England in India 2012-13 January 6, 2013

India drop Sehwag, call up Pujara


India have dropped Virender Sehwag for the first three matches of the five-ODI series against England, which begins on January 11 in Rajkot. The decision came after Sehwag was left out of the XI that beat Pakistan in an ODI in Delhi earlier in the day. India gave a maiden limited-overs call-up to Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 203 off 221 balls in a Ranji Trophy match last week.

A BCCI source told ESPNcricinfo that this could well be the end of Sehwag's limited-overs career. Sehwag has been dropped, said the source, because "he doesn't figure in the plans for the 2015 World Cup". Pujara has been brought in "to anchor the innings, especially in the wake of new rules", which now allow a maximum of two bouncers per over and require a minimum of five fielders inside the circle at all times, which encourages more attacking bowling. The selectors have left it to the team management to decide Pujara's batting position.

Pujara's inclusion was the only change to the squad that lost 1-2 to Pakistan, which meant MS Dhoni, India's best batsman in the series, kept his captaincy despite calls from former selectors for fresh leadership. The sources said Dhoni's captaincy didn't go through much of a debate.

Rohit Sharma was retained despite poor returns in ODIs of late. His last six scores were 5, 0, 0, 4, 4 and 4. Since the end of the series against West Indies in 2011, when he was the Man of the Series, Rohit has averaged 13 over 14 matches with one half-century. Rohit escaped the axe primarily because of "lack of alternatives". He might not have made it had Manoj Tiwary been fit.

Since his double-century against West Indies in December 2011, Sehwag has averaged 23 over 11 matches, including a top score of 96. Sehwag is possibly seen as the weaker fielder, which becomes significant keeping in mind the World Cup in Australia.

Sehwag's replacement, Pujara, is quick in the field and has been scoring runs. After his double-century that stunned Madhya Pradesh six days ago, Pujara said he knew his time was not far away. "That [ODI selection] is something that is not in my control," Pujara had told ESPNcricinfo. "I have always performed in domestic one-dayers. I don't need to worry about it. My time will come. One way or the other I will get my chance to play in the ODI team. I just need to keep performing."

The bowlers were all retained after they successfully defended 167 against Pakistan on Sunday, India's fourth-lowest score batting first in an ODI win.

Squad: MS Dhoni (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Amit Mishra.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gaurav on January 9, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    KiwiRocker-Well one correction, Umesh Yadav did not play in Asia Cup. You are free to express your views and i respect that but about being desperate for getting a bowler like Shohaib or Juniad ,well i disagree.We are not desperate as we know our limitations,our strength is batting not bowling.Pakistan side has always been more talented than us,but in last 10 years even they could not achieve overseas performances like drawing series in Aus and SA and winning series in Eng and WI ,India managed to do that because they had match winners like Rahul and VVS who took all the pressure and performed consistently.Main problem with Indian cricket is that in desperation to keep our home record intact we have been preparing flat tracks for so long instead of playing on sporting tracks and hence we are getting more record maker kind of players like Sachin and Sehwag and less utility players like VVS and Rahul. Thats the main reason for 8-0 thrashing and loss against Eng at home.

  • Sam on January 9, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Pick players on form and India will rise to the top

  • Bobby on January 9, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    CandidIndian : This is the problem with Indian fans. India is so desperate for a bowler like Junaid Khan that they over hype their players. Few months ago, Umesh Yadev was india's next Shoib Akhtar until the man was hammered by everyone in Asia cup. Now it is Bhuvnesh Kumar! Look, Kumar took some wickets which is good but he was also taken to cleaners in second T20 and second ODI because they were flat pitches. Bowlers like kumar exist on every street of Pakistan who can swing the bowl. Actually, it is a shame that Anwar Ali did not play as that man can swing miles ( see U19 world cup final on you tube). Anyway, Kumar is good but all this hype is unnecessary and speaks of sheer desperation. I mean Virat Kohli was touted as tormentor of Pakistani bowling and poor man ended up scoring 13 runs in the series against Pak which is exactly half of what Umer Gul scored in one less match! Kumar has a long way to go and many Kumars have disappeared before that. All this hype is premature!

