Harsha Bhogle
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Commentator, television presenter and writer

Is there some magic left in Sehwag yet?

If he has the will to continue, and the resolve to put in the hard yards, he might yet delight us again

Harsha Bhogle

March 8, 2013

Comments: 139 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag lets the ball go during a training session, Bangalore, August 30, 2012
Sehwag's omission is an indication that he probably won't be going to South Africa © Associated Press
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In many ways, it was inevitable, and yet it hits you like one of his many shots over the years. Looked at coldly, devoid of emotion and without looking at the past, Virender Sehwag's omission was predictable. The runs had dried up, the rope he had been given was long enough. But the realisation that the thrill you felt within as he walked out to bat will be absent creates a longing. Sehwag kept you on the edge of your seat, he made you look forward to the next moment. He was good for cricket and he was good for India, and we don't know if he will play for India again. He has been a mighty cricketer and he will stroll easily into a room reserved for the greats of Indian cricket. Without a doubt.

But hang on, is this starting to look like a retirement tribute? There is a part of me that wishes it isn't, and there is another that fears we may not see him again. There is much stacked against him. Over the next 24 months India visit South Africa, New Zealand and England, against each of whom he averages under 30, and Australia where fifteen months ago he scored 198 in eight innings. India play away more than they do at home in this period. Of not inconsiderable importance is the fact that among the youngsters tried out in recent times, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have all shown acceptable levels of promise and performance. Now Murali Vijay has got a big hundred too. The temptation to look at a younger man has been rendered stronger.

His chances of being picked for Mohali and Delhi would have resided in the hope that India's selectors wouldn't want to change a winning combination. I have heard that thought expressed many times and, quite frankly, have been baffled each time. It suggests that if the team is winning, it should be happy to carry along those that are not good enough anymore. No team should ever be picked on such a basis, for in the course of time everyone will then be entitled to be selected, even if they aren't delivering. Sehwag had to be picked based on his performance and not on that of the rest.

I suspect this omission is also an indicator that Sehwag will not be opening the batting in South Africa this November. If he was to, he had to be retained, but quite clearly the thinking is that the next in line must feel at home playing for India before playing an away tour. In logic, it is sound. But sadly for Sehwag, it is a tricky time to be dropped because the domestic season is over and there will be little Ranji Trophy cricket by November. To force his way back he needs games and those are not available in India.

So if it seems that the opening berth is now sealed (remember Gautam Gambhir will be in line for a comeback too), is there another option? And here the picture seems a touch rosier. Sehwag hasn't ever held back from saying that he wants a spot in the middle order. A couple of years ago, when he was in peak form, I interviewed him after he received an ESPNcricinfo Award. "Surely you accept that you are now an opener?" I asked. "No, I am No. 4…" he started. "But No. 4 is not leaving in a hurry," I said with a smile, eager to see his reaction. "No problem, I will wait." he said.

We don't know how long "No. 4" will play, for fitness will become a concern as time passes, but if for some reason Sachin Tendulkar is not on the flight to Johannesburg, India may not have a single batsman in the top six who will have played more than 20 Tests (on the assumption, of course, that Dhoni will be No. 7 on those tracks). Sehwag at No. 5, below Pujara and Kohli but above Ajinkya Rahane or Manoj Tiwary or another at No. 6, might be tempting for the selectors.

Much, of course, will depend on Sehwag's will to continue; and its translation into a rigorous fitness regime. Players like Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and Michael Hussey were extraordinarily fit as 40 loomed, and VVS Laxman's great discipline and skill kept him going. Can Sehwag recall the hunger, and that extraordinary ability for hard work, again?

Age tends to dull ambition. A weary body rebels against being driven again. "The Eye of the Tiger" sounds good in the movies. But if he can summon the desire, there might still be some magic left. I'd love it to be so.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. He is currently contracted to the BCCI. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by   on (March 11, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

Respect to the Sehwag's performances so far especially for adapting his ODI mode according to the T20 mode and ingeniously to the Test cricket mode sofar. He delivered as much as he can, also [its not only to shewag] but for all cricketers especially in India who are playing T20 as the early entrance for starting their carrier need to take Shewag and Yuvraj Singh's career impact due to Playing cricket in more unsuitable mental conditions, I would say the business impact will lead affect their performances in Test cricket. The simple and best way to survive is to Play straight, leave the unnecessary deliveries and more over keep your Eyes on the ball.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 11, 2013, 18:23 GMT)

@jay57870, and also, the improved life-expectency or the condition of the joints of today's humans doesn't mean that their joints are so fit that they can compete with youngsters in competitive international sports. The improved science, medicine and technology has improved the quality of life of today's 40 year olds in comparison to the 40 year olds of yesteryears.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 11, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

@jay57870, I agree, life-span has increased because we are able to tame medical conditions which, hitherto, lead to premature deaths. Coming to the examples you are giving, of sportsmen, exceptions are not the norms and extrapolating them to the other sportsmen is nothing but sampling bias. The sample (Suzuki) you took is not a good representation of the population (Sehwag or Bond or Flintoff) you are prescribing it to. In statistics, you don't go by the +or- 3 S.D (exceptions) from the mean to project it to subjects of interest. Even if you are not talking about all sportsmen and you are just referring to Sehwag, you need to tone down your emphasis on Suzuki. It is worth exploring. That is all. You couldn't assert Suzuki's example as a magic potion to the sportsmen out there in the real world. A rejuvenated Viru could silence his critics, but we can't hold Indian Cricket hostage for any player based on reputation or wishful Hollywood happy endings.

