough sport, particularly at the top level, such as here!! - then we may have seen their last innings for India. But, at least Sharma has a chance to come back into the team when his form improves. And, there are quite a number of other individuals in Ranji cricket who could EASILY fill the rolls of these three...As for Tendulkar...well, his time is near, but only he will know when it's time to FINALLY put up his boots in Test cricket. His current form is certainly not bad, and he's certainly got NOTHING to prove at this level, anymore!!!...

Posted by MiddleStump on (March 4, 2013, 23:07 GMT)

Players like Sehwag who rely on reflexes and intution rather than solid technique will generally fade away early. At 34, Sehwag is slowing day by day. He finds it hard to bend in the slips and drops easy catches. His eyesight must have diminished since he has started to wear glasses. He can no longer bowl. It will be foolish to include Sehwag in the team's long term plans. At 34 he plays like he is 40. Some greats like Hussey are fitter at 38 than many 30 year olds. But they are the exceptions.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 23:00 GMT)

Difficult for me to say this but I think Ugra is right here......Sehwag needs to be given a polite nudge in the right direction.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

When India needed, Sehwag took the opener role. He was a middle order batsman to start with. If his reflexes has slown down we should use him in Middle order. Time for Kohli to take the challange that Sehwag took. Kohli Should open and Sehwag should come after Sachin. Another thing, Yuvraj singh even failing would be 100 times better than Jadeja as he can bowl leg spins and batting there is no comparison between Yuvi and Jadeja. So if you can afford to play Jadeja then why not Yuvi. Oh ...I forgot Yuvi is not in CSK... ;-)

Posted by here2rock on (March 4, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

Sehwag has done a great service to India over number of years. Good things must come to an end and sadly it is time for him. He has given enough chances, it is time for Dhawan or Wasim Jaffar be given a chance, in that order. It is also time to move on from Gambhir saga, he was given a lot of chances. His low scores of 44, 69 and 5 suggest that he has not learnt from his mistakes. He always seem to get a start without making a big score so essential to succeed at Test Match level. There are plenty of options but the selectors need to show some courage and take the call on Sehwag.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

why not try pujara in opening slot.....as it is he gets exposed early.....and fit in viru in middle-order for this two tests. If Jadeja doesnt score at least 2 half centuries or a century in this 2 tests than he cant be in the XI in SA as a sole spinner. Sehwag will be a handy batsman in middle order in SA. If Pujara does well than make him open in SA also.

Posted by hakapuu on (March 4, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

@nutcutlet: sehwag and steyn will retire so that they dont have to face steyn and co. Are you kidding me? SRT is one of the greatest batsmen of any generation. Sehwag has a century in SA. ALso did you forget two years back India squared the series againgst SA in SA ...it was an amazing hard fought series with three tests and the end result was 1-1.

Posted by Vivek_Singh3089 on (March 4, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

Better to replace Sehwag , Bhajji & Ishant with Rahane, Ojha & Shami/Pankaj....Sehwag has been a walking wicket to the pacers, his reflexes has slowed down & thus his hand-eye coordination isn't as good as it used to be....also he's a liability in fielding & keep dropping lollies...try out Rahane who's technically more sound & a superb fielder...Bhajji is no more the bowler he used to be & I don't wanna see him bowling craps over by over...meanwhile the biggest shocker for me is Ishant Sharma who even after playing 50+ tests doesn't really knows at what line & length he should bowl..it's better to replace him with Pankaj who is taller, athletic & right now bowling faster than him...

Posted by razorhedge on (March 4, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

Thanks GOD for Dhoni as a captain. For this man thinks like the Aussies and not like a typical Indian Fan. If it were down to us Indian fans, Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag would have been dropped before they hit 5000 runs in tests.

Sehwag needs the team's confidence and belief at this point in his career. The teams is already winning. The burden is not on him. What better time to instill confidence in India's most fierce player of all TIME.

Posted by TRAM on (March 4, 2013, 21:09 GMT)

Sharda, valid questions. The fact of the matter is opening is a specialist position, the MOST difficult one requiring highest level of eye sight, reflexes and technique.. Especially, facing big guns like Styn with the shining cherry in his hand in a TEST match is not ordinary deal. None of the super heroes such as SRT/Dravid/VVS would dare to open the innings in such conditions (in TESTs). Gambhir chickened out in Aus/English conditions and he is a poker. Ganguly, in that aspect is courageous. To my knowledge Dinesh Karthik is the only successful one "opening in foreign conditions". Next best is Mukund, one of the best backfoot player who survived 2+ hours in many innings abroad - even though he didn't capitalize on it. He is only 19/20 yrs, so expect good reflex. Sehwag's eye & reflexes are gone. SRT is old. The eye and reflex is reflected in the close catching performances. I seriously doubt even Kholi would succeed since he is dropping catches at slips. But he is young, so hope.

