Indian cricket March 7, 2013

Indian selectors get their timing right

India's selectors have given themselves the chance to assess several opening options ahead of the tour of South Africa in December
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The Indian selectors' decision to drop Virender Sehwag for the last two Tests against Australia cannot be argued with, if cricketing logic and the weight of lack of runs is applied against sentiment and possibility.

It is in many ways a far simpler decision to take at this stage, with India 2-0 up against an Australian side whose transition roadmap in all departments has disintegrated in the middle of a series. No replacement was announced for Sehwag either, an oddity and a signal in itself. Even in home series, the Indians travel in large squads -15 usually - which has long been treated as a fall out of zonal selection but has become a hard habit to break. Today, it was broken. The signal is that Shikhar Dhawan could get his big break after a first-class season with six centuries and five fifties.

The Sehwag omission is an indication the selectors are treading on the straight and narrow directive of the 'youth policy.' It works particularly well in Indian conditions but to gauge whether it can succeed overseas - well, that's what selectors are paid for. Sandeep Patil's panel should be complimented for doing much of the dirty work sidestepped by the Kris Srikkanth panel that preceded it and lived off the 2011 World Cup victory for one year too long.

After the announcement, Sehwag said he was going to find a way back and that he trusts his game. In the last five years, at his best and even his most mercurial, he produced, by a guesstimate, one in three innings of weight and influence on the state of the game. If he is able to find his way back to that state of mind and batsmanship, India will be pleased. If the new openers are beating him on that ratio, then Sehwag can do nothing but work and wait.

Yet, the opportunities for Sehwag to work his way into runs and Test form are on the slender side. The IPL will take all of April and most of May, by which time the Indian summer will set in, in its energy-sapping force. The only avenue is an unusual one: a four-month window in the monsoon, set up for the first time by the BCCI, for A-teams to tour. This July, a proposed India A tour could act as a recce with beanies and thermals, for the full tour that is to follow in the South African summer.

While nothing is final - all India tours appear to materialise at the last hour after mysterious agreements - the A tour is expected to contain three four-day matches and a bag of T20 and 50-over games. What both Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir do in the interim, post-IPL, will give clues about intention and effort.

There was another option for Sehwag, but no one knows if was discussed: for him to slot into the middle order, where he has always said he really belongs. After all, he made his debut at No. 6 as it happens, in South Africa. It is the position where a specialist batsman, if the rest have gone, must bat with those that follow, maybe face the second new ball, farm the strike and push the innings along.

The idea of Sehwag coming in at 44 for 4, batting alongside Dhoni and the bowlers, is a delicious one. But the No. 6 is more of an aggressive anchor and less of a pinch-hitter, more VVS Laxman than Sehwag, and most certainly not a Sehwag without runs. When Sehwag moved to open for India, he had scored a century and two fifties in his first seven Test innings in the middle order and was averaging more than 50. Not now.

The decision to drop Sehwag makes Dhawan the first in line to open the innings with M Vijay in Mohali. Dhoni has by and large been rather fond of left-right hand combinations, particularly in ODI cricket. Dhawan may turn out to be an extension into Test cricket, particularly against the shaken confidence of the Australian bowling attack.

The only thing that could come between Dhawan and a Test place will be the Rahane Reversal. Ever since he was picked for the 2011-12 tour of Australia, Ajinkya Rahane's fledgling Test cricket career was turned into the Otis Redding song. I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay/ Watching the tide roll away/ I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay/ Wastin' time. Maybe Rahane's time sittin' around in the Indian dressing room, like Otis said, watching the ships roll in/ And then I watch 'em roll away again, may actually be over.

The performance of the openers in Mohali and Delhi will give the selectors tips on who stands a better chance of making it to the XI in South Africa. By freeing up two openers' slots, the selectors have given themselves a reasonable number to choose from, once the IPL is done with and the injury roster is up. But if anything, Australia's struggles have proved that no matter how well intentioned a youth policy is, replacing skills is tough. If for the short term, it means going back to an older hand for tours of South Africa and then England in 2014, then so be it. The selectors have shown focus; they must also be ready to be flexible.

If there is a blot on today's events it is that, once again, the reasoning and thought process of the selection panel, the rationale behind Sehwag's omission or where he stood in the succession-planning business, was left behind closed doors. It is one thing for the selection committee chairman to have to dodge bullets at one of our rowdy press conferences. It is another to infect silence onto the BCCI's Twitter handle, website and its Facebook page. It can only be hoped that Sehwag, a batsman who is both rare and influential in Indian cricket in the best possible way, had been spoken to by the selectors.

For a board that is extremely 21st century in the protection of its commercial interests, its communication with those that are responsible for the generation of that commerce - the public, the Indian team's fans - belongs to the age when pigeons carried messages and telephones had not been invented.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | March 7, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    The dropping of Sehwag can be argued both for & against. Given the lack of runs it is not a surprise to see him getting dropped, but the point is if he had to be dropped, they why give him an extended run? Since he scored that 100 against Eng, he hardly got any scores worth noting (i think there was a 49 in somewhere). Point is if he had to be dropped for Dhawan or Rahane, then it should have been done at the start of this series so that either of these guys would have got an extended run & grown in confidence and shown his skills. Not sure how much of success u can find in 2 tests. On the down side - looking into the future, there are 4 overseas tour coming up in the next 18 months. Throwing these greenhorns to the like of Steyn/philander/anderson in their conditions may be too steep a curve for them to ride over, and thats where the experience of Gambhir and Sehwag would have come in handy. Now that the decision is made, lets hope for Indian cricket it turns out to be the right one.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | March 10, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Sad to see Sehwag go this way. But he has to go, one day. Dhoni finally succeeding in his schemes. I hope and wish Sehwag comes back with a bang and gets a fitting and well-deserving farewell. Miss you Viru! :-(