Posted by jay57870 on (March 11, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

I agree ageing is a natural process that can't be stopped. But lifespans can be prolonged: Advances in medicine, technology & diets are pushing up life expectancy at birth worldwide! Sportsmen are playing longer because of these advances plus better protective gear, facilities & training. Suzuki's regimen requires commitment & hard work. It's not meant for any Tom, Dick or Harry. Re: boxing (a la Flintoff), a new light heavy-weight champ was crowned on Saturday: Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxer to win a major title at age 48! Of course it takes exceptional people to achieve extraordinary feats. Sachin's still playing because of his phenomenal staying power, defying all odds. What matters is his unmatched record over 23 years (not his medical records or age). He's proven many wrong, incl. Ian Chappell who foolishly prodded him to retire in 2007 at 34! There's still time for Sehwag (34). Suzuki's regimen is an option worth exploring. A rejuvenated Viru could silence his critics!

Posted by PadMarley on (March 11, 2013, 10:37 GMT)

Some players still get their good hand-eye coordination even at 40 or 40+. I remember Jayasuriya played few great innings with his usual power at 40+, and all of the sudden he lost it forever. Perhaps Sehwag lost it faster than the others.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2013, 3:05 GMT)

Sehwag should hang is bat and cap and focus on his school.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 10, 2013, 18:24 GMT)

@jay, instead of Sehwag, why not send Flintoff to spend some time with whoever you are suggesting? You are so sure that Suzuki's regimen has everything to do with his fitness rather than his body. So, this spring/summer marriage with Suzuki should work for Flintoff too and, by extension, for Shane Bond, Zaheer Khan, James Pattinson and some more Aussie quickies, Tremlett, Varun, Sreesanth……….! Too bad, Flintoff and Shane Bond didn't know about this little spring/summer marriage trick, that they called it a day on their careers!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 10, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

@jay57870, ageing is natural, universal. There's nothing half-baked about it. It ranges from changes in your lens to the capacity of the ciliary muscle controlling it, just as an example. Many humans get reading glasses by the age of 40. So, how do you know about Statchin's vision, cartilages, basal metabolic rate and 'mental' drive objectively (not relying on what he says about himself in public)? Are we privy to his data objectively? Yes, ageing tends to dull ambition too - be it Sehwag or Dravid or Statchin or Hussey. To think that a human, who plays for 23 years, scoring thousands of runs, excluding any effects of natural ageing, hasn't effected his cartilages, is ignorant. So, dear friend, throwing in some high flow language with some quotes from here and there doesn't mean much.

Posted by jay57870 on (March 10, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

A suggestion: Do a comparative study of the two sports with a focus on sports medicine, injury management & fitness regimen. Another suggestion: BCCI should initiate an exchange programme to send a cricketer to, say, the NY Yankees & vice versa. How about, for starters, Sehwag spending time with their Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki (age 39) this spring/summer? According to a March 5 Wall Street Journal article "The Secret Gym of Ichiro Suzuki", he uses special machines to stay flexible & fit. As a result, he's not been on the disabled list for a muscle-related injury in his 12 MLB seasons. He credits this fitness regimen for his well-conditioned lower body, loosened shoulders & range of motion - so crucial to his game. The Yankees have now installed his machines in their facilities, along with adopting stretching & training techniques, for their players. This might be yet another option for Viru to consider. He's too good a player to write off at 34. Maybe he'll make a magical comeback!

Posted by jay57870 on (March 10, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

Harsha - Age tends to dull ambition? Really? Looks like Bhogle's copying his pal Chappelli's half-baked theory of "use-by-dates" for ageing cricketers. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I don't think Sachin Baby or any avatar (LOL) is close to replacing Sachin Tendulkar! Watching him in the Oz series, No. 4 still has gas left in the tank. And his perennial passion. If you think Ponting, Dravid & Hussey were "extraordinarily fit as 40 loomed", it's pointless to question the Little Master's fitness. Surely he at least has Laxman's "great discipline & skill" to keep on going? This whole Age-card is overplayed. One has just to look at baseball & the no. of elite players still playing at 40 & beyond. The MLB season is long & taxing: 162 regular-season games + pre-season & playoffs. One can see that 40-45 is becoming the new age reality. Maybe cricket can learn from baseball, given the similarities - batting, bowling/pitching & fielding/throwing. How about "benchmarking", Harsha?

Posted by sourab21 on (March 10, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

no doubt Sehwag is a wonderful player..but his omission was quite likely as he ws not dong well 4 a long time..but this has given chance to a guy like Shikhar dhawan who would like 2 dowell and certainly seal his berth at top..murali vijay& dhawan can make a good pair..sehwag needs to understand anybody who plays at top level needs 2 be consistent.ONLY being n the team is not enough..