Posted by stoos on (March 4, 2013, 19:52 GMT)

Sehwag has to be kept on was it not until dhoni got that double ton that his position was in serious question too!

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

Sehwag definitely needs to go. If he can't play on home pitches then God help him when we tour SA. Pathetic body language, takes his place for granted. Surely Dhawan, Mukund, Jaffer or Chand can replace him

Posted by crindo77 on (March 4, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

Viru will be the next head to roll. I would luv to see Ishant Sharma take a hike as well, seeing that a debutant is bowling far better than him, and that he increasingly reminds us of Zak by his fielding, not his bowling. However, given BCCI's blinkered approach Ishant will probably hold on to his slot for the SA tour, or until he picks up another injury. I would love to see Sreesanth back. Shikhar Dhawan might get a look in, seeing that Rahane didn't do himself any favours during the recent ODIs against England, being bowled through the gate on more than 1 occasion. However what India need are a pair old old school stodgy openers, who will weather the new ball for the first 30 overs; exposing Kohli and Dhoni to the new ball in SA will produce more heartbreak. And pick Rohit for the tests. Jadeja's left arm spin and cafeteria batting may look good in Chennai and Hyderabad, in Joburg and Capetown it will look silly. And a certain 40 year old needs to fire in SA, more than before.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 19:40 GMT)

India have a couple of middle-aged batsmen with diminishing reflexes and waning performances. They should retire for the benefit of their team

Posted by xylo on (March 4, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

I still don't see Ugra mentioning Sachin Tendulkar's age or form and the youngsters who are waiting to replace him. Isn't that "selective application" of logic?

Posted by Nampally on (March 4, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

Instead of dropping Sehwag, he should be a useful middle order batsman when SRT retires. Trying him down the order should have been the top priority. For the next 2 Tests, Vijay, Jaffer & Mukund should be in opening bat slots. Mukund being a Leftie presents one of the openers,whilst Jaffer & Vijay the other one. India need to focus on Seamers as well. Whilst B.Kumar is a good opener, the choice of 4 more opening bowlers may be Yadev, Aaron,Ishant & Shami. Besides SRT & Pujara, the other batsman with sound technique is Tiwary. He should be in the SA squad. The spin choice should be restricted to Ashwin & Ojha. Irfan Pathan & Jadeja/Yuvraj may be the 2 all rounders. Unfortunately quite a few of these names have injury & Fitness issues. It is best to assemble about 30 potential candidates & put them thru' fitness training for 3 weeks. Unfit guys would eliminate themselves. Choose the 15 from the Fit guys.Form, Fitness & performance should be the only 3 selection critieria -No politicing !

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

Shewag needs to play for the next two games... The indians need to learn from Australian team of past that even though one or two players were out of form; they did not tinker with the team as long as others were playing well and carrying the team to victory! this will enable good team ethics and give some confidence to under performing player (i.e Shewag here).. Shewag has done this numerous times in past where he carried the whole batting of the team on his shoulder. He needs support and confidence of BCCI and Dhoni... He is a proud man with lot of skills and ability; don't let him go yet.. people may argue what about other younger players waiting; yes they are and it may be frustrating for them; if they are real deal their chance will come just like Pujara's ...definitely need Shewag for the South African tour otherwise they will have the Indian team for breakfast!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 4, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

While India is booting a weakened Australia round the country, any calls for changes to the current unchanged XI are likely to be muted indeed. It's only when a side loses, or fails to win when expected to do so that the calls for change get heard. That is a truism in all countries. If MSD & Sehwag are still enjoying each other's company (& there is lots to laugh about with the side winning) Sehwag will see this series out & I guess SRT will too. The selectors need to watch out because if both call it a day after this series - a distinct possibility (do you think they want to face Steyn & co in SA? No easy runs there!) -then they could find themselves with two top order berths to fill. BTW remind me - what do either of these gentlemen offer in the field, or with ball in hand? No one should hold a place in the side if he isn't making a positive contribution in the field. That's the way TC is played in the 21st Century. But India likes the old days, old methods & spectators in the sun!

