India news October 25, 2013

Sehwag, Zaheer a must in Tests - Ganguly

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, believes Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag should be handed Test comebacks, given the overseas challenges India have lined up next year. He also backed Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina for the No. 4 and No. 6 spots in the line-up.

"They [Sehwag and Zaheer] must immediately be brought back into the Test side," Ganguly told the Indian Express. "Don't forget India will be playing 13 Tests overseas in the next one year or so. You need players with pedigree and experience in those conditions. And Sehwag and Zaheer have those qualities.

"Zaheer still is the best pace bowler India have. He can do so many things with the ball. I assure you that both Sehwag and Zaheer are not yet finished."

Following a prolonged slump, Zaheer was dropped from the Test side late last year, and Sehwag last played a Test in March. They were ignored in subsequent A squads, but got call-ups for the West Indies A series that led into the new domestic season. While Zaheer seemed to get back in rhythm the more he bowled against West Indies A, picking up seven wickets in four innings, Sehwag failed to register any score of note. However, that should not be held against Sehwag, Ganguly said: "A player of Sehwag's class shouldn't be judged on his performance in domestic cricket and List A games. He should be judged by his Test record."

Following the West Indies Tests at home, India have two matches in South Africa, two in New Zealand and five in England already scheduled until next August. And with Tendulkar set to retire against West Indies, the No. 4 slot in the Test line-up will be left vacant for the first time in years. The No. 6 slot, which Ganguly vacated in 2008, is also yet to be permanently filled, with none of the younger players impressing sufficiently. Ganguly said Rohit, who has played over 100 ODIs but has underachieved, is the best man for No. 4. He has a remarkable first-class average of 60.78 in 58 games, but is yet to make his Test debut. Raina, meanwhile, could slot in at No. 6, Ganguly said.

"Yes, a couple of places would be up for grabs, No. 4 and No. 6. You need a specialist batsman at No.6 in overseas conditions. And my choices are Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina respectively. They have the game and are the best options available."

Bengal pacer Mohammed Shami, who had troubled Australia with pace and bounce in the Ranchi ODI on Wednesday and whom Ganguly had captained in domestic games, is also ready for Test cricket, he said. "Not only limited-overs cricket, Shami is ready for Tests as well. He should be there in the Test side. He has got the pace, has the ability to move the ball, can bowl yorkers and has a deceptive bouncer that troubles batsmen."

There is no doubt about Yuvraj Singh's place in the one-day side, leading up to the 2015 World Cup, he said. "India need Yuvraj in the next World Cup. He's a match-winner, so don't write him off after just a couple of failures [in the Australia ODIs]. He got two good deliveries. Yuvraj must be persisted with."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shreyas s on October 31, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Sourav dada, i agree your words respecting you as you are one of the most successful and experienced cricketer in world cricket.I agree your choice of adding virender sehwag. in the playing XI. in my opinion, he is the most dangerous player and experienced in world cricket. For the upcoming south africa vs india tour, after sachin retires viru should be fixed at no.4. the team should be like this- 1.Shikhar Dhawan 2.Murali Vijay 3.Cheteshwar Pujara 4.Virender Sehwag (current position of sachin) 5.Virat Kohli 6.MS Dhoni (captain) 7.Ravichandran Ashwin (as we know that he can bat, he has a century and 3 half centuries in test cricket and Jadeja is not in form for batting currently) 8.Ravindra Jadeja 9.Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10.Pragyan Ojha 11.Umesh Yadav.

  • Suren on October 28, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    Respect Dada ... But as far as Sehwag is concerned we should look into the future ... Zak is super Fit and in form again .. so easily walks into the playing XI .. and and here is my 15 for next year. 1) Dhawan 2) Ajinkya Rahane 3) Pujara 4) Rohit 5) Kohli 6) MS Dhoni 7) Baba Aparajit ---- look at his stats & form since his Debut ... Amazing talent 8) Sir Jadeja 9) Zaheer 10) Bhuvi 11) Umesh Yadav 12) Ishwar Pandey 13) Varun Aaron 14) R.Ashwin 15) Shami Ahmed

  • Arup on October 28, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    I've always been a Ganguly fan, but I must say I don't fully agree with him here. I know he is a massive fan of Sehwag, but as great a batsman he may have been, he is no longer anywhere close to that. Dhawan is an automatic pic at the top of the order after his last test performance. Also Vijay has done no wrong as an opener, and if they were to drop him then Rahane would be the automatic second choice. Sehwag would not manage against a bowling attack of Steyn, Morkel and Philander! Zaheer, I do agree with and he is still India's best bowler without a doubt. He must prove his fitness however and alongside Yadav and Bhuvi, he will be lethal!