Posted by aussieperthindian on (March 10, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

I too would like to see Viru back in the team but alas he has not delivered for a while. If this is the last of him in the test team I would like to say a big thankyou for entertaining me for the past few years-you will be sorely missed-watching you demolish the bowling was a pure thrill! Wish you all the best and recommend a county stint and who knows!!! Don't let IPL ruin you!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 10, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

Statchin should have been dropped at least 2 years back. Look at his stats in comparison to Sehwag. Statchin's stats are as bad as Sehwag's. Then why these double-standards? I want Statchin to go to SA and face further humiliation. I'm sure he won't take part in the final XI against SA. Just wait and watch.

Posted by singhal1 on (March 10, 2013, 2:10 GMT)

I think not having Ranji will give Sehwag better chance to prepare for overseas tours . Ranji conditions are not good enough to test preparedness for tours like south africa. Look at Pakistan. They looked so good when they toured India but were handsomely thrashed by South Africa. It would be great for Sehwag if he can go to NCA and prepare according to south africa, new zealand and England (Remember the way Ganguly prepared when dropped and recalled suddenly for South Africa). It will help him clear his thoughts being out of constant scrutiny. I doubt Vijay or Dhawan will be good enough on their first tour to South Africa. India would need a UNCLUTTERED SEHWAG. Most likely Sehwag would be on tour to provide flexibility as Opener or Middle order. At least I wish so. It is difficult to imagine team without such a Impact player.

Posted by nirvana_1959 on (March 9, 2013, 23:28 GMT)

Sehwag was the only reason for me to watch India's test match. I guess that also marks the end of any chance of a triple hundred from an Indian.

I hope Dhoni will continue to play his natural game to fill a very small portion of this big void.

Posted by Top-Spinner on (March 9, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Drop Sehwag and have him play in the English League. If he does well then draft him back in the team. It is as simple as that. As for Bhajji, he couldn't perform well on turners in Chennai and Hyderabad, so why even debate, just dump him.

Posted by alarky on (March 9, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

justkidding, you've made the smartest and best contribution to this debate! How come that is your sreen name? However, I can assure you that Tendulkar would not choose to go to South Africa; so Sehwag would still get the chance to fulfill his dying dream at No.4. Tendulkar is trying very hard to eke out one of his many boring 100s against AUSTRALIA in this series to decide to retire on a so called "HIGH"! He might want to know how I am able to be gazing down into his crystal ball - I have the ability to do so. So, I don't think Mr Sehwag has longer than the next tour to South Africa to wait. You would notice that since approval was given for the use of helmets, Tendulkar has never removed his, neither against pace nor spin - that helmet is never removed, while nearly every other top class batsman is so relieved to put away the helmet when the spinners at least come on - not Sachin. I've let out his secret why he would not be making the trip to South Africa this time. Ask Shoaib Akhtar!

Posted by Aashiq.kb on (March 9, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

Eagerly waiting to see Sehwag batting at No:4.... I am sure that he'll be on tour to South Africa. Come on Viru.... You can do it.... But first please shed some kilos...:)

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 19:12 GMT)

I am a great fan of Sehwag. It is sad to see him being dropped and might end playing for India. He brought light to the boring test Cricket. Many people will miss the fun and entertainment he brings to cricket.

Posted by justkiddin on (March 9, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

Man, Please drop Tendulkar first. Every other discussion becomes much more meaningful and refreshing. I just pulled stats for you all from stats guru for last 1 and 2 years for test matches.

Stats for Last 1 year.

Player M Runs Av S/R V Sehwag 8 408 31.38 87.36 G Gambhir 6 309 34.33 45.30 SR Tendulkar 8 276 25.09 49.90

Stats for Last 2 years.

Player M Runs Av S/R SR Tendulkar 19 1054 32.93 53.01 V Sehwag 17 892 29.73 85.11 G Gambhir 16 787 28.10 46.02

Mr. Tendulkar is going to be 40 years. Has last 1 year average of 25, two year average of 33. With these vital stats why can't he be dropped? How is his average better than Sehwags? Which was the last match winning/saving knock? I am getting a headache thinking.

At least Sehwag scored a century against england and helped setup the match. Can play for 2-3 years.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

SA series is too far and wheteher Sehwag will go to SA or not will purely depends upon the performance of dhawan & vijay in d next 2 test matches. Sehwag and Gambhir both have potential to bat in the middle order at no. 4. Its important for India to look for some young talents like dhawan, rahane & vijay. Just try everyone in a proper way. Only 3 players are certain for SA tour so far Pujara, Dhoni & Kohli on the basis of form & fitness. Its time for India to make a whole new team, enough of denial.....

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 16:48 GMT)

hayden has said sehwag could have scored 300 in mohali. laxman has said it's vital to have sehwag in south africa. clearly both hayden & laxman know a little bit more about cricket than arm-chair writers like you who have never faced a ball coming at them at 150 kmph. sehwag did not deserve to be dropped. dhoni was losing test match after test match at home and abroad but he didn't lose his captaincy or his place in the side. because players like dhoni need to be backed. sachin did not get runs for a very long time but did he get dropped? because sachin needs to be backed. sehwag is in the same bracket and should have been backed by the skipper and selectors.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

I don't understand, why these journalists don't cry for the young talents waiting at the gate (or on the bench) series after series, without getting a chance, waiting for the grand old warriors discard the ever increasing protective gears and accept the ever decreasing eye sights, reflexes and movement... and retire gracefully. Are you waiting for the young talents to reach an age where the young and old may retire around the same time. (In Badri's case, it may not be a silly joke, but a serious reality, since his entry gates are shut for ever and he is waiting only for his natural aging process to retire. Badri is just an example)

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

Harsha: Through your contacts in South Africa, why don't you arrange for a stint of club cricket for Sehwag there. Preferably starting well before Indians arrive there and continuing the stint, if and when India struggles on the tour, and Duncan start missing Viru, the way Mickey started lamenting about Mike Hussy's absence? If Viru is doing well then (on South African soil at the same time, your dreamy wishes for Viru will be fulfilled.