Posted by Nampally on (March 4, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

Sharda, if India had a more dynamic Captain than Dhoni, trying Dhawan & Vijay as opening pair & Sehwag at say #6, should have been #1 priority in First 2 Tests. Instead Dhoni went to elaborate extent to knock out Ojha by playing Harbhajan & Jadeja. Ojha was the best spinner against England. This sort of politicing is pointless & does not bridge Indian Teams' shortfalls. India is now forced to try Jaffer & Vijay or Mukund & Vijay combo. So called emphasis on youth is a myth & politics always prevail. We have Tendulkar @ 40, Sehwag @34 & Bhajji, a spent force, @32 still in the side. At least Jaffer is in form as opposed to Bhaji. But India has still not solved Sehwag's future or opening bat problem. In my opinion Rahane is a middle order bat not an opener. If youth is the criterion, try Rasool, Nadeem,Saxena,Tiwary who have all performed Not Bhaji. Get Irfan Pathan,Aaron & Yadev fit by focussed treatment. For goodness sake MSD, do not bench Stars like Ojha & Pujara - 2 Best players.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (March 4, 2013, 19:07 GMT)

One Wall gone, One is building and another has collect all the material and building starts from next test.

Posted by nyc_missile on (March 4, 2013, 19:01 GMT)

Dhoni missed out a chance to have Sehwag in the middle order when he was failing as an opener and wrong choices were made and promptly failed at 6 .Yuvraj,Raina,Jadeja..My guess is that MSD wanted both Sehwag and Gambhir to fail at the top so he can insert his CSK buddies in their place.Well,it might work at home but,has deprived India of credible options for long term.

His sinister game of staying captain by undermining&eliminating potential candidates in Sehwag and Gambhir might have worked for him but, destroying Ind cricket in the bargain.Complaining to BCCI about Gambhir about selfishness to hide his own disgusting performance ahead of Nagpur Test,making Kohli VC after tri-series in Oz when Gambhir played very well etc cant just be figment of some journo's imagination.This cynical man MSD is such a danger to test cricket as a whole.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (March 4, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

It seems that after Sunny Gavaskar's departure opening in test matches for India means a job for the 'people who got in last or drew the shortest straws'. What specialist openers? It is not like anyone of those aspiring for the job have a water-tight technique or claim to tackle SA fast bowlers competently on their tracks. If you are looking for the 2 best in the current squad, you might as well ask sachin and Pujara to open (which will not happen, obviously). Maybe it is best to put in Rohit and Rahane in simply cos they seem to be most talented.

Having said that, i get a feeling Sehwag will score a double next time he bats simply because Sharda Ugra last wrote something scathing about MSD, he walked out to play his best test knock ever. So, who knows!! If this works with Sehwag, please question "Sachin's place", the week following :))

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

well, It is not that who ever fails on top bring them down. There are some exceptions like Sachin and Veeru. they did well over a decade and finished 100 tests and maintained Average 50. Outstanding records. They now have some wear and tear with age. If they face little old ball they can bring back their charisma. This must be tested and then decide. He deserves to come down to do well.

Posted by binu.emiliya on (March 4, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

People calling for Chand , He was not good in the last FC season Ankith Bawne was better than him I admit that Chand is good ODI player and we can try him in Any ODI series, As test opener i prefer Veeru only or we can hand over test cap to Shikhar Dhawan

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

India aim should be the Number 1 test playing nation. Simply solution...drop the dead wood and those that are past their "sell-by date".

Do not agree with rapid chase. Batting records should have nothing to do with it.

If one is good then the records will come.....until then bye bye.

One more thing. Players need to start playing for their badge and not trying to "outscore each other"

Posted by tally1983 on (March 4, 2013, 18:38 GMT)

i would drop him and give rahane a chance in the last 2 matches. to the people that say sehwag should go to the middle order, as long as he bowls to replace jadeja in the team then he can bat at number 6, but then dhoni would drop to number 7, and given dhoni's form, do you want to do that????? I think murali Vijay has earned a chance in SA to start of with, with either rahane or gambhir (subject to form). I think sachin will play winter tests as he would have retired before this series to give youngsters experience for that series. PLEASE NO SACHIN BASHING!!!!!! my eleven for SA series is: VIJAY, RAHANE/GAMBHIR, PUJARA, SACHIN, KOHLI, DHONI, I PATHAN/JADEJA, ASHWIN, B KUMAR, Z KHAN (maybe) and U YADAV. The reason why its a maybe for ZAK is due to the fact that there is no one else, SHAMI maybe again. for batting squad players would be TIWARY, DHAWAN. Bowlers in squad would be ???? help me!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Prakmca on (March 4, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

If Harbajan was selected on the basis of PAST record against Australia (almost more than 10 years old record), THEN WHY NOT GAMBHIR???

