Pakistan in India, 2007-08 October 27, 2007

Sehwag replaces Dravid for first two one-dayers

Cricinfo staff

Rahul Dravid will miss the first two one-dayers against Pakistan © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid and Dinesh Karthik have been left out of the Indian squad for the first two one-dayers against Pakistan. Virender Sehwag makes a comeback, as does Gautam Gambhir, who recently recovered from a groin strain, while Uttar Pradesh allrounder Praveen Kumar is the only new face. The series kicks off on November 5, with the first ODI in Guwahati.

Niranjan Shah, the BCCI sercretary, annoucing the squad and said the 15 were picked in consultation with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, who couldn't be present at the selection committee meeting, which took place at Motera in Ahmedabad where the Challenger Trophy is being played.

Dravid missed out on the final one-dayer against Australia in Mumbai recently and there has been speculation about his spot being under threat. Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of the selection committee, said Dravid was "rested". "We decided to give him a break. He's a great player and he will be back soon." Vengsarkar insisted the squad had been only been picked for the first two ODIs, thereby clarifying that Dravid would be considered for the matches ahead.

But Vengsarkar said Dravid, whose position has become uncertain for the first time in a decade, needs to prove his form and fitness. "Fitness and fielding have become very important in the one-day game so he will have to show it playing for his state [Karnataka].

Karthik, despite his fine Test form, has struggled in his last ten one-dayers, averaging 19.33 with a highest score of 44 not out. He replaced Dravid for the final ODI against Australia in Mumbai but ended the game with a duck.

Sehwag returns to the squad after a five-month break. He cracked a fiery 75 in the Challenger Trophy match today and played a part in India's recent triumph in the ICC World Twenty20. "He has been among runs recently and even today he showed he was in good form," Vengsarkar said. The squad now has five openers, including Gambhir, taking his spot ahead of S Badrinath, who had replaced him for the final leg of the Australia series Vengsarkar did not say what position Sehwag would bat at.

Kumar has been one of the most consistent bowling allrounders in the domestic circuit in the past few years. He ended with 30 wickets in seven Ranji Trophy games last season, which placed him eighth on the run-charts, and backed it up with some handy cameos as well. "Kumar gives us an [all-round] option. He has also played a crucial role for India A recently. Badrinath was brought in for Gambhir earlier, but he'll get his chances, too," Vengsarkar said.

Kumar was picked for the allrounder's slot ahead of Joginder Sharma, who was part of India's winning team at the ICC World Twenty20. Vengsarkar said Kumar was preferred considering current form.

Squad for first two one-dayers Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik.

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  • Senthil on October 29, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    Team members will be selected on the basis of form and fitness, purely on merit says Vengsarkar. Does that mean that you will pick 15 batsmen in the team if they all have better form and fitness? Bowlers have to bowl. Keeper needs to keep wickets. Openers have to open the innings. Middle order batsmen have an important role to play. It is a specialist job too.

    Looks like the selectors feel Gambhir and Uthappa are in better form and fitness than Badri, Raina, Tiwari, and Kartik so they pick them ahead to play in the middle than the specialist middle order players.

    Let's say after 2-3 years both Sachin and Saurav retire. Who will open then? Uthappa and Gambhir shift from middle order to open? If yes then who will play in the middle order? New guys? Come one you don't want to be doing all this when you have the option of planning long term now.

    Let Gambhir and Sachin be pair 1 and Ganguly and Uthappa be pair 2. Rotate the pairs for each series or in the middle of a series.

  • anupam on October 29, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    What an insane decision by our great selectors. The guy who is most consistent, reliable, dependable and best performer out side sub continent from last 10 years has been droped because he didn't perform in just 4 ODI's. And he was replaced by a guy who didn't perform for more than a year whether its international or domestic games. Even if selectors wanted to "REST" Dravid he should ideally be replaced by a middle order batsman not by another opening batsman. Selecton of Sehwag is on basis of his performance in the challenger cup where he scored 75, 9 & 1, isn't that a great criteria of selection... Playes who scored 92, 64 & 50 (Raina), 82 & 55 (Badrinath) finally, 65 & 116 (Karthik) in middle order and better fielders then Sehwag missed out on selection, again what a great example of great selction...Finally, if our selectors talking about building a young team so I just want to remind them that Sehawag is 29 where as Badrinath, Karthik and Raina are 27, 22 & 20 respectively.

  • Sandeep on October 29, 2007, 8:15 GMT

    I do agree with this decision.We all know that Rahul Dravid is a proven candidate and Resting him for 2/3 games hardly makes any difference for him and secondly in recently concluded series against Autralia he hardly scored any runs,so this break will also give him an opportunity to analyze his own game.I am sure he will be included in the team for rest of matches by resting either Ganguly or Tendulkar.This is the right time to have rotation policy in place considering the huge amount of cricket ahead.