Posted by RajenderS on (March 9, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

Its time to give these older who are above 30s and not in shape and have done enough for India's cricket and for themselves one or two awards - Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna and retire them! Otherwise they would hang on for ever, its just a denial of their age limitations. Look at Sehwag - too slow even in the slips, dropped two catches in Hyd and was out for single digit scores. Wish there was a speed reaction meter somewhere to show these older guys that time has taken its toll. On the other hand they block the younger players from getting an opportunity. Imagine if Sachin was asked to wait till 26! Its a shame that Jadeja is shocked when he got a call he was selected for this series. Its time to Ring out the old and Ring in the new! Well done Sandeep Patil and team for showing the courage to stand up to some influential folks in the BCCI and give chance to younger budding talented cricketers. Its refreshing for watchers as well and maybe some new Sehwags, Sachins and Dravids emerge

Posted by aruntheselector on (March 9, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

If he misses the flight to South Africa,he would get to play good amount of domestic cricket.In case the new openers fail in that tour,Sehwag definitely has a chance to comeback for the later tours.However, at the moment he could play a complete season of County Cricket and if he gains form,the selectors will have to re-think.However,his consistency has been a big worry.Career average dropping from 52 to 49 says it all.However,the real truth is in the last decade India's success in Tests was mainly due to Sehwag as he was an impact player.He was the person who made the difference between winning and loosing or an win and a draw.I would always say that he was more successful in longer format than the shorter ones.Hope he gets back to test cricket.However,do not expect to see him in ODI's as he has stopped bowling and scoring a 15 ball 35 or 40 is not the role of a regular batsman.If he gets out by 8th over,oppositions have time to come back.So would not want him back in ODI but def Test

Posted by IPSY on (March 9, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

Harsha, I guess you didn't quite detect the sarcasm in Sehwag's answer when he specifically targeted the "No. 4 POSITION". You should know that many senior Indian batsmen are not satisfied with the Sachin Tendulkar "undroppable" situation. They are only playing on the virtues of protocol not to come out frankly and request that they would only be willing to exit if the selectors also ask sachin to quit also, and let somebody else be groomed for the important NO.4 POSITION. Sehwag's answer was therefore, one practical way of saying that to the Little Master. Lots of those senior batsmen have never been happy when everybody is at their throats but afraid to put justifiable questions to Tendulkar who most times, he is doing worse than them. And, I think that Sehwag has merit to claim the No.4 position now; because it is true (the records are there for all to see), that he has been by distance, a far more valuable player to India than Sachin. But justice in India surely suffers from myopia

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:15 GMT)

Why not have players like Sehwag, Gmabhir, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane play in county cricket. It will be great exposure to these players in alien conditions for the new guys and a chance to prove their worth for Sehwag and Gambhir. Ishant, Sreesanth and Shami too should be playing in the county.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

It would be better to call it quits now instead of being disgraced in SA by Steyn & Co.His time is clearly up, whether he could be of any use in the middle order is hard to tell.His presence will only block the passage of talented youngsters like Manoj Tiwari, Ambati Rayudu and Mandeep Singh. He should pulll a leave out of the books of Mike Hussey who quit when in full flight. He can continue playing the IPL and Ranji though.

Posted by swami999 on (March 9, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

We are taking about Sehwag..but why? when he was not performed all of them told him that "look if you are not performing than you will be out " & the same things has happen.So it means that all the player are waiting for such kind of situation?..such a shame of Sehwag that after the England series he not even bother about to think of his performance.Only saying "I am plying my natural inning"if this is your natural inning than selector has also suggest their natural attitude.

Posted by VRRK on (March 9, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

Sehwag can have a go at county cricket in England and Wakes as the season is about to start to prove his worth and get back his confidence.

Posted by swarzi on (March 9, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

I have no problem with a fair policy to drop senior players when they are out of form and breed youngsters to take their place. But when I get really concerned is when the injustice is as glaring as is this case with Sehwag. How come Tendulkar who has been in worse form than Sehwag for a much longer time is not being DROPPED and Sehwag is axed? They all looked woefully out of sorts in England and Australia in 2011-12. Why all this respect for one great player and scant respect for the other. And as others have said, the less respected was the more valuable player to the team!