He is excellent opening batsman, whch Dhawan cannot replace. Dhawan has technique and temperment to play only in India that too in domestic matches.

Gambhir should be considered for remaining two tests against Aus and for the tour of SA.

Posted by squarepeg on (March 4, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Sehwag is now clearly unable to handle anything but the most predictable of pitches. Never strong on fundamentals, one always feared that once his hand-eye coordination went, so would he. By sheer numbers, the best person would have been Wasim Jaffer. Shikhar Dhawan will be one more technically incomplete opening batsman India can experiment with if it wants to go that route. Rehane should be tried in India A teams and asked to do a stint in county cricket before he can make it to the big stage.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

Wow. Some brilliant posts.some not so brilliant. As a South African Indian, my take is this..Sehwag should be dropped. He has had enough chances to prove himself. He is a good batsmen on flat tracks and against the minnows. As for Sachin,I believe that he should bow out gracefully. He will forever be the best batsman the world would ever see..but time to go.

As far as your top order is concerned, I like the idea of Vijay and Pujara opening.We need to find youngsters (some of the names have been mentioned already) for number 3 and 4. That's about the only bit of tinkering I would do ATM. Yuvraj and Rohit might also be considerations but not in the test side to tour SA. Nowhere in the world will a team face a fiercer pace barrage other that SA. The SA coaching team does their work well. They have footage of every touring player. Their strengths weaknesses are analyzed. They have field placing for every player. Lastly, if any player cannot handle the short ball, they will be exposed.

Posted by ARad on (March 4, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

The other obvious person to go is ISHANT. I loved his potential but, with an average nearing 40 and a strike rate near 70 after 49 Tests, it is time for him to go back to the Ranji circuit. He needs to develop his cricketing acumen so that he can choose the right length according to pitches as well as learn to outwit batsmen in unhelpful tracks because he has got the tools. Dhoni seems to have no belief in him anymore either... I liked the look of SHAMI AHMED in ODIs. He can bowl a bit faster than B Kumar and he has already had some tour experience with the A team... What happened to Praveen Kumar? He is a poor man's Philander and Philander was not considered to be a good international prospect by many due to his lack of speed too.

Posted by anilkp on (March 4, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

Sharda, this is a very timely article, and very logical too. However, I have a deep concern. Sambit wrote yesterday that the BCCI does not consider the ESPNCricinfo crew as journalists--despite the fact that you guys constitute the most extensive and authoritative reporters and analysts of the game, ever. Every now and then you guys come up with analyses and views that would ONLY benefit the game--that is, if the game's administrators listen to it. Now, is there a mechanism to send ESPNCricinfo's opinions over to the administrators? Is there a way to influence them? One way is to get legendary players on board and aggressively propagate the opinions through them. Bringing in Laxman and Dravid is a good way, but we need key figures from other nations as well. Also, with Kumble now an administrator, have ESPNCricinfo editors tried to catch up with him? Unless we influence the administration, any volume of meaningful discussion will remain meaningless.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (March 4, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

What qualifies any of our guys as specialist openers? Is it technique? Is it patience? Is it willingness to take blows and grind it out? Is it willingness to stick it out there and tire the bowlers for the middle order to come in and plunder? By any and all of these counts, Sehwag is not a great fit as an opener...and even by his own admission so. He is a more willing middle order batsman, and would be a lot more destructive one at that than the likes of Rohit and Rayadu. It is unfair to rate him purely based on his stint at the top of the order. Why not promote Sachin to open the innings and see how he fares. He isn't setting the stage on fire coming in at No.4 these days. He willingly opened in ODIs because it gave him the opportunity to score big! If he is sincere about hanging around to help the team, he should open the innings and free up a middle order slot for someone like Rohit or Rayadu to slide in so they can score and get some confidence before trying their hand at opening.

Posted by couchpundit on (March 4, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Funny author wouldnt write such a post about sachin...lol i wonder anybody pose such questions. Sachin has practically contributed to many loses and blbocked many budding batsmen in the lineup by his sheer presence in the National team.

Sehwag at whatever clip he plays has single handedly won many games compared to sachin at the heights of his power. Although i agree sehwag needs to be nudged, it would be better for indian cricket sachin simply quits rather hoping to play with his son for national team.