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 10, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    Ugra's reading of the selectors' 'youth policy' & 'succession planning' is puzzling. Do a reality check: The playing XI is a good mix of experience & youth: 4 players over 30 years old, 4 below 25 & 3 between 25 & 30. Dhawan - Viru's potential replacement - at 27 is no spring chicken. Nor Vijay at ~29. The spinners Ashwin (26), Harbhajan (32) & Jadeja (24) delivered big time, esp. Ashwin. Why Bhajji? As Dravid rationalises: Play 2 right-arm off-spinners, given that Oz started 4 left-handed batsmen in their top 6. It worked: horses for courses. Succession planning means fielding the best available for a series, a game at a time. It's not about some fancy long-term plan or personal wish-list. It's patiently building a team for stability. Many "uncertain" factors - injuries, fatigue, form, personnel issues, weather - can affect a team's fortunes, as India experienced in 2011/12. Now it's bouncing back from a transitional down-cycle. A job well done by the selectors & team management!

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 9, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Agree with @ Cpt.Meanster - India could still win the last 2 tests against Australia WITHOUT Sehwag. We don't need him in the team any more. His glory days are over. I am an Indian fan first. The team comes FIRST for me. Sadly, many of my fellow Indian fans are BLIND in worshipping of their idols. It's to get rid of other perennial non-performers - 10DULKAR, ISHANT, and BHAJJI

  • POSTED BY mukesh_LOVE.cricket on | March 9, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    better late than never ,even at his best he was a big gamble on bouncy and swinging conditions and now he cant handle quality pace bowling even on indian pitches , also when will the selectors show a bit of guts and drop harbhajan singh , pragyan ojha deserves to be in the team more than any other spinner

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 9, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    India could still win the last 2 tests against Australia WITHOUT Sehwag. We don't need him in the team any more. His glory days are over. I am one of Sehwag's biggest fans and still adore him. However, I am an Indian fan first. The team comes FIRST for me. Sadly, many of my fellow Indian fans are BLIND in worshipping of their idols. This sentimentality and stupidity is what makes a demi-gods out of average players in India. Not that Sehwag was an average player by any means. Still, his reliance on hand-eye coordination is getting the better of him. If he can't bat on the slow, low pitches of India, he will be thoroughly exposed on the quick and bouncy wickets of SA. Steyn and Co. will feast on his wicket. So it's better to retire now with some dignity cause I honestly cannot see him come back to the Indian team any more. That leaves Tendulkar as the ONLY veteran player in the side. Sachin is still scoring some runs, so I say give him one more away series.

  • POSTED BY mragendrakumarverma on | March 9, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    It is always well said never change winning combination.if there is change to be made it could have been after australia series.he is not among runs scorrer.may be it is felt that he is a liability in side.so are others.like ishant,bhajji.except first test even sachin is not among runs.evaluate players after series is over not in middle of it.

  • POSTED BY Angry_Bowler on | March 8, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    One thing is for sure, cricket fans of both pro and against the decision of dropping him from the team should realize that horses for courses saying is right for at least in the sports, when there are so many young players are waiting for their chance to prove themselves, why not give a chance and see how they perform in india and abroad. This will make the team much more competitive than what it is now, and it should be applied across all the players without the bias of junior senior or young old or present past records or state club etc. The obsession with a particular player should be in the team no matter what will only make the team less sportive and competitive.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    Saying that greenhorns like Dhawan and Rahane won't come handy overseas doesn't make sense. Sehwag and Gambhir failed miserably on the tours to Australia and England. They were still given chances, on the other hand, players like Rahane and Vijay who possess an excellent technique will definitely come handy overseas, they should be given a chance.

  • POSTED BY pull_shot on | March 8, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    some of viru fans suggesting him to go to county season instead of IPL thats not going to happen remember he delayed surgery to shoulder so that he can play ipl keeping in mind to skip india tour of england

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | March 7, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    The dropping of Sehwag can be argued both for & against. Given the lack of runs it is not a surprise to see him getting dropped, but the point is if he had to be dropped, they why give him an extended run? Since he scored that 100 against Eng, he hardly got any scores worth noting (i think there was a 49 in somewhere). Point is if he had to be dropped for Dhawan or Rahane, then it should have been done at the start of this series so that either of these guys would have got an extended run & grown in confidence and shown his skills. Not sure how much of success u can find in 2 tests. On the down side - looking into the future, there are 4 overseas tour coming up in the next 18 months. Throwing these greenhorns to the like of Steyn/philander/anderson in their conditions may be too steep a curve for them to ride over, and thats where the experience of Gambhir and Sehwag would have come in handy. Now that the decision is made, lets hope for Indian cricket it turns out to be the right one.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | March 10, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Sad to see Sehwag go this way. But he has to go, one day. Dhoni finally succeeding in his schemes. I hope and wish Sehwag comes back with a bang and gets a fitting and well-deserving farewell. Miss you Viru! :-(

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 10, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    Ugra's reading of the selectors' 'youth policy' & 'succession planning' is puzzling. Do a reality check: The playing XI is a good mix of experience & youth: 4 players over 30 years old, 4 below 25 & 3 between 25 & 30. Dhawan - Viru's potential replacement - at 27 is no spring chicken. Nor Vijay at ~29. The spinners Ashwin (26), Harbhajan (32) & Jadeja (24) delivered big time, esp. Ashwin. Why Bhajji? As Dravid rationalises: Play 2 right-arm off-spinners, given that Oz started 4 left-handed batsmen in their top 6. It worked: horses for courses. Succession planning means fielding the best available for a series, a game at a time. It's not about some fancy long-term plan or personal wish-list. It's patiently building a team for stability. Many "uncertain" factors - injuries, fatigue, form, personnel issues, weather - can affect a team's fortunes, as India experienced in 2011/12. Now it's bouncing back from a transitional down-cycle. A job well done by the selectors & team management!