Posted by PkZindabaad on (March 9, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

lots of magic left. In fact junaid has shown what kind of magic is that

Posted by kharidra on (March 9, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

A proper closing policy needs to be be designed and implemented. Something like being on contract a list of 20 players should be identified for one year. A player whether he is in a team of 15 players touring to each center or he is in the list of remaining 5 and is at beck and call of team management as replacement to injuries to team members in the 15. By having some well defined approach such issues like how well a reputed player is treated and at the same time there is that cushion that the people in the 5 group are under correction supervision under match like conditions. With such well defined policy being applied the Senior players who are initially part of playing 11 get into being part of 15 and eventually part of 20 and at each stage have the opportunity to spring back into the playing 11. If players in the 11 are successful then the easing out of the seniors will not be coming into question as a well defined policy has been laid out and executed with honor and acceptability.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (March 9, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

Sehwag's will is called into question as much as his skill. He is only 34. If he stays fit he has another 4-5 years left in him. He would do himself as service to bid some time in county cricket. Battering mediocre bowlers in flat tracks of India is not going to convince himself or the selectors. Does he have the hunger? That is the real question. 34 is not old age.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

If Sehwag had any ounce of brain in his gifted body, he could have been known as the best top order batsman of all time. Unfortunately that is not to be.

Posted by henchart on (March 9, 2013, 2:26 GMT)

If guys like Harbhajan and Ishant Sharma can hang around in the team on the basis of non performance then what sin did Sehwag commit to not deserve one more chance?Probably that of rubbing Dhoni on the wrong side.

Posted by IPSY on (March 9, 2013, 0:42 GMT)

It is grossly unfair to drop Sehwag after two poor matches. Everybody forgot that it was he who single handedly won the only test match that India won against England earlier this season. Sehwag has played little more than half the number of test matches that Tendulkar has played; yet Sehwag has won nearly ten times more matches than Tendulkar. But Tendulkar is never dropped even though he is out of form sometimes for a number of consecutive YEARS and matches. What has he done recently to maintain a place in the team when Sehwag is axed? No unfair game is ever completed!

Posted by TrexTrainer on (March 8, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

I think they should have promoted Sehwag to the middle order instead of just letting him open.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

Incredible how you brought it down to Sachin vs Sehwag. I had never thought in that direction. It was indeed predictable that Sehwag would be left out. I do hope for the sake of Indian cricket enthusiasts that he can make a comeback. Would hisIPL performances make the selectors think about him again?

Posted by satchander on (March 8, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

An article of wishful thinking is what I would call this. I think when any great player's career comes to an end especially without any official farewell (such as last test match), then we start analysing how it might be possible for such a player to come back. I think if we want Indian cricket to move forward, we need to look at the new comers and give them chances instead of relying on players whose time is up. Sehwag was a great player no doubt but its time for him to make way for new openers. I do not know if Murali Vijay, Dhawan or Rahane have in them to be even 50% of what Sehwag was in his peak but unless we give chances we will never know. And I hope Gautam does not get any more chances, we have clearly seen his decline as well. Hope Dhawan/Rahane/Vijay/Jaffer are given a long rope before we even considering bringing Gautam back. These players deserve equal chance.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

harsha bhogle, you are the sachin tendulkar of commentary.

Posted by ddlj26 on (March 8, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

Harsha bhogle is spot on here... it is not only his dwindling game that sehwag has to make a come back on... but in fact he has to fight his own age and fitness levels (which seem to be poor for a professional athlete by the way)... Does sehwag have it in him, only time will tell? But yes he was a once in a lifetime type cricketer, kudos to what he has given to indian cricket

Posted by Rajanp on (March 8, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Good article Harsha! But it is unlikely that Sehwag will return. At the age of 34, one should accept his fate. Selectors should look to the future. Sehwag doesn't fit into the captain's plan either. He has been given more chance than he deserves and if at all he returns, it would be regressive step for the selectors.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 18:32 GMT)

I think Sehwag should go and play county cricket for the next 3-4 months... and if he proves himself there he should be picked

Posted by nyc_missile on (March 8, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

Harsha- definitely there is..he's been misused and wrongly utilized IMO.Middle order is the place for him since 2011..when no body could establish themselves at no 6 after a brief spell of good performances by Raina & Yuvraj.Break will and should do him good in terms of fitness so he'll be back meaner,fitter!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

i think shwag should go back in first class cricket india already two test up i believed some new faces should get chance in opening slot

Posted by Procter on (March 8, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

Its all about great reflexes v/s technique. Gundappa Vishwanath who was all about reflex went out fast while Gavaskar lasted longer because he had technique. People lose reflexes as they age. Dravid and Tendulkar lasted longer as they had technique. Sehwag is going out faster because he has no technique.

Posted by anuajm on (March 8, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

Harsha, this is a great article. Your thoughts might look sentimental to the fans here but it's based on logic. All of us fans who have followed Indian cricket would love to see Sehwag back to his old once again, and you are no different. But of course it all depends on whether Sehwag will put the hard yards. He still has 3-4 years of cricket left in him and here's hoping he does come back (as Harsha said on performance and not reputation) and treats us with the brand of cricket which made India no. 1 in tests few years back.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (March 8, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

Sourav Ganguly made a comeback when he was in his mid-30s, remember? So why not Sehwag? In fact, after his comeback in 2006-2007, Ganguly had become a better Test batsman. Ganguly's fitness was also never top-notch, but he put in the hard yards and made a comeback. Come on, Viru! You can do it too.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

i think after the IPL he should grab a english county contract, go there and just play without the stresses of international cricket and who knows he might get a third wind, too early to say though of his retirement considering how indian cricket works, and i have a gut feeling that the best of viru is yet to come which will be the most destructive one ever seen till date in indian cricket

Posted by inhotpursuit on (March 8, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