Posted by A.Ak on (March 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

Both Shewag and Gambhir have a reputation of playing better after being dropped and recalled.

Posted by anilkp on (March 4, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

While contemplating foreign tours, it is important to look at experienced players. However, I do not see the benefit of having an experienced guy in the team unless his contribution reflects his experience. I do not believe Ashrafu inspired any youngster in the BD team while hel was given a long rope. Similarly, I do not think a Rahane/Vijay will be inspired with nonfunctional Gautam/Sehwag around in the middle. Sehwag's performance in past 3 years and his age must rule him out of any future selection. Selections must be futuristic. Dhawan should replace Sehwag for Mohali, and if we win that game, Rahane can be tried replacing someone else. Gautam must prove his worth again by scoring big in longer format. Going back to Jaffer will be identical to that illogical and humiliating push for Dravid's farewell ODI recall in England. I expect Sandeep Patil to be more logical than his predecessors.

Posted by phunny_game on (March 4, 2013, 17:52 GMT)

Why so much fuss about Unmukt Chand... i really like the way he plays but its not a mystery that he hasn't yet made any contribution in FC cricket to be considered for Test team... Infact Baba Aparajith has made significant contributions and bowls well too... But never has his name popped up for the no.6 position... Just because unmukt is popular, played well in a big match doesn't grant him a place...

Posted by abi111 on (March 4, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

sehwag with specks looking like a retired cricketer being forced to hold the bat

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

well, A person who played a decade and finished 100 tests and going on, now on TOP 5 (in most runs scored in test chart). Just few runs away to pass Luxman and then Little master. He can't be dropped just like that. This is not One day game. He maintained avg. near or over 50 for such a long time. After Sachin,Dravid I can see only Sehwag in most of the records with less matches and less innings. If he play more then he can be a big potential like Sachin for INDIA and also for BCCI(and for fans too). Poor form is common, he is the only senior palyer we have after fab 4. He deserve some respect. If he can be very close and friendly with Dhoni he can come out with flying colors. All the best VEERU.

Posted by A.Ak on (March 4, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

Give debut to Rahane or Give a chance to Mukund (who debuted played only in England). IF age is not an issue, give chance to Badrinath, who was with the team for more than 4 years and played only 2 matches.

Posted by Angry_Bowler on (March 4, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Good analysis by Ugra, and some very reasonable comments I can read here, but I wonder do the selectors really care all these things. I don't think so, simply because so many young guns both batsmen and bowlers are sitting on the bench. It is just ridiculous to say the least when performance is not the primary criterion for selection. If one is failed to perform he must be sent to play in domestic matches and prove, then only he should be given another opportunity but not at the cost of other young performers, simply because he is a senior or more experienced based on some records.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (March 4, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Sehwag scored a 100 against ENG in the previous series.If Sehwag has run out of time ,so has sachin. And before last test match, MSD as well. I really believe Viru should be given a chance in the middle order.

Posted by nyc_missile on (March 4, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

As someone rightly said here,we need to blood youngsters at the top.Unmukt,Rahane are wonderful options since both offer contrasting options.Rahane is more a touch player relying on timing etc.Unmukt is a solid yet dashing batsman as shown on difficult pitches in Oz U-19 WC.Vijay will stil score in India but will be embarrassed abroad.

So if 'youth policy' is the theme,greedy and vision-less BCCI have to stick to it rather than lying just to get rid off some non-CSK players.Jaffer et al .. Unmukt | Rahane | Pujara | Kohli | Tiwary | Rohit/Rayudu would be my ideal top 6 going forward if my wish comes true-that Dhoni will get injured badly or Srinivasan suddenly retires miraculously as bcci Pres :P Oh by the way please someone get that flat track bully Sachin out;he's just blocking a talented youngster by his pathetic greed.Scores a 50 odd and gets to play 10 matches despite failures.Charmed life isn't it?

Posted by grizzle on (March 4, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Unfit, unprofessional, and unwilling to change. These are the phrases that come to mind when Sehwag is mentioned. He needs to be removed from the test team and sent back to Ranji to work on his game as well as his temperament.

Posted by SamRoy on (March 4, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

@govindsdeshmukh Very, very well said mate. I always thought people should be picked for test team on potential and not just average in Ranji Trophy. Pujara is the best batsman in the country and Kohli is the second best batsman in the country. Rayudu is the third best and Rohit is the fourth best. Pick that middle order and if Rohit or Rayudu fails replace them with Manoj Tiwary (fifth best).