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 9, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Agree with @ Cpt.Meanster - India could still win the last 2 tests against Australia WITHOUT Sehwag. We don't need him in the team any more. His glory days are over. I am an Indian fan first. The team comes FIRST for me. Sadly, many of my fellow Indian fans are BLIND in worshipping of their idols. It's to get rid of other perennial non-performers - 10DULKAR, ISHANT, and BHAJJI

  • POSTED BY mukesh_LOVE.cricket on | March 9, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    better late than never ,even at his best he was a big gamble on bouncy and swinging conditions and now he cant handle quality pace bowling even on indian pitches , also when will the selectors show a bit of guts and drop harbhajan singh , pragyan ojha deserves to be in the team more than any other spinner

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 9, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    India could still win the last 2 tests against Australia WITHOUT Sehwag. We don't need him in the team any more. His glory days are over. I am one of Sehwag's biggest fans and still adore him. However, I am an Indian fan first. The team comes FIRST for me. Sadly, many of my fellow Indian fans are BLIND in worshipping of their idols. This sentimentality and stupidity is what makes a demi-gods out of average players in India. Not that Sehwag was an average player by any means. Still, his reliance on hand-eye coordination is getting the better of him. If he can't bat on the slow, low pitches of India, he will be thoroughly exposed on the quick and bouncy wickets of SA. Steyn and Co. will feast on his wicket. So it's better to retire now with some dignity cause I honestly cannot see him come back to the Indian team any more. That leaves Tendulkar as the ONLY veteran player in the side. Sachin is still scoring some runs, so I say give him one more away series.

  • POSTED BY mragendrakumarverma on | March 9, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    It is always well said never change winning combination.if there is change to be made it could have been after australia series.he is not among runs scorrer.may be it is felt that he is a liability in side.so are others.like ishant,bhajji.except first test even sachin is not among runs.evaluate players after series is over not in middle of it.

  • POSTED BY Angry_Bowler on | March 8, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    One thing is for sure, cricket fans of both pro and against the decision of dropping him from the team should realize that horses for courses saying is right for at least in the sports, when there are so many young players are waiting for their chance to prove themselves, why not give a chance and see how they perform in india and abroad. This will make the team much more competitive than what it is now, and it should be applied across all the players without the bias of junior senior or young old or present past records or state club etc. The obsession with a particular player should be in the team no matter what will only make the team less sportive and competitive.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    Saying that greenhorns like Dhawan and Rahane won't come handy overseas doesn't make sense. Sehwag and Gambhir failed miserably on the tours to Australia and England. They were still given chances, on the other hand, players like Rahane and Vijay who possess an excellent technique will definitely come handy overseas, they should be given a chance.

  • POSTED BY pull_shot on | March 8, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    some of viru fans suggesting him to go to county season instead of IPL thats not going to happen remember he delayed surgery to shoulder so that he can play ipl keeping in mind to skip india tour of england

  • POSTED BY desibabu90 on | March 8, 2013, 15:03 GMT

    There is another alternative for Sehwag and Gambhir to find some form. Skip the IPL and play county cricket. But obviously, they will prioritize money and T20 over test anyday. My respect for them will grow if they decide to pursue this track. We all know what wonders an English County season can do and with lots of overseas tests coming up, it may be a good idea to skip one season of IPL.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    Sehwag will not make a comback, he is going to play Ipl, for the rest of his career make his bresd and butter, entertain the crowds. The reason I beleive this becausehe is one of the most lazyiest cricketers on indian team, who makes no effort to improve his game. Before he gets a chance we have shikar dhwan, and rahane in line for s debut.

  • POSTED BY EatSleepCricket on | March 8, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    Selectors are right in dropping Sehwag based on his form. But he should be given a chance in the middle order provided he works on his game. However, I do not agree with your statement - "But the No. 6 is more of an aggressive anchor and less of a pinch-hitter" - calling Sehwag pinch-hitter?? seriously!! hilarious!! Sharda, Not a fan of your analysis!

  • POSTED BY rgom on | March 8, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    People who think Sehwag can work back into the team from here are dreaming. Sehwag has relied on hand-eye coordination without proper technique or footwork. When Tendulkar's reflexes deteriorated, he was able to change his game by relying more on his technique. Sehwag without his quick reflexes is not the Sehwag yearn to see. Even if Sehwag can work on his technique, he is not going to be better than some of the youngsters waiting to get into the team.

  • POSTED BY Kemcho on | March 8, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Why do us Indians believe in personality worshipping to the extent that an event which does not require more than a sentence takes up lot of space? Dropping of Sehwag does not require such a lengthy description. He is not scoring runs and therefore should be dropped - it is simple as that.