Harsha, all good things must come to an end, Sehwag is no exception. No regrets even if does not have the hunger to come back, he has already had a glittering career in which he revolutionized test cricket and brought people to watch Test cricket. He was special without a doubt, one with the ability to change the course of a test match in couple of hours. Irrespective of his return to test cricket, lets salute a great who has done a great service to his country and cricket fans the world over. If there's a way for him to return, its via county cricket in England

Posted by Dhanno on (March 8, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

The nostalgia would have been fitting 2 years ago had he been dropped then. Sehwag had lived long on his past exploits, being backed by selectors/ capt alike to continue his "natural game". The fact is (and one missed here), his excellent hand-eye coordination made him force, once that was gone Sehwag has struggled. The writer is talking about "the thrill one feels when sehwag walks out" : well I dont know which year you are stuck in, but for other ordinary folks we havent been thrilled to watch sehwag walk out. He has been an walking wicket for last 2 years, arrogant in his belief that he doesnt need to learn/mend his way, a liability on field. Nothing in 2 years suggest he has it in him to go the extra yards to preserve his place now that his natural instincts are fading. Just like gambhir's 100 in practice match meant nothing, Sehwag playing another knock in FC somewhere on flat pitch shouldnt mean he is back/ making the effort.

He should be rightly ignored for SA series.

Posted by armchairjohnny on (March 8, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

This is an opportune moment to reform the culture of Indian cricket and it must begin by taking some tough calls for the sake of the greater good. For too long, there has been a culture of dependency upon batsmen and an obsession with individual icons. I'd like to see an Indian team which is made of street fighters, is team-centric... players who are steely and fight hard for each other... and a cricketing culture that prides overseas test cricket success as the most important thing there is... and a public that doesn't hang it's hopes on icons, dashers and sloggers. Let's also try preparing a few green tops and try to encourage quick bowling in the country. I still long for the day when an Indian speedster wreaks terror upon opposition batsmen.

I know I am praying for a miracle here but for the future sake of Indian cricket, we must take this rare opportunity to reform our cricketing culture. Such an opportunity might never present itself again. Thanks Veeru but the show most go on.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

Sehwag is a world class player. Sehwag had scored a century on debut on the fast South African soil. Sehwag had assaulted Bret Lee and Gillespie on the bouncy Melbourne track for glorious 195. Who can forget his first triple century against Shoib Akthar Pakistan at Multon. Wisden honored Sehwag for his 205 master class act against Murali and Mendis at a turning track in Sri Lanka. Sehwag scored two centuries on the greenish New Zealand pitches in 2003 while all Indians failed including Tendulkar and Dravid. Like that there are plenty of match winning performances from Sehwag in overseas. So Indian selectors must include Sehwag for the South Africa tour.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

harsha you have made one grave point that is will Sachin board flight to South Africa that gives Sehwag hopes if there is no one to claim the spot. hope viru does well to get back to the team

Posted by arun_padmanabhan on (March 8, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

For the sake of match practice , there is an IPL coming. But if there is a county team willing to fit in Sehwag at one of the middle order positions (4,5,6) , it will be of great help to him in two accounts : He can prove his worth as a middle order bat and he can correct the flaws in his technique while playing away from home.

Posted by Sarthak1305 on (March 8, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

Have him and Gambhir play the county there will be plenty of exposure to swing and seam if they can survive specially Gambhir as he has shown in the past that he can he just needs to battle it out in those conditions i see no reason why they cant make a comeback runs scored in county would mean much more to the selectors as compared to runs scored in Ranji. It has revived the careers of DADA and Zaheer khan swears by it so let them have a go

Posted by nilb on (March 8, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

Shewag is the definition of a flat track bully. If he goes the tour of SA he's going to fail. When will the selecters learn?

Posted by Texmex on (March 8, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

He should go and play some county cricket in England and score some runs and make his case...

Posted by musVS319 on (March 8, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

Sehwag is a player who has been my favorite for a long time because of his extraordinary Hand-Eye coordination and extreme mental strength. He's been a player who has played many game changing innings and shocked his critics. His form is never permanent,either good or bad,and that is what had been surprising for everybody. His hundreds would come when everybody least expects it.With a combined experience of 298 tests lost with the retirement of Laxman and Dravid, Sehwag is the only batsman, except Tendulkar, with the experience of 100+ tests. And that makes him essentially important for the Indian Test team going through a transition period. There is no doubt of his ability and can knock the best bowlers out of the boundary.Hope that he will return soon :)

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 13:12 GMT)

In my humble opinion, Sehwag should avoid IPL and take a county contract and play in England. If he gets going there, the selectors cannot ignore him anymore.

Posted by Sarlana on (March 8, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

He is So lucky to get dropped now, as he is lacking his confidence next 2 tests might have been an issue.....

So freshly he can start IPL 2013 will defenitely give him another chance...

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

Sehwag is needed for indian cricket to maintain it's popularity. He is an entertainer of world cricket.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

A great entertainer! Will miss him.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (March 8, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

With Indian selectors and selection, anything is possible. Harbarjan was recalled after just sitting out 1 year and showing no sign of improvement to form before he was dropped for. RP Singh was called from a Miami beach after months not playing competitive cricket, Yuvraj was recalled after supposedly having proved form and fitness in couple of Ranji games and then subsequently dropped, Ohja hasn't played in this series against Aus even though form and wickets suggested otherwise. If Sehwag's replacement doesn't score a double century in each of the final 2 tests against Aus, he will be deemed a failure by Sehwag's fans and Sehwag will be recalled for the SA tour.