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

I believe that Sehwag's time has come. He is not getting any younger and he has started having problems with his vision. He can be tried lower down the order but should not be considered for the opening slot now. As we need experienced guys for the tour of SA along with a nice blend of youth and experience, we should try out this team for SA. Gauti Vijay Dhawan(Openers) Pujara Sachin Kohli Sehwag Rahane(Middle Order) Dhoni Karthick (Wicketkeepers) Zak (hope he returns with a bang improving his fitness) Umesh Irfan B.Kumar Sreesanth(with his rhythm he can be dangerous bowler) with Ishant Aaron as reserves (if Aaron gets fit somehow) Ashwin and Ojha as the spinners. This 17 man squad should be tried out by India in SA as this will be the best squad we can put together. Gambhir should be back as he has the experience and has played well in SA previously(2 Matches, 242 runs at an avg of 60.5 against the likes of Steyn Morkel Tsotsobe Kallis and Harris). What say guys? Comments are welcome.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

sehwag has been given a very long rope, he must go now! India can do a few things, one move up pujara with vijay in the opening slot, and i am sure he will be able to adjust, since sehwag looses his wicket early in games anyways. and everyone can move up on in the order, except jajeja, and put rahane in at no. 6, or you can simply bring in shikar dhwan who has deserved his chances in tests, and this would be perfect time for him to get a chance, as he is still young , and can come in handy for Safrica!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (March 4, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

sehwag's time ran out years ago. at his best he was a 1 in 10 flat track bully but it was Dravid hid his 9 in 10 failures. now he has become a 1 in 20 performer and given that sehwag got a century in the 1st test against england 5 tests ago, we should not expect anything from him for at least another 15 tests. sehwag will average close to 40 but that's not his batting, it's his waistline. cook showed the value of good footwork, sound defence and temperament and above application. this is what we need in our openers. don't let sehwag do a sachin - i'm undroppable, no-one tells me when to retire. what's really concerning is that sehwag has said he'll move down the order when he's finished opening. give other players their chance now - they've waited long enough.

Posted by Rugsy on (March 4, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

Very good analysis, Sharda, but you have forgotten a cardinal BCCI principle. Teams are not chosen on merit but on a quota system, so that all the wretched selectors have their fill. Just look at the composition even today. Delhi, TN, Gujarat, Mumbai, Delhi, Jharkhand, Saurashtra, Punjab, UP and so on. Indian selectors over the years fight for their zone and do not bother about merit. Nothing has changed; nothing will

Posted by TheMeanMachine on (March 4, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

Continuing from my last post.. As of the bowling attack, Zaheer has to be brought back as the spearhead (but only at full fitness), Umesh Yadav as the enforcer and Bhuv Kumar as the 'Philander' version of swing and control. The only problem with this line-up is that there is no allrounder/backup bowling option. But unless the selectors include Irfan Pathan, there is no other alternative to share the bowling workload.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (March 4, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

A very timely piece indeed. India is seeking to try bearding the No 1 Lion in its den. Foolhardy as this might seem, it is worth creating a vision for the challenge. All the wickets in South Africa are not brutally bouncy. So we must be prepared to meet the differing type of wickets. Gautam Gambhir has a fair record in South Africa having scored close to a hundred both at the Centurion as well as at Capetown.Dinesh Karthik scored a good half century and 40 in Capetown. Jaffer scored a 100 in Capetown.Steyn Morkel Ntini and Pollock bowled on those occasions.From the present crop,Rahane is definitely an opener with technique and guts.He hooks and square cuts well.Small as he may be he took on Irfan and Gul quite well.The churlish will point to the 2 occasions that he was bowled by Finn's inswinger.I am sure a session with Rahul Dravid will sort out that. He probably needs to see Amla and De Villiers' defence Dhawan too is good.They should be tried out for the coming Tests. Sehwag rested

Posted by JustIPL on (March 4, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

If India win this test then Sehwag will get another game for sure but if they draw or lose which is not very likely then he will retain his place.

Posted by sweetspot on (March 4, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

What's wrong with the Vijay-Shikar combo? Both are good stroke players and should be hungry. The left right combination helps, and both can be given a decent run compared to the Viru-Gauti combo that seems to have run its course. The former will appreciate their opportunity and the latter will only be keen to indulge themselves. I don't really see any point in bringing GG back into the team mid-series. If he's been dropped, let him earn a recall with more than one good innings - just like everybody else. The middle order is suddenly looking settled too, so perhaps good times for India.