  • POSTED BY baskar_guha on | March 8, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Sehwag has been an extraordinarily gifted batsman who made many a fast bowler quite nervous and in the process entertained us. He will be missed in the middle. We will soon find out what Shikar/Rahane and Murali are made off as I fully expect the Australians to come very hard at the Indians particularly on the pace friendly Mohali pitch. Regardless of how the young openers do in the remaining two tests, they will have to deal with seam and bounce at its best when they are in South Africa. I am not sure I quite see the technique or counterattacking instincts in any of them to survive or blunt it but I am hopeful that I will be proven wrong.

  • POSTED BY kbSenthilkumar on | March 8, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Then what about Sachin. Why nobody is questioning the Sachin's place in the team. His batting average is less than Sehwag's for the year 2011-2012. If cricketing logic and the weight of lack of runs is applied against sentiment and possibility, then Sachin should have been dropped much earlier. I hope Sharda Ugra writes a article questioning the Sachin's place in the team by applying cricket logic and without sentiment.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 8, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    I'm beginning to realise that when it comes to ageing stars & a national reluctance to let them go, India is saturated in sentiment. For a country so bedazzled by their genius at spawning the loud publicity-hugging darling of the BCCI ( IPL, of course) - the condition begins to look like something quite schizophrenic. On one hand, we can't let our heroes move on (you can, Sharda, but not everyone sees these matters as clearly as you do) & on the other hand, we rejoice in the relentless promotion of the hard-nosed, commercially exploitative faux cricket of the IPL circus. Sentiment & capitalism. Curiously, they actually belong to each other after all - both failing to encompass the big picture: how do we (India) put the best XI forward to win Test matches, home & away. And the even bigger, fully inclusive picture, should address the condition of women's cricket in the nation. No self-respecting nation can afford to ignore 50% of its population, can it? Today is Internat. Women's Day!

  • POSTED BY ramli on | March 8, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    An overseas test tour need not always be disastrous as the last two ... the earlier to these were still productive if not always successful ... we can still achieve something mid-way with the young new comers ... wish them well and hope they receive a decent run ...

  • POSTED BY de.rahul on | March 8, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Players like Rahane and Dhawan have been playing competitive cricket for a while, and its wrong to assume that they can't learn to cope with foreign conditions. Both Rahane and Dhawan have played outside India with the A team. Moreover by giving them an indication that they could become future Indian openers, would force them to start learning the skills required to survive against top bowling teams. It might be a good option for some of the young cricketers to play county in England, to get used to wickets conducive to pace bowling. I think using Sehwag as a middle order batsmen is a good idea, didn't he score his test debut century in South Africa batting at 6.

  • POSTED BY Scheduler on | March 8, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Its Good sehwag was been dropped . He was actually enjoying the dressing room presence on borrowed time and the selectors have done a good Job. There are many deserving youngsters who are performing and need to be rewarded for their hard work. Sometimes the experience word is taken too far. Remember no one is born with experience and everyone gains it .It was good when Team Indiai was winning when sehwag was playing well and now lets accept it he is no more playing well so he should be dropped. Time to move on and have some fresh faces .

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    After reading the author in the last one year, it would not be incorrect to surmise that she is extremely biased and has no knowledge of the game. She has been all through negative in her mindset.

  • POSTED BY DEArdeshir on | March 8, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Pointless article. Not one original thought. Moreover, the lady has not a good word to say about anyone, least of all the BCCI or any Indian player - mere criticism and trying to be contrary seems to make up her entire DNA. Senior Editor or not, meaningless articles - which essentially have nothing worthwhile to say - shouldn't be churned out merely to fill space.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    At Last!. Had Sehwag been disciplined earlier we may have has a completely different player. I can only hope Sehwag if he recovers his form will take the teams interest first and his second. No more playing in the IPL with a shoulder injury before 2 important tours as in 2011.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Sehwag should not have been dropped. We are dominating the Aus series and could have afforded to carry Sehwag along for a couple of more tests. If he had not performed then we could have sent Dhawan to any India A tour to SA and seen how he performed.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    Sehwag has been a great cricketer for India. He contributed so much in the past. Even though axing him in his current form can be considered as the right move by the selectors. thereby giving chance to yungsters to build a team for future. Same in the case as Gambhir. But I'm afraid if it was in the proper manner these seniors players have been treated in the recent times. Come to the terms "Building team for future", It doesnt look so bright since we have got youngsters who plays only in the square turner or slow & dead pitches in india. Whatever margin india wins at home doesn't inspire much since a great teams should master all the conditions they play in and winning in challenging conditions define the team's greatness. In my opinion(there may be disagreements), Tailor-made pitches to gain home advantage would only help in imroving the team winning statistics, but not for the real cricket fan. I feel india is going back to regain their old tag "Tigers at Home, Chickens Abroad"..

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Must consider Jaffer for SA. I cant see Dhawan, Rahane, vijay combo doing any better there. Jaffer is best old school opener we have today.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    Wait and see how Indian team survive in overseas series! Why not this policy being taken against Sachin? He was flop in so many matches. Take a fair decision not like this.

  • POSTED BY JoieDeVivre on | March 8, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Dropping Sehwag is possibly a step in the right direction not just because he wasn't scoring runs but the manner in which he was getting out but a player like him who has played over 100 Tests needs to be respected and I sincerely hope the news of him being dropped was broken to him by the BCCI and not via a media channel. If there is one area BCCI is yet to improve is to show some professionalism when it comes to managing players i.e giving a proper explanation, talking to them for the reason the player has been dropped etc. Quite honestly, in this day and age I find it genuinely hard to understand why would the selectors not talk to the player concerned and give them the reasons.