  • Arun on October 29, 2007, 6:30 GMT

    Vengsarkar has been a bundle of contradictions. He is not clear on how to handle the seniors in the side. It is very unfortunate that he is playing with the career of Dravid. Sachin and Dravid are both classy players which any side would be proud to have in its ranks. To bracket them along with Saurav is a sin. To include Saurav when the team management has raised doubts about his commitments time and again is a mockery of the process. Badrinath should have found a place in the last onedayer ahead of Dinesh Karthik. It would have been ideal to have assessed the potential of the youngster in the match at Mumbai against Australia. To dump him without trial is not going to any good to the confidence of Badrinath who has spent enough time outside the international scene. Hope Vengsarkar is more consistent in his approach.

  • pardeep on October 29, 2007, 6:26 GMT

    according to me reshuffling in indian cricket team is must . in past few years very can see the diffrence in performence of player after dropping for some time eg. Mr Saurav Ganguly. NO doubt he is very very good performer but after a fixed position in team may cause decrease in performence. Same thing is with Mr Rahul Dravid he thinks indian team cannot win without me.So I think Indian team managemenmt taken avery good decision to keep Rahul out of team for some time.It will definately increase the performence level of Mr. Rahul.I Appriciate these type of decision . WE HAVE TO TELL ANYBODY INDIA(NATION WITH MORE THAN 100 CRORE PEOPLE) IS NOT DEPENDENT ON ANYBODY. YOU HAVE TO PERFORME WELL EVERYTIME IF YOU WANT PLACE IN INDIAN TEAM. OTHERWISE YOU WILL BE THROWN OUT MANY YOUNG PLAYERS ARE LOOKING TO GET PLACE IN TEAM. INDIA HAVE MORE TALENT THAN AUSTRALIA OR NEW ZEELAND BUT DESERVING CANDIDATES ARE NOT GETTING THEIR PLACE WHERE THEY REQUIRED CHAKDEY INDIA

  • Rajendran on October 29, 2007, 5:26 GMT

    Vengsarkar seems biased against Dravid. Dravid too showed a bit of hi' headedness by throwing away captaincy in a totally "un Indian way" without taking anyone into confidence. Both these contributed to a team weaker by a whisker, thats all. But it is felt that Dravid should've been there. There was a wall to be comfortable in the mindset of every Indian cricket lover.

  • Paritosh on October 29, 2007, 4:16 GMT

    I've always been a RD fan. But on this issue I have to agree with the selectors. True, Dravid should have been given a longer rope and if fitness was the reason he faced the axe, several heads need to go down before Dravids. But lets just what consider happens if we include Dravid in the 16 (in addition to the chosen 15). The playing 11 would have 6 batsmen with pathan and 4 other bowlers. Of this 6, sachin, ganguly, dravid need to play, and Dhoni and Yuvraj being the captain and the v-c select themselves. The last batting spot sees Sehwag, Gambhir, Uthappa and Rohit sharma as possible candidates. Of these, Sehwag is a senior player sporting a comeback and would probably get the nod. Now what do you say to Gambhir and Uthappa, who have been scoring at even given opportunity and bring lot of agility and youth to the team that lacks it. What do u do about building the team for the future when all the young players are just carrying drinks ? Not when dravid is not scoring any runs. NO !

  • shankar on October 29, 2007, 0:55 GMT

    selection of Sehwag who made the only one good score and that too against a weak bowling attack ahead of the consistent Badrinath and Karthik doesn't seem to be fair. He has a known weakness against rising delivery just outside the off stump and is almost certain to fail against Pakisthan.

  • Hari on October 28, 2007, 21:46 GMT

    I am not sure about the rationale behind dropping Dravid which I can never conclude from the 'politically correct' words of Vengsarkar- but if this decision is part of a rotation strategy to accommodate young players in the team, it is great. This also means, they should drop(can I say rest) Sachin for 3rd, 4th matches and Ganguly in next match. But in other case, if he is dropped because it is easy to drop him- then I would express same sympathy. I think, Dravid is the real team player of this decade. Never hesitated to play at any positions even down the order where you have less scope of scoring huge unlike others who insist on opening the innings etc.

    If the later is the reason behind dropping Dravid, then what signal we are sending to the next generation? Play for team? Or make your 50 runs, forget about team? This is what some players at the top has been doing for long.

    With this system we will be able to produce more and more Sachin's but not an Australian team!

  • Shanthan on October 28, 2007, 21:30 GMT

    Shudn't hav dropped Dravid. One thing I can say is r the selectors trying to break "THE WALL"?? Its not fair that he'z been dropped jus 4r failing in one series. He needed sum time to get in ,especially, aftr giving up captaincy. Moreover wid long tour to Aus cumin up, I think Pak series is the best oppurtunity for Dravid to get settled. To be more specific Dravid's record agaist Pak are very gud. They shud hav given him chance to settle in. Hope that Dravid will be selected 4r atleast the last three one dayers. There is noway that India is gonna play Aussies widout him. Wen he is in desperate need of sum confidence, to say the least, the selectors hav wasted his precious time of "2ODis". He must be selected for the last 3 ODIs. He need prove himself ofcourse.

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