Posted by TheMeanMachine on (March 4, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

I think selectors need to sit down and come up with one policy. If they stick to the youth policy then Sehwag doesnt command a place anymore. Everyone knows what his overseas record has been for the last several years and the next tours of India are all away. Even if he scores centuries in the next 2 tests, he should not be included in the future plans. Wrt the opening combination, Rahane, Dhawan and Vijay have to be given some leverage and persisted with as openers for atleast 2 overseas series. Gauti can take some time off and try to force his way back but again he will be only the 4th option. Dhoni as number 6 is not the option in SA, we do need a capable number 6 batsman and Manoj tiwary has to begiven a chance looking at his limited opportunities and India's youth policy. Jadeja for all his worth will be usless on foreign soil and Ashwin has to play as the sole spinner (even he has to have a backup like Ojha breathing down his neck).

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

When Rahane opened in the ODIs against Eng, he was blown away by Finn. He is NOT a good enough test opener material. India should persist with Sehwag for the rest of the series. He has deserved the long rope.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 16:40 GMT)

No idea why people are talking about taking Unmukt Chand in test team. How many test matches he has played till now.. (First Class)... I will still go with GG.. he may not be in best form but he has lot of experience. He proved himself in past and he will come good if given chance.. He is a fighter unlike Sehwag.. He may not have class of Sachin, talent of Sehwag, footwork of Ponting but he is hardworking, passionate and truely deserves opening slot after his ton in one of the warm up game.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 4, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

It's time to get rid of Sehwag and Ishant right away. They have been the biggest flops for India in last 2 years. I would replace Sehwag with Jaffer simply because Jaffer has good track record against SA. It will be a folly to throw young Unmukt Chand against the likes of Steyn and Morkel. Ishant needs to go pronto. There's no shortage of young and hungry fast bowlers in India - Shami Ahmed, Awana, Ishwar Pandey, Sandeep Sharma, Imtiaz Ahmed, etc are much better than Ishant Sharma.

Posted by SasiGladi on (March 4, 2013, 16:35 GMT)

Any many mentioned Shewag can suit in the middle order yes it is agreed, sacrificing one player and moving other batsmen one step ahead will not work....It happened to Dravid, he can play well from second ball of the match when the opener gets out in the first ball physchologicaly when he came as opener he failed seriously....so dont tamper puj current form.....only one possibility when Sachin retires move Kholi one step ahead fix him Kholi's place but I dont think it never going to happen as Sachin will not be retiring in any near future....

Posted by phunny_game on (March 4, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

@raj12345 @dinesh vishwanathan : UNmukt chand , really??? What has he done in this domestic season... zilch... just because he scored a hundred in u19 WC, doesnt mean he is equipped at international level...

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (March 4, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

what are our options for pace allrounder, for countries which are not suited for 2-3 spin bowlers in the playing 11. back to Irfan or some one new...?

Posted by viru-319-219 on (March 4, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

Starting XI for south africa should be vijay,dhawan,pujara,sachin,kohli,sehwag,dhoni,ashwin,bhuvi,umesh,zaheer. if umesh and zaheer are not fit go with ishant and sreesanth.

Jadeja will be waste of a player on SA pitches and not sure of dhoni's technique in those condtns so no risk pick 6 batsmen with pure openers not promoting any middle order batsmen. Sehwag can be given a chance to go in when the ball is old and regain his confidence it also adds some experience along with sachin

Posted by dr.achandra on (March 4, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

Ashwin can be a good opener with a decent technique if he focuses on that. If he is regular in tests, he might as well be asked to open the batting (like ManojPrabhakar/NayanMongia) as well to accommodate Sehwag in the middle order !

Posted by govindsdeshmukh on (March 4, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

Indian Domestic competitions should never be used as measure of a player's talent. There the mentality is to draw the match by just tuk tukying. Bowling standard is below pa. Any one can score double and triple centuries. Look at Jadega. He scored 3 triple hundreds in Ranji Trophy. But in test he is having problem scoring 10 runs. Tendulkar scored centuries in the domestic games he played but here he is nothing but baggage. Sehwag, Tendulkar, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Sing should be axed. Bring some foreign players in the team. Then only India will do good. In the 2nd test if it were not for Murali Vijay and Chateshwar Pujara, India would have difficulty scoring even one hundred. Only 4 of the players scored runs.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

Well, Sachin is going to retire soon, who can replace him other than Sehwag? Sachin sees himself in Sehwag like Bradman sees himself in Sachin. Sehwag willing to play at Sachin place, he said that in the past. Nobody can replace Sehwag and he is top 5 Indian test batsman as of now ( in runs). Just bring him down the order and see. Either one down or 5 down. If he bat at 5 down he can do well with old ball and not much swinging ball. He must follow his Idol Sachin. Playing 100 tests for country means a lot in Cricket, it wont happen unless he is a match winner.