  • POSTED BY Hiteshvara on | March 8, 2013, 2:22 GMT

    Finally i think selectors have made Sharda Ugra happy by dropping sehwag..Next i think she will be happy when Sachin gets dropped..Every expert/pundit wants palyers to get dropped with out naming any alternatives...If selectors made sehwag to bat in middle order sharda would have termed as "muddled thinking" and since selectors didnt do that she is saying"The idea of Sehwag coming in at 44 for 4, batting alongside Dhoni and the bowlers, is a delicious one"..I have never read an article from sharda without the pessimistic view of Indian cricket(even when she tries to praise somebody)..whole article points to batting in south africa..is she going on a Long vacation that she doesnt recognise there is lot of cricket to be played in next 6 months..and cricket is not played tuff only in south africa..

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | March 8, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    "Sandeep Patil's panel should be complimented for doing much of the dirty work sidestepped by the Kris Srikkanth panel"....NOT SO FAST, Sharda. The Patil Panel has gotten lucky with Dravid, Laxman retirements. Don't forget the Srikkant Panel did make tough calls that impacted Ganguly - which was in itself a watershed moment and drew all sorts of criticism from all quarters, and Harbhajan Singh. The Indian cricket journalists tend to speak from both sides of their mouth - on the hand they'll bay for Bhajji's blood, and on the other they'll call him 'great' for he's captured 400 test wickets. Net-net: Dropping Sehwag is the right call whose time had come. Inevitable. Sad. I love his batting. I'd like to see the Patil Panel's foresightedness in phasing Tendulkar out.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    Other countries' fans when they win at home: wow, we thrashed them, whadda-team Indian fans when they win at home : huh ! winning against mediocre opposition at home is too mainstream the fact is teams like ENG, AUS, SA also struggle when they come to asia....and vice-versa for sub-continent teams....Indian fans - enjoy whatever the country wins....dont keep blabbering around for past losses

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    viru should skip IPL this year and go for county cricket this season. If he finds form, it will be beneficial for him to get into the squad for SA as the conditions will be almost-similar.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    one of the greatest decision I would say, it was really painful to see India losts its openers inside 10 overs for the last couple of years frequently both Shewag and Gambhir never looked like they belong to the highest level. So I would say dropping Shewag forever will auger well for India. We may consider Gambhir once he proves himself in domestic circuit.

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | March 8, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    It is funny seeing stupid comments still supporting that Sehwag should be moved to lower order. Apart from the string of low scores, just few days back he was out "c Clarke b Lyon" in the 1st test against Aus. That was a non-spinner which sehwag COULD NOT READ. Then in the 2nd test "c Wade b Siddle" just pretty ordinary medium pace short ball the kinds of balls which Pujara kept pulling for runs, which Sehwag COULD JUST NOT SEE. The same conditions where Vijay and Pujara played for 1.2 days !! And Sehwag is going to succeed if moved to middle order? Will Nathan & Siddle bowl even slower just because Sehwag comes lower down the order?? And what about the simple catches dropped at slips? Will that change if Sehwag comes in middle order? Whats wrong with people?

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | March 8, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    sehwag gave it all when he played. What he got in return ? Nothing. I am seeing too much negative comment for great player who gave everything for winning the game. Yes he has flaws.I like him to correct his flaws. He is not perfect. I think people have short memory. You also have to talk well as much you play. More problem created by sehwag because he do not talk well . His caustic approach costed his place in the team. It is not dhoni is any better , its is just that dhoni is more clever. He able to use his skills to get what he wants. Sehwag able to use his skill for nothing. He made people happy. Poor man king. Hahaha

  • POSTED BY righthandbat on | March 7, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    A good choice by India. Jaffer can be given his opportunity now that he deserves.

  • POSTED BY vamsikirannl on | March 7, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    Did some one (like Dhoni or selectors )ask Sehwag to not to perform ? Or Did someone say that this is the end of career for Sehwag ? Is it first time Sehwag loosing his position in the team ? Did he not gain his position back in the team ever after loosing it ? I don't know why everyone is saying its Dhoni or Selector's favoritism ? let sehwag go back and prove his ability and come back into the team strongly. There could be politics everywhere, but here it is purely becoz, he didn't perform.

  • POSTED BY Rumy1 on | March 7, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    In any case, Vijay, Dhawan, Gambhir, Jadeja and Ishant are unlikely to figure in Test XI in South Africa. So why not use these two Tests to plug in the gaps in Team's strengths and weaknesses. We expect to get different results by doing more of the same thing again and again. This tendency will have to go and we will have to learn from our past mistakes and from others as well.

