India news March 6, 2013

India must take a call on Sehwag's spot - Dravid

ESPNcricinfo staff

India's selectors and management must decide whether they want Virender Sehwag to open in Tests in South Africa at the end of the year, and if not, they must give someone else the opportunity to find his feet in familiar conditions, Rahul Dravid has said. The Indian selectors are due to pick the squad for the last two Tests against Australia on Thursday, but ESPNcricinfo understands no changes are expected.

A chink in India's commanding victories in the first two Tests in Chennai and Hyderabad was their opening partnership, which produced 11, 16 and 17. While M Vijay found form in Hyderabad with 167, Sehwag aggregated 27 in three innings.

He had made only 253 runs in seven innings during the home series against England last year, 117 of those coming in one innings in Ahmedabad. He also failed to score a half-century in two home Tests against New Zealand. On India's last overseas assignment, in Australia, Sehwag made 198 runs in eight innings. After the two remaining matches against Australia, India have no more Tests scheduled before their trip to South Africa at the end of the year.

"I think the selectors and management need to decide whether they are going to open with Viru (Virender) in South Africa," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo. "I mean Viru playing well, Viru at his best, is a great asset to any side, but the reality is that he hasn't been performing particularly well, and he hasn't really done well on overseas trips over the last two or three years. If they feel confident about opening with Sehwag in South Africa, then I think it makes sense to continue with Sehwag and give him the opportunity to get that confidence."

Dravid said there was also the option of moving Sehwag to the middle order, and if that was the case, then India should blood the replacement opener in home conditions before taking him to face the new ball in South Africa. The reserve opener in the squad for the first two Tests against Australia was Delhi batsman Shikhar Dhawan.

"If they are going to look ahead, I think there could be a realistic possibility of Sehwag coming into the middle order," Dravid said. "You know if opportunities open up at some stage, maybe Sachin is going to move on, then I think Viru is the man with the experience to be able to come in and bat in the middle order. He has said in the past that he would like to, and that could be an option.

If that is the route India is going to take then I think it makes sense to try out another youngster, or try out another opener, and give him the opportunity to play at least a couple of Test matches in more familiar conditions, before going to South Africa. I think it will be unfair on any young opener to be asked to go to South Africa straightaway, and play against the likes of Steyn, Philander and Morkel."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    Dravid's point of view is clear cut for the team transition. He tells the right one for team India concerning the abroaed tours. His points should be validated.

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Sehwag's body language suggests he is under pressure. The confident, carefree Viru who scored 1000s of runs for India isn't the same anymore. He is not even making good 30-40 cameos. He should have moved down the order long ago and with every failure he is simply losing confidence in his abilities more. Bringing in Ambati Rayudu, who has had a great Ranji season as well as a terrific Irani Cup (not to forget the 87 in the warm up against Australia) would be the right way to go. So what if there are other folks in the reckoning before him, weren't Rohit, Rahane etc given enough chances at the international level? Rayudu has shown immense talent and a solid technique against fast and spin bowling. He is international material and should be picked very very soon. Raina/Yuvraj should be ignored without any consideration, the team cannot give them several come back opportunities while they have time and again proved inept of test standards.

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    First of all I appreciate the fact that Dravid has not intended to rule out Sehwag completely but to provide him an apportunity to player in the order of his choice. This is because we all know what Sehwag is capable of and what impact does it make when he scores well(I agree that he isn't in good form and has been critised lately).However, I think the selectors should let him play this series and then take a call on this. Playing a new opening pair here in India with intend to gain experience anticipating it will help them in SA series does carry too much weight. Bringing Sehwag down the order and giving an youngster a chance to open an innings would add to the accompaniment of the team.

  • DAYALAN on March 7, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Well, the legend (Dravid) knows the other legend (sehwag) more than anyone else. Sehwag has been out of form there is no doubt about it. But, he is a kind of player who hits back to form within no time. Unfortunately, this out of form run has prolonged. South African wickets are for him! Recollect his debut 100 at Bloemfontein. Although, time has passed by such memories can be motivating.

    So, i guess going with the same team for the remaining test against Australia is the right move. A look up in these two tests and some runs (probably big!) under his belt, Sehwag could be a match winner again. . . .

  • chris on March 7, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Sehwag's life had been made easier by the selectors, by giving him too many chances, when he never deserved. Sehwag's problem has been his irresponsibility and carelessness, he nver put a price on his wicket. The blow that India has recieved by playing him, in place of other youngsters is the massive defeats they suffered in England, Down under and the home series against england. Now, India is in a situation of no specialist opener, that can match against the formidable South African attack later this year.

    Too much hero-worship and Star glorification is ditrimental for an individual's career. that has been consistently embarked in Idia cricket over the years. The current performance against an inexperienced and spineless Australian side shouldnt be romanticised. India's record for the past two years has been dismal. Its always better for Dhoni and his selectors to be pragmatic and realistic and take futuristic decisions.

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    I think Viru should be given few more chance since the team is in best position now in the series there is no harm giving him chance at least in this ongoing series.If he fails then its fair call for youngster to take his place.

  • Praveen on March 7, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Would anyone be able to tell me when the tour to sa is scheduled? The exact dates..

  • Raghuveer on March 7, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Well said Dravid and the selectors are bold enough to drop him . One never knows we cannot rule out one more come back .

  • Naresh on March 7, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    The REALITY of the situation is that Viru's eyesight is gone. Between hin and Sachin its time to call it a day - the call should be left to both of them. By dropping Shewag the selectors have already made him think and consider. Sachin is still scoring but not as heavily as he used to. Gambhir has failed as a test opener and maybe could find a middle order slot. By shedding off some players, India test team is looking much better.

  • Nitesh on March 7, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    Very nice comments by legend on Sehwag's future. Main problem with sehwag is that he is not looking focused and not in great touch. He is not getting runs that is separate story, Same is with Sachin. But Sachin is looking confident in this series and looks like he is in the form. some times you get out early even you are in your elite form. Sehwag need to focus a lot if he want to continue in the Test cricket. BCCI should start grooming new openers and I think, Rahane, Murli V and Shikhar are great prospect. Even BCCI can go with Jaffer as well as he did fantastically well in domestic. Age should not be factor while doing selection.