India news January 8, 2014

Gavaskar says Yuvraj and Sehwag down but not out

ESPNcricinfo staff

Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh have had difficult domestic seasons after being sidelined from the national team, and with the flourishing of a younger bunch of batsmen, their international future looks shaky. Sunil Gavaskar, though, has said both can still force their way back into the Indian team.

In his bid to return, Sehwag has shifted down to the middle order - where he began his career - after a profitable decade as opener. The results, though, have been poor: his fast-bowling team-mate Ashish Nehra has similar batting statistics over the Ranji season.

Yuvraj has been through similarly wretched form, troubled by the pace of Mitchell Johnson during the home ODI series against Australia last year, before extending his lean run in the matches against West Indies and South Africa. The runs haven't returned in three Ranji matches since either.

"(In) Cricket, nothing is impossible," Gavaskar said during the Ranji quarterfinal in Mumbai. "You have one good season, one outstanding season, you can come back. It is up to Yuvraj to show that he has got the burning desire for it. I think he has. And he has just had a bad season. Hopefully he could come back because he adds so much to the Indian team because he is still a top fielder and his spinners does help pick wickets.

"Sehwag also, nothing is impossible in cricket. It is up to these guys to come back with not just hundreds but double hundreds and stuff like that."

Gavaskar, India's greatest Test opener, suggested Sehwag, India's best Test opener after him, could try rediscovering his touch by moving back to the top of the order. "I think he is more happy with the ball coming on to the bat. If you have opened the batting for such a long time, it is a little bit difficult waiting in the dressing room, waiting for your turn to go to bat. The best move for him would be to go back to opening. The new ball will come on to the bat, he can try and score off it. The other thing is that clever captains will confront him with spin straightaway."

One of the seniors who has made a comeback after a year out of the Indian team is Zaheer Khan. The national selection chief, Sandeep Patil, was watching the Ranji quarterfinals in Mumbai, possibly to track Zaheer's progress. None of the members of the Indian squad whose teams are in the quarterfinals is playing: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny and Mohammed Shami are set to leave for New Zealand on the final day of the match. Gavaskar echoed Rahul Dravid's views that the six players could have played the Ranji knockout match.

"It would have been fantastic to have the guys play in the quarter-finals," Gavaskar said. "If they could have played and left the day the quarter-final finishes, for example the team is leaving on 11th night/12th morning the three-four players could have left on 12th night/13th morning because the first match is on the 19th. I know you lose a day going into New Zealand but it would have still given them enough time.

"This is India's No. 1 tournament. The more competitive it is, the higher the standard and the better the feedback for the selection committee to be able to see when the teams are playing the best and against the best, it is always a good indication for the selectors."

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  • KIRTIKUMAR on January 13, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    I agree with Gavaskar. Sehwag should open the innings. He is the best opener India had after Gavaskar. I still think if Sehwag does well in opening the innings, he can change the course of any match. He is an attacking batsman and he should be allowed to play his natural game. I sincerely hope Sehwag would find a place in the national team and will bring laurels to the country. There is still much cricket left in Sehwag and he should prove it to the country. Only he can do it.

  • uncle bob on January 9, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    Gavaskar was trying to give some hope to Viru and Yuvi. But its up to these two players to correct their weaknesses and bounce back. I am a Yuvraj fan but the way he was facing Johnson on the pitches in India doesn't bode well for him. He will have to really play hard to get in the team. Youngsters have almost cemented their place in the team. And they are good too. They did good job in SA against Steyn and Co.

  • Akshay on January 9, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    I feel virender sehwag and Yuvraj Singh should focus on test cricket and One day cricket respectively because both have excelled in their respective formats.. I feel virender sehwag should concentrate being an opener even as far as domestic cricket is concerned. Because our opening combo is still not that solid But for sehwag to excel I feel he should be more responsible in his temperament and not play every ball for a six. He should moderate it a bit and play more responsibly. For Yuvraj it astonishes me that how such a great talent has never been able to excel in tests. But never the less I think he has a lot to offer in limited overs cricket because after all his performance helped us to win the T20 and ODI world cup. So I feel he should try to pave his way in the T20 and ODI side and also enhance his bowling to strengthen his chances

  • Naresh on January 9, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    Batting TALENT in India is plentyful. I think our batsman are nurtured on easy wickets and that is good. What is lacking in team India is a good bowling attack. Right now they are slow, cannot plan dismissals, not capable of taking 20 wkts, etc. If one was to analyse high scores scored against teams - it would show India's bowling is off the mark. BCCI needs to have special grassy pitches which aid pace, encourages pace bowling and used to gauge which bowlers are which. The emphasis should shift to bowling!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    This topic itself is very unnecessary, Everyone one knows the capability of viru and yuvi and their era is almost done due to newcomers performing unbelievable. If we have to keeping goals in mind that's next world cup imagine sehwag decides to quit and retire after average performances just before world cup??? Anything can happen but we really need to look after young talents ahead of hoping senior players to perform

  • current on January 9, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    By saying this, Mr. Gavaskar has accepted that he does not have any say in BCCI matters (and he will never be in the selection committee) :-)

    To all the people saying "Move Forward" - you cannot move forward with all 11 players being in-experienced. There needs to be some staggering so that the new players can be groomed by the seniors. Dhoni is the only senior and he is so busy. And he cannot guide people in either batting or bowling.

    Fortunately, with Pujara and Kohli, the batting department is coping well. Still, people like Vijay and Rahane could use some guidance and so would Jadeja the batsman (he can be much better than his scores in test cricket).

    It's the bowling that is leaderless and has no experienced senior. Zaheer could have been that person, but he is a fast bowler and in his current state, cannot bowl for 5 days. So we need someone like Harbhajan, who is senior enough, yet he can be selected on merit and can last a test.

  • santhosh on January 9, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    We have some new promising talents like Pujara and Rahane...I dont think Dhawan is a test material or for that matter i think he is another flat track bully like Raina and Rohit Sharma...We should find a solid Opening batsmen in test matches and bowlers who can bowl consistently above 140 and can swing both ways...and its time we look beyond Ashwin who is a passenger in this team when we play abroad....Ojha and Mishra should be given more chances...Y dont anybody speak abt our bowlers its always about batsmen...

  • Ravi on January 9, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    people will say young side i agree that present team is good to play in only indian batting pitches.. they showned in SA tour..atleast for test matches they should give a opportunities to viru..gambir..zak..harbhajan..some seniority is needed in overseas always young stars can't handle the pressure..selectors should keep this in mind..

  • santhosh on January 9, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    Is this guy Insane?? Because of guys like him the youngsters with real talents are not able to make it to the Indian team and Ind still not able to build a quality team which can win in abroad...If these guys were in the playing 11 in SA..Ind would not have reached 150...We respect these players but we also have to accept that they are past their expiry date.. and its time to build a team for the future...what we need right now is a pool of good seam and spin bowlers who are capable of taking 20 wickets anywhere...

  • Shiv on January 9, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Yuvi and Viru have been great, both match winners who could singlehandedly win matches and contributed immensely to Indian cricket in their own right, and deserve a lot of respect. But it's time to move forward.

    Batting is not at all India's problem. There is enough talent in batting and even the bench is strong enough to challenge any intl side. The issue is with fast bowling. Mr. Gavaskar, pls tell us if Srinath, Kapil etc can make a comeback.

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