  • POSTED BY Rumy1 on | March 7, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    I don't agree Sharda that Sehwag is unlikely to make a comeback.He is too good a player for not being able to do so - especially when we look at reserve pool (minus Jaffer).However,it is good he has been dropped as he was not performing and it allows him sometime to reflect on what he wants to do next.If he thinks he still has a few years of international cricket left in him then he needs to go back to nets and iron out his problems and get some domestic cricket to see if things have gotten better or not.SA tour is good 8-9 months away,so he has time.If he thinks it's time to go easy on body then he should retire and devote his time/focus on shorter versions, his academy, etc.Personally I think he still has a couple of years of international cricket left provided he is willing to work hard,shed some kilos,improve his focus, footwork and fitness.Jaffer with his skills,solidity,experience would have been an ideal replacement at the top more so when Team has 4 Test series on foreign soil

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 7, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Agree with @rajattiwaari - This selection committee has finally shown a backbone. But same yardstick must be applied to other players. Please drop Tendulkar, Ishant, and Bhajji. They are totally useless players.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 7, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    You ask for reasoning & thought process of the Selection Panel & rationale behind Sehwag's omission. If anybody can explain the thought process in selection of the squad , he can easily explain the omission of Sehwag. I have asked many times-What is the criteria for Selection of each player in the Squad & in the XI? Looking at the squad if anyone can answer this question beyond one word "Politics", he/She would be a genius. When the best bowler in the Indian team Ojha, is dropped to make room for an " Jadeja + washed out Harbhajan" it is plain & simple politics. Indian 007 Dhoni is "licenced to bench or sack anyone"- no questions asked. If the Selection panel had any guts, they would put Dhoni on the carpet & grill him as to why Ojha was dropped in the first 2 Tests- the only Indian Bowler in Top 10 world Test rankings but cannot make Indian XI. Dropping Ojha on his home ground was = dropping Pujara at Rajkot, in ODI vs. England - An insult. Reasoning & Rationale are banned words!

  • POSTED BY nyc_missile on | March 7, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Dhoni is on his way to repeating history in SA.His favoritism always comes ahead of the team interests,shown by his selecting useless flat-track players or NPA's like Vijay,Jadeja,Bhaji & Ishant who will struggle in SA if taken there.Instead of treating Sehwag with the respect he deserved and play him in MO where he was most likely to make an impact,MSD has for now removed all his threats.Remember it was Gambhir along with Sachin performed in SA 2011. Dhoni's atrocious field placings meant we could not win the series.

    Schemer Dhoni must realize that his selfish game can't go on for long and his moves will boomerang after a few home wins against average oppn.Also wouldn't consider Mohali a spin track in any way.Even if doctored,pitch may at best be a dead batting track where quality pacers will make a difference..As it is,I have no hope under Dhoni in SA.Unless Tiwary,Rayudu,Rahane,Unmukt,Pujara & Kohli,all terrific players of fast bowling are part of the squad under a diff captain.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 7, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    The Selectors have a duty to select the best availbale squad for the current series + look ahead to the next series. It looks like the Selectors are brain-drained because they have chosen the same squad, minus Sehwag. Dhoni is equally brain-drained because he chose the same XI for the first 2 tests.I begin to wonder whether the 2 Victories against the Aussies has given the Selectors so much confidence that they need not think beyond present. By this assumption, we might see an unchanged squad for SA too! I remember that when India toured SA last time Sehwag was either dropped or sent home. He worked hard & came back so strongly that he became the most fearsome opener for any seamer to bowl at. He scored lot of runs till 2 years back when he suddenly lost his way. I think the present squad has at least 3 guys who should not be in. The Selectors should have replaced them instead of dragging their heels.Dhoni's "favourites" need to be removed from the squad if only to get Ojha in the XI.

  • POSTED BY engrossed on | March 7, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    With Sehwag gone, his brand of cricket is gone...there have been, and will be, more reliable openers in test cricket, but his brand of cricket was what I will miss the most. he has give utmost joy beyond imagination. thanks Viru.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 7, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    Sharda, you say that the Selectors are treading on a straight and narrow directive of "Youth Policy". If that is the case why is Harbhajan, with poor performance record, at 32, in the XI ? He nosed Ojha (at 26 ) out of XI, despite Ojha being the leading wicket taker vs. England + only Indian bowler amongst World's top 10 Test bowlers for 2012? Even Vijay & Dinda are both nearly 29. To be Frank & Honest, the Selectors do not have ANY Selection Criteria. I find the Squad selection Bizzare+ XI selection irrational. If Selectors were serious about finding a good opening batsmen, they MUST first establish criteria: Sound defence, Correct footwork, Patience & Not fishing for the balls outside the off stump. Search & select FIT players who meet this criteria . India badly needs them. Jaffer will come at the top of the list. Mukund, J.Singh, U.Chand, Vijay & Dhawan need to be evaluated. Similar criteria for all other positions are needed. A team selected using such criteria will be WINNERS!

  • POSTED BY Jose on | March 7, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    This looks like a Dhoni's master stroke to Sehwag. All of a sudden, Dhoni made a double-century to cement his place in Tests for next 3-4 years, otherwise he is good for nothing in Tests. Fortunately, ordinary Vijay clicked in 2nd test. All Dhoni has to do is to request selection team to drop out-of-form Sehwag.

    Sehwag should curse himself also. What has gotten into his mind? If he plays poor just to show his hatred towards Dhoni, this is what gonna happen. Only way he & Gambhir can come back is India has to lose next 2 matches. However, the way Australia handling India's mediocre spin, difficult times ahead for Australia.

  • POSTED BY couchpundit on | March 7, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    Sharada Ugra...when do you think selectors will get the timing right on dropping Tendulkar....who is neither getting younger nor scoring runs and still preventing sehwag from playing in middle order.