  • Al on January 9, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    Sehwag, Gambhir and Kohli are the biggest problems. Why are Indian Selectors incapable of taking drastic measures?? How many series do we have to lose before we get rid of non-performers like Gambhir and Sehwag?? There's no shortage of good opening batsmen in India - Dhawan, Mukund, and Murli proved against England that they are better than Sehwag and Gambhir. Wasim Jaffer is proving himself in Ranji Trophy. There should be no room for Sehwag and Gambhir in Tests or ODI. Jaffer and Rahane can open in Tests, while Dhawan and Mukund/Murli can open in ODIs.

  • karthik on January 8, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    If axing the players will fix it,I think all the dead-wood Gambhir,Raina,Yuvraj must also GO.Loser,Dhoni must be stripped off captaincy and should just stay a player that too if he does not go for heroics/not outs and plays for the team and NOT his avg.Biggest problem is the board with its myopic $$ making mindset and complete contempt for test cricket apart from lack of planning and so many other generic ills.But for immediate results,DUMP Dhoni as skipper from ALL formats;he's mentally demoralized and scarred due to unprecedented thrashings and his defeatist mentality is rubbing off on this young team..It is also permeating the whole team.Gambhir as test captain,Kohli as ODI & T20 leader is the best way forward.Enough of Dhoni's favorites Jadeja,Raina Ashwin who only perform once in 10 matches and that simply isn't good enough with the talent available around.

  • Gaurav on January 8, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    KiwiRocker-Not just Akmals , Kumar took wickets of good batsman like Hafeez, Younis Khan and Azhar Ali too and he is not overhyped ,he is just being appreciated for starting well not only by Indian fans but by legends of your country like Inzamam,Wasim ,Waquar,Zaheer Abbas and great Imran khan.

  • Rahul on January 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    Gambhir and Sehwag should have been dropped for the series while Kohli rested. Bring in Ajinkya Rahane in for Sehwag, Pujara in for Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan/Parthiv Patel in for Gambhir. After the series is over, the person who performs best of Pujara, Dhawan and Rahane get Sehwag's spot in the lineup. Sehwag would then play the Tendulkar way of choosing the ODI series to take part in while the replacement would play all the others. Kohli can be brought back after the England series while Gambhir's place on the side will depend on how he responds to getting dropped.

  • john on January 8, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Omitting Sehwag from ODI's is a right move, considering his past performances since World Cup 2011, apart form the massive innings of 217 he has not done anything great. There is absolutely no question about his ability, In Tests he is a terrific player, one of the best India ever produced, but in ODI's and T20 he has never been that consistent. So it's a right decision to leave him out. But I strongly believe selectors have been biased by dropping just Sehwag. Gambhir, Raina, Rohit and Jadeja are non-performers too, they have done even worse than Sehwag but only he is dropped. This baffles me a lot. Dropping just Sehwag is not a complete solution, along with him Gambhir, Jadeja, Rohit Sharma should have been replaced by Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu and Jalaj Saxena.

  • karthik on January 8, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Reports coming in that after the last match against Pak,a senior BCCI official called up a commentator and asked him to give MoM award to Dhoni while the other panelists were not that happy.Now we know that Dhoni not just will stay the captain till Srini stays,but those opposing him will either be bullied or punished.Amarnath is already a living example of that.So the selectors are paid enough to keep their mouths shut and protect Dhoni.RIP Ind cricket!

  • john on January 8, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    'Ravinder Jadeja' God knows why this lad is making to XI all the time, he is not a complete bowler, neither a lower order batsman, if he is being selected for his bowling abilities, Team should consider playing extra bowler in his place, and promoting Ashwin. And if he is being selected for his batting abilities, he has never done anything in International cricket from his date of debut, just scoring two triple centuries doesn't mean that you are ahead of everyone who are putting their hardest effort by scoring runs season after season in domestic Cricket, Players like, Shikhar Dhawan, Mukund, Robin Bist, and many others are scoring so consistently but selectors are being ignorant every time, one who are selected don't get to play at all, Eg, Rahane, poor guy, from past two years he is in the squad and warming bench, get his chances once in a blue moon. Team Management has provided enough opportunities to Jadeja, its HIGH time to drop him and try someone else.