Posted by mmmuthukumar on (March 8, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

Why not a season of county cricket for sehwag now? He will look at the hard ways now to come back,Because the route is not easy now. he may perform or perish

Posted by satishchandar on (March 8, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

I think Viru still got a chance in SA. Anyways, we are going to play two new openers there in SA with one being Vijay considering his 167 in Hyderabad. Second most probably should go to Dhawan. You can't play in SA with RJ in at 6.. Seriously. In home, YES he will be a asset with his bowling and fielding. But certainly not in SA. So we need a No.6 in SA. If Viru can go back to nets and work very hard, he might come in at 6 for SA. We are anyway going to play with four inexperienced players in the team for SA tour in Openers, Kohli and Pujara(2 tests in SA won't make him experienced after all). I personally feel rather than going in with entire new setup to SA, can opt for Viru at 6 and if top order can bat out a bit(which looks a great task ahead against massive SA bowling attack), Viru's slam bang if it clicks can produce some quick runs and be a bonus to the team.

Posted by CanTHeeRava on (March 8, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Sehwag's play is "hand-eye co-ordination", which cannot replace "sound technique". There have been many flamboyant players in cricket's history who declined quite rapidly after their peak because their play was driven more by instinct than by dogged hard work. Players like Tendulkar and Kallis could continue as long as they have because their game can be worked on day in and day out. Tendulkar regaining his foot-work during the current Border-Gavaskar series is one example. Unlike the names Harsha metions in the end, Sehwag is 'a given'; you start, you live and you die with it. I don't think he changed one bit since I first saw him in Bloemfontein. I remember the interview Harsha has recollected. Contemplating his inclusion in the Indian middle order is a futile thought. Sehwag's fate in the middle order, although had a good chance to be exceptional, it wouldn't have been anything like his aura as an opener. He has served Indian cricket with distinction and we are proud of him.

Posted by Samar_Singh on (March 8, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

Age is beyond our control. at 35 without a good technique its not always easy to survive in the highest level. Shewag asset has always been his hand eye coordination which most of the time fade way with age. Now its no point calling Sehwag back for SA tour or other overseas tours as he was never a good performer overseas except one tour to AUS. He was an exiting talent in highway pitches. I too was a big fan of him untill i understood the difference of lively pitches and flat track bullies . For me his test carries is almost over.

Posted by ChuckyDoll on (March 8, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Dear Harsha, I hope you are reading this. I read your columns, and I have respect for you. My concern is why are we looking for 'magic' ? Shouldn't you be asking, is there consistency left in Sehwag ? Why does the media put players in pedestal and polarize the spectators ? I also liked to watch Sehwag play but is it too much to expect even a little bit of consistency across time ? Our whole system of grooming players is flawed. What standards will you help Vijay to ? He scored once century in the 2nd test and what if his standard deviation of scores is high ? Then what ?

Posted by Amit_13 on (March 8, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

Much about Sehwag will depend on a certain No. 4's wishesl. And if that is the trade, I among many others will bank on the current no. 4 in any condition. Not to mention his iron will. If Sachin were to make his decision (which I never want to see happen), I don't see India going overseas without dressing room experience.

For Sehwag himself, the best route possible is county cricket. If his desire to return is genuine and not media speak, then he must swallow a hard pill and go for it. Somewhere like Surrey with their two powerhouses would be good place for him to learn. After all, the problems with his batting lie overseas, why would the solution live at home? If he has the desire to learn, then learning in England would only make batting at home easier (relatively speaking).

Whatever happened to county cricket and Indian players anyway??? It was part of the initiation for most international players only 10 - 15 years ago. I guess, BCCI happened.

Posted by SoverBerry2 on (March 8, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

It is only one thing...dear Harsha

You need good technique to survive after 35. The same is going to happen to Dhoni, Raina...

Posted by Nilesh_T on (March 8, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

Head still, foot movement non-existent, hand eye coordination perfect and the bat's blade coming down like a rapier on the outswinging delivery sending it soaring over deep point to the ropes, a nonchalant look and a saunter to the square leg leaving a despondent bowler fearing more of the same - this is Virender Sehwag for you. Giving immense pleasurable moments to cricket fans world over with his mastery of stroke play, his destructive batting in full cry brought many a quality bowler to his knees with self-doubt whether he was in the wrong profession. Never living by the rule book ,heart ruling over head, an eternal enigma, a mystery best unresolved, a dessert dish savoured for taste and flavour without questioning the ingredients. Pray for his return as an expecting audience waits with bated breath in a hushed auditorium for the master magician to unleash his old powers of illusion and visual seduction. The last hurrah from Veeru has yet to be sounded - it's not over till it's over

Posted by itismenithin on (March 8, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

Everyone would love to see Sehwag making a comeback, no doubt about it. No other cricketer has provided so much joy in recent times in the batting crease than him. But I would rather see him back in the team on virtue of merit rather than because of TINA(there is no alternative) which don't augur well for Indian cricket. His style of batting is similar to Viv Richards as both very much reliant on superb hand eye coordination. Even Richards in his last few years cut a sorry figure and failed to make a comeback, chances of Sehwag coming back are very slim. County cricket is an option for him to get some form back not sure he would take that given pitches over there doesn't really suit his style of play.

