Australia in India 2012-13 March 8, 2013

India need Sehwag in South Africa - Laxman

ESPNcricinfo staff

Axed India opener Virender Sehwag has found support from his former team-mate, VVS Laxman, who has said he "cannot imagine" an India team without Sehwag on the year-end tour of South Africa. Laxman said there was nothing wrong with Sehwag's reflexes, and felt he should have been playing in the third and fourth Tests against Australia to rediscover his form instead of being dropped midway through the series.

"The selectors are forgetting that the next Test series will be against South Africa," Laxman told Mumbai Mirror. "There should be a plan and vision for that series. When India go to South Africa, it is important to have a good mix of experience and youth. I cannot imagine an Indian team without Sehwag in those tough South African conditions. India cannot afford to go to South Africa without Sehwag."

Sehwag was dropped after making 2 and 19 in Chennai and 6 in Hyderabad against Australia following returns of 25, 30, 9, 23, 49 and 0 against England. The string of average scores came after his century in Ahmedabad, his first in two years. He hasn't made a hundred outside the subcontinent in five years. Laxman, however, said he should have been given two more matches, the only Tests India play before the South Africa tour.

"In Chennai, he was unlucky to have played on in the first innings," Laxman said. "Then in the second innings there and in the first innings in Hyderabad, good deliveries got him out. It was not that he threw away his wicket. It is not the right time to drop him.

"It was important to give him two more matches. Especially in Mohali [the venue for the third Test], Sehwag has always done well. The wicket there would have suited his game. It was a matter of one good knock for him to get back into form. Keeping in view the South Africa series, it is not a right decision. This would have been an ideal chance for him to come back into form."

Sehwag, 34, batted wearing glasses in Chennai and Hyderabad, and there were suggestions his reflexes were slowing down. Laxman dismissed them, saying Sehwag had a lot of cricket left in him. "There is a lot of talk about his glasses. Do you know how many players use contact lenses? I think someone uses the lenses just to make sure that his eyes are fine. I don't know why people are making such hue and cry about the glasses. I see no problems with Sehwag's reflexes."

Laxman said Sehwag had shown signs of returning to form during the second innings in Chennai and was confident he would be able to make a comeback. "Everyone goes through a lean patch. Sehwag is also going through bad form. But he is too good a player to be out of form for too long. I'm sure he will play wherever possible and his performance will talk for him.

"The South Africa series is in December. So there are enough matches for him to make a case for himself. The domestic season would have started before that. He will have got enough matches to prove himself by then."