Posted by CherryWood_Champion on (March 4, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

Unmukth Chad has decent scores on foreign pitches playing under 19/21. And I also believe Rahane deserves a chance after warming up the benches for so long. Dhawan can still wait. So it has to be Rahane / Chand for the remaining 2 tests.

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (March 4, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

what are our options for pace allrounder, for countries which are suited for 2-3 spin bowlers in the playing 11. back to Irfan or some one new...?

Posted by sbganesh on (March 4, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

I think we should bring back Gauti and drop sehwag. we should have atleast 1 experienced opener in the team to tackle SA and also it will serve as good exposure to Gauti before touring SA or if the selectors wants to be bold then go with Vijay and Dhawan and don't worry about the opening stands for atleast 10 matches.

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (March 4, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

Aye, Move viru to middle order, he will fare better against older ball which is not doing much. Much easier to get his eye(s) in. Dhawan, Gauti, Mukung, Vijay, and few other names I have not picked up, plenty of options for opening slot.

Pujara may also fare as an opener, since he is patience has good technique. You do not need two stroke players as openers.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

Going by the BCCI's "youth" policy, there's also Unmukt Chand :)

Posted by tusharkardile on (March 4, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

It's very easy to ignore the other, relevant and more if not equally pressing issue. Who will bat at no 6 in SA?

On the evidence so far, Jadeja does not look like the answer. Nor is Raina or Yuvraj. And Rahane/Tiwary are not tried yet. And you cannot play Dhoni at no 6 and Jadeja at 7 in SA... that will mean you are playing 5+1+5 and not 6+1+4.

If Jadeja is good enough as a spinner, the Selectors and the captain should drop Harbhajan, and get Rahane, Tiwary (or even Sehwag, or for that matter Sharma) in at no 6 for next two games. If needed (and hopefully having wrap up the series by then) get in two of them at no 5 and 6 at the expense of Sachin/Kohli.

As for the openers, we already have tried/experience openers in Gambhir, Vijay, Jaffer and Sehwag, along with a strong candidate in Dhawan. But No 6 is a problem you cannot afford to ignore.

Posted by Raj12345 on (March 4, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

I don't understand why writers keep discussing about Shewag, Gambhir, Jaffer for years and years.

Why not Chand, Mukund, Rahane. Are they need to be selected into CSK first and then Indian Team, is it unwritten policy that is why Jadeja playing there. Why not DK not been considered into any discussion. He is playing very hard in all Domestic matches. But silently he is been taken out from team selection.

CSK is not represents Chennai or TN, it is about CSK management. We no need to confuse why Mukund is not selected.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (March 4, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

Rahane has opened for Mumbai he needs to given a chance. Dhawan needs to wait his turn. I still think Jadeja is a mistake inspite of his bowling. Unless he is the spin lead he does not have an hold on the batting position. He has not scored any major runs against quality opposition in INdia how will he do it in Africa. His batting on domestic games are clouding the vision of Dhoni and selectors

Posted by inswing on (March 4, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

Ideally, Sehwag should be given a few chances in the middle order. The middle order is jammed, so someone must be 'sacrificed' and moved up to open. These moves generally don't work well. We tried this with Dravid a few years ago, and it ended badly as predicted. Why mess with your in form batsman Pujara, just to accommodate the aging star? Instead, give Rahane or Dhawan a chance and keep the batting order.

Posted by phunny_game on (March 4, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

I know it doesn't seem like the best option right now, and of course shikhar dhawan is in the team so he should be the preffered choice if sehwag goes out... But GG is good player who has just been fighting an inner battle. Now that he is not sure of his place in the XI, and been in good nick (remember he played better than sehwag against England... Scored decent runs), he can be given a chance... Opening with Rahane would get him out of his comfort zone since he is a middle order bat...

Posted by Retour on (March 4, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

Sehwag should bat in the MO. One possible alternative is to open with Vijay, Pujara, with Kohli at 3, Ten 4, Seh 5, ....

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