    The big debate is also regarding the no 4 and 6 spots. No 6 in my opinion can be Dhoni with Jadeja batting at 7 as the allrounder, but Jadeja needs to get runs behind him to cement that place. I do not think Raina should be considered. Rohit at 4 would be the obvious option and his technique should allow him to seamlessly walk into that role...

  • Venkat on October 26, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @ tanstell87 Very good question. my comment was "My guess for the overseas tests" - meaning who will be picked by the folks in charge. If I were picking for my fantasy overseas test team, it will be different. May be a pace bowler that can bat well. . . based on the Ranji Season kicking off . . . because we sorely miss an all rounder that is a pace bowler, and a faster pace bowler like V Aron or I Pandey. Our selection committee will depend on past performances as well as Ranji performances and the ODI performances to minimize the risks. They will try to include all rounders that are spinners as they have been proven performers.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    I would agree with Ganguly. Viru is one of the great Test Batsmen I have seen. He used to bring liveliness and excitement to Test Cricket. I hope he gets a chance to play for India again before he retires.

  • Anand on October 26, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Zaheer - no doubt one of the best fast bowler in our country...and can easily fit in final 11..and other two bowlers should be Bhuvi and Umesh.. Bhuvi - becoz of his ability to swing both ways, Umesh - for his pace and Zaheer - for his experience and varienty being a left hander..coming to batsman...i think Shewag has less chance of making a come back..the coming WI series is a only option af checking his fitness and ability to score...if he clicks then he can travel to SA for 6th postion...if he fails then we have lot of youngsters waiting in the wings...and coming to 4th position..KOHLI is the man and no one has outside chance...I think Rohit is best suited for TEST and he will perform better over ODIs..Rahane is another talented who deserves long line up would be as follows (after SACHIN retures) 1. Dhawan 2. Vijay/Rahane 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Rohit 6. Dhoni 7. Ashwini 8. Jadega/Ohja 9. Zaheer 10. Bhuvaneshwar 11. Umesh.. Ishanth, Tiwary, Varon can be with the squad.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    Dada is correct in backing Viru and Zak, but not sure Dhoni will be keen to have these slow coaches in the field in the team. Lets, give Viru and Zak the chance to achieve 100test milestone which they reachly deserved...

  • Bhaskar on October 26, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    Dada wants his boys to be back nothing else seems to be his logic. Sehwag & ZAK have already been his boys. Now he wants Md. Shami to be included also.

    It is time to have only good players are selected. 1. Sehwag, 2. Dhawan, 3. Pujara, 4. Kohli (when Sachin vacates he is the ideal player to fill this legendary slot), 5. Dhoni (it is time he took responsibility as a batsman & not pushing lame ducks ahead of him to avoid criticism) 6. Ravinder Jadeja (this man has few triple hundreds in domestic cricket), 7. Raina (as he is a quick hitter who can partner the tail for innings like Gilchrist, he does not need sound technique at that low in the batting order) 8. Ashwin, 9. Bhuvaneshwar, 10. Umesh Yadav & 11. Varun Aaron ( he is way better than Ishant sharma who is getting useless by the day).

    Extras: 12. Amit Mishra, 13. Yuvraj Singh. 14. Ishwar Pandey. 15. Unmukt Chand & 16. Baba Aparajith ( a good all rounder)

  • Tousif Iqbal on October 26, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Right bout Zaheer, as far as Sehwag is concerned, if we look back the recent tests India Won, its Sehwag who has given India the quick start. If one is retaining Raina in the squad then y not Sehwag. Or else we ll request Sehwag to Play his next IPL for Team Chennai.

  • madhurendra on October 26, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    how about- dhawan, pujara, zol, juneja, kohli, khan, samson, bhubneswar, kuldeep yadav, umesh yadav, ishwar pandey?

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