  • POSTED BY IndiaNumeroUno on | March 7, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    Good article apart from the last paragraph which sounds more like a journo's sour grape hunt. I'm an Indian cricket fan and I heard the news that Sehwag has been dropped.. that's all I want to hear really... fully understand why he might have been dropped. Do I want to know in the next five minutes on who will replace him? No.. not really.. in fact I'll be more excited to wait and see/hear on the day of the next match. So.. you as a journo might be getting irritated by not having been fed any inside info from BCCI, but myself as a fan am quite happy and so are all of my friends. I also despise "twitter" and "facebook" and feel any organisation of reputation (and even its employees!) should not use these for official purposes.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    I would rather have seen Sehwag dropped down to the middle order instead of dropped altogether.

  • POSTED BY NairUSA on | March 7, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    Reliable and solid openers will tell you if a team is successful or a mediocre one. Recently, team India had survived the lack of form of Gambhir and Sehwag because the middle order and lower middle had picked up the burden consistently. This will not work overseas where top order failures translate to a domino effect and we will end up seeing tail enders at the batting crease even before the ball has lost its shine.

    Selectors has taken the correct approach in grooming a new set of openers, whomsoever they might be to make the Indian batting mighty again. It might take a few cycles to get the right combination. However, the end result will be gratifying. As for Gambhir and Sehwag, they had provided a standard worth emulating and had shown to the world of cricket why India is a dominant batting super power. Hats off to them and welcome the new generation of openers.

  • POSTED BY arun_padmanabhan on | March 7, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    Murali Vijay has to thank destiny for the accolades he receiving today. I agree he has the skill-set, but his temperament was always in question. In this context , i believe one ball has made a huge difference to , possibly , his career. One of the Aussie quicks bowled a short and wide ball early on the 3rd day. An indecisive dab form Vijay and the pace and height took the ball above the gully fielder. He didnt touch another wide ball for a long long time in that innings!! If only he was caught , just imagine the current scenario - result might have changed , Vijay might have been dropped and hence Viru would have been safe!

  • POSTED BY flavamonkey on | March 7, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Given that there are no test matches in the summer, Sehwag and other Indian players (batsmen, especially) should play for an English County. They should then go to South Africa several weeks early and practice in those conditions. Otherwise, India is going to fail miserably in South Africa. Not being able to play in overseas conditions is a pathetic excuse for extremely well-paid international sportsmen.

  • POSTED BY the_blue_android on | March 7, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Everyone saying how Sehwag 'deflates' the opposition etc. How many times has he done outside the sub-continental flat tracks? 2 times....once in SA, once in Aus. Rest of his overseas career is probably 60-70 failures. Sehwag will do nothing in the middle order. Let's stop pretending that he is a certain Adam Gilchrist.

  • POSTED BY anuajm on | March 7, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Sehwag has been rightfully dropped, but it would have been great to test him in the middle order and the best time would have been the start of this series. I though believe that the break might help him to concentrate on his career and get back to the team in the SA tour probably at 6. Jadeja might not be suitable for that position in SA. Sehwag failure to adapt to the situation after losing form, arrogant attitude like Gambhir, lost fitness and careless attitude (he needed a surgery but continued playing for DD in IPL till the time DD was finally out of the SF race) hurt him and the next 6 odd months might help him to reflect back and come as an improved cricketer like he did last time. There is not harm in sometimes changing your natural game when it stops working for you and modifying a bit to suit the newer demands. If Sehwag can do that, all us fans might be treated to another 2-3 years of amazing cricket.

  • POSTED BY ultimatewarrior on | March 7, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Very well analyzed Sharda....Except 1st match 100 in S Africa and a comeback 100 in Australia Sehwag looked completely out of sorts on fast pitches outside Asia more in test matches and a little bit in ODI...so it was very natural that he should be dropped as well as it is also very true that he had been given more than enough chances....But when we think about his substitute we should never try M Vijay who is having similar records alien conditions....

  • POSTED BY anuajm on | March 7, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Whether Sehwag is able to come back to the team or not, he definitely remains one of the greats to play for India in test cricket. An average of 50 along with a strike rate of 80 consistently across 100 test matches, against top bowlers, deflating the confidence of the best of best is something which only Sehwag could do. Sehwag is the sole reason for India winning so many test matches in the 2000's. Some may call him a flat track bully, but is there any example of cricketers scoring triple centuries at more than 100 strike rate we have? No. The man deserves his due. But he has missed out on an opportunity to be part of the greatest courtesy his failure to adapt and modify his game when he 'consistently' started failing specially in overseas conditions. I would have loved Sehwag to bite his time in Australia and grind out some when he usual method did not yield him runs for a prolonged period. Can he have a second wind like the last time? I can just hope. Sehwag will remain a hero!!

  • POSTED BY ac_Indian on | March 7, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    I don't understand the logic of dropping him altogether from the side if no replacement was to be made. The management could have simply chosen dhawan/rahane to open in mohali with sehwag not playing the game. Wouldn't that be the logical thing to do if they didn't want to play sehwag and didn't want a replacement in the side. I really don't think that dropping someone for "signaling" something is a good idea

  • POSTED BY Unmesh_cric on | March 7, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Okay..Sehwag hasn't performed well in recent times and has been dropped. Fair enough. However, when discussing the possible option of Sehwag at No.6, Sharda Ugra refers to him as a "pinch-hitter". I am utterly disappointed by this choice of words regarding Sehwag. Pinch-hitter is a word used for much lesser batsmen. Sehwag is a batsman with a Test average of close to 50. He is an attacking batsman, but that does not mean he is a "pinch-hitter". When somebody is down, he is an easy target for the media and this is a classic example of that. I understand the point Sharda is trying to make by comparing Laxman and Sehwag in the middle order. But couldn't she come up with a better choice words to describe Sehwag? Disappointing!

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    With only one Century that to against Bangladesh I feel Tendulkar is still riding on his fame. Compare to that Sehwag still have 219 in ODI and 100 against Eng. I am not favoring Sehwag but how long we should go with Tendulkar. Ideally both Dhawan and Rahane (middle order) should be given chance. We all talk about experience but everybody forgot that without experience Gangugly, Sehwag made 100 on debut and Dravid 96. Tendulkar we all know got top centuries in Eng and Aus before he was 18. We need to try youth every where. No matter greentop. No matter Steyn, Morkel, Anderson. If Sachin, Dravid, Sehwag, Ganguly can perform against Donald, Pollock, McGrath, Gough, Maclom, De Villers, etc then others can also do it.. its matter of trying them

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | March 7, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    Well said, Sharda. The BCCI badly needs a PR makeover, and thank you for highlighting again how they take us fans for granted.

  • POSTED BY A.Ak on | March 7, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    The waiting game went wrong only for Badri, he waited for 4 years, from his late 20's till early 30's then he was dropped because of his age. Rahane is very young. No need to worry about him.

  • POSTED BY Jaissy on | March 7, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    team india must find a opener who can play the swing bowl well.first two days in mohali and delhi will get them the feel of south africa.

  • POSTED BY rajattiwaari on | March 7, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    This selection committee is brave. But same yardstick must be applied to all players.

  • POSTED BY RKEY on | March 7, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    For a board that is extremely 21st century in the protection of its commercial interests, its communication with those that are responsible for the generation of that commerce - the public, the Indian team's fans - belongs to the age when pigeons carried messages and telephones had not been invented......... hilarious

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | March 7, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Well said Sharda. You have hit the nail when it comes to Indian Board and its communication skills. That is what monopoly does it you....

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | March 7, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Well said Sharda. You have hit the nail when it comes to Indian Board and its communication skills. That is what monopoly does it you....

  • POSTED BY RKEY on | March 7, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    For a board that is extremely 21st century in the protection of its commercial interests, its communication with those that are responsible for the generation of that commerce - the public, the Indian team's fans - belongs to the age when pigeons carried messages and telephones had not been invented......... hilarious

  • POSTED BY rajattiwaari on | March 7, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    This selection committee is brave. But same yardstick must be applied to all players.

  • POSTED BY Jaissy on | March 7, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    team india must find a opener who can play the swing bowl well.first two days in mohali and delhi will get them the feel of south africa.

  • POSTED BY A.Ak on | March 7, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    The waiting game went wrong only for Badri, he waited for 4 years, from his late 20's till early 30's then he was dropped because of his age. Rahane is very young. No need to worry about him.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | March 7, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    Well said, Sharda. The BCCI badly needs a PR makeover, and thank you for highlighting again how they take us fans for granted.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    With only one Century that to against Bangladesh I feel Tendulkar is still riding on his fame. Compare to that Sehwag still have 219 in ODI and 100 against Eng. I am not favoring Sehwag but how long we should go with Tendulkar. Ideally both Dhawan and Rahane (middle order) should be given chance. We all talk about experience but everybody forgot that without experience Gangugly, Sehwag made 100 on debut and Dravid 96. Tendulkar we all know got top centuries in Eng and Aus before he was 18. We need to try youth every where. No matter greentop. No matter Steyn, Morkel, Anderson. If Sachin, Dravid, Sehwag, Ganguly can perform against Donald, Pollock, McGrath, Gough, Maclom, De Villers, etc then others can also do it.. its matter of trying them

  • POSTED BY Unmesh_cric on | March 7, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Okay..Sehwag hasn't performed well in recent times and has been dropped. Fair enough. However, when discussing the possible option of Sehwag at No.6, Sharda Ugra refers to him as a "pinch-hitter". I am utterly disappointed by this choice of words regarding Sehwag. Pinch-hitter is a word used for much lesser batsmen. Sehwag is a batsman with a Test average of close to 50. He is an attacking batsman, but that does not mean he is a "pinch-hitter". When somebody is down, he is an easy target for the media and this is a classic example of that. I understand the point Sharda is trying to make by comparing Laxman and Sehwag in the middle order. But couldn't she come up with a better choice words to describe Sehwag? Disappointing!

  • POSTED BY ac_Indian on | March 7, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    I don't understand the logic of dropping him altogether from the side if no replacement was to be made. The management could have simply chosen dhawan/rahane to open in mohali with sehwag not playing the game. Wouldn't that be the logical thing to do if they didn't want to play sehwag and didn't want a replacement in the side. I really don't think that dropping someone for "signaling" something is a good idea

  • POSTED BY anuajm on | March 7, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Whether Sehwag is able to come back to the team or not, he definitely remains one of the greats to play for India in test cricket. An average of 50 along with a strike rate of 80 consistently across 100 test matches, against top bowlers, deflating the confidence of the best of best is something which only Sehwag could do. Sehwag is the sole reason for India winning so many test matches in the 2000's. Some may call him a flat track bully, but is there any example of cricketers scoring triple centuries at more than 100 strike rate we have? No. The man deserves his due. But he has missed out on an opportunity to be part of the greatest courtesy his failure to adapt and modify his game when he 'consistently' started failing specially in overseas conditions. I would have loved Sehwag to bite his time in Australia and grind out some when he usual method did not yield him runs for a prolonged period. Can he have a second wind like the last time? I can just hope. Sehwag will remain a hero!!