Posted by Kemcho on (March 8, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

I cannot understand why so much fass is being made about dropping a batsman who has not been scoring runs. Yes, he was a dynamic batsman who once was perhaps the most destructive batsman since Bradman. But he is not performing and does not score runs.

Posted by pr3m on (March 8, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

I wonder why people don't count county cricket at all. It's on for the entire English summer, and since we're going out of India, what better way to regain the selector's confidence than to show that he can play out of India?

Posted by AnandVenkatraman on (March 8, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Why not apply the same yardstick to Sachin Tendulkar? He has not scored a Test century in 26 months or so - why one logic for Sehwag and a different one for Sachin

Posted by anton_ego on (March 8, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

During my teenage I hated Test cricket. I never understood the rules completely. I would tell my friends how nice it would be if 5 days of Test cricket were converted into a 5 match ODI series. All that changed after Sehwag's blitzkrieg 195 in Melbourne. Its 'the' moment in my life after which I became addicted to Test cricket (to an extent of watching Ban vs Zim Test highlights at midnight). I watched every big knock of Sehwag, 195, 309, 155, 201, 254, 319, etc etc. Its like a lump in my throat to see him perish this early from Test cricket. I wish he ll be back, because to produce another Sehwag is like producing another Einstein. It happens only once in a millenium.

Posted by Alkais on (March 8, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Players like Manoj Tiwary,Rohit Sharma, Unmukt Chand has to play a complete season in County Cricket for developing as a cricketer. A stint in County Cricket will help them mature and develop as a cricketer as in County , cricket is played round the clock. Rohit Sharma,Manoj Tiwary should take permission from BCCI to go and play in County Cricket or in that parts of the world. Sehwag can follow that too. But Sehwag is 36. If he wants to come back, he has to go to county Cricket and play domestic cricket over there. Any form of cricket which is played over 4 days will do a world of good for him. All the players like Rohit,Manoj Tiwary,Ishant Sharma should go and play County Cricket(4 days cricket) for atleast 6 months. Earlier days Indian players were selected to play there. Javagal Srinath,Zaheer Khan were different players after paying in County Cricket.

Posted by Parag26 on (March 8, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

"Change is the law of nature" these quotation had a deep impact on selectors mind.Sehwag is an outstanding batsman of attacking notion and at the end no strategies for defense.But he has contributed to Indian cricket for so long time so the dismissal is heartbreaking.We could have tried him at any batting order but now these are the things of past.Every great player has to leave the game one day so the best part is their replacement should be suitable.Murli vijay and Rahane stands no where with Sehwag,but still we need to move forward with futuristic approach .We have connected our heart with his class as it provides some fun like a comic film actor.but the people will remember you for your sincere contribution and observance .I must say "when Sehwag performs well he will keep you away from danger,but when You are already in danger he will never perform"

Posted by srikanths on (March 8, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

Sad but true. One can see that Harsha Bhogle has almost written a goodbye approbation to Viru , without saying in so many words. People like Viru depend a lot on hand eye coordination and reflexes, advancing age exacerbates the shortcomings in technique. Someone like Dravid and SRT carried on ( SRT still in) till they were 39 by dint of their technique which is a bit less demanding on the physical aspects.Age does catch up with all , technique can not be a substitute for effective execution , it just gives an extension of time.One can easily see that Viru has been slow in getting to the ball( he anyway had very little footwork) and missing more than he used to connect . New glasses ..., great entertainer and a player but we have to face the fact that he is well past his best and that is not quite up to Indian XI requirements. Next one to move out , has to be SRT for all our love and admiration for him, he is just 1.5 mhs shy of 40.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

Lets analyse this decision on a couple of levels:

1. Well done to the selectors for dropping a non-performing player regardless of reputation - refreshing change.

2. Sehwag alone must decide where he wants to take his career from here. If he wants to get back into the side then he needs to have a frank conversation with the selectors, the coach and the captain. If he is keen then preparation for South Africa could begin by playing the county circuit in England especially in the early part of the Summer where he could face reasonably high quality swing and seam conditions. A short stint here away from the media and the scrutiny will help him decide: a. Does he want to play more test cricket for India b. Can he play test cricket for India If the answers to both is yes and a county season helps him sharpen his game for the overseas tours and we will be that much richer for it. If the answers are no then we will always have the memories. Maybe Gautam can join him too?

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Viru should try his hand at English county cricket. to regain form He shd make himself available immediately after the IPL He cld be available in England during the Champions trophy

Posted by dork29 on (March 8, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

Somehow I do not buy this whole "young" vs old theory. it probably makes sense in the slam bang variety like T20 or to a lesesser extent for ODIs. Test matches need stable,m mature minds. People who can understand the situation and play accordingly. The removal of Sehwag is not with the intention of having someone younger in his place. It was just that he had not been performing for a long time now. They are looking for someone who could go to South Africa and face the speed merchants plying their trade there. Wasim Jaffer would have been the best candidate. He is an established opener, with the right temperament and technique. Sachin will probably be dropped too, if he does not do something in the next couple of tests. That should prompt the return of Sehwag. Give the great man another chance - a chance to succeed lower down the order. He can pulverise a tired bowling attack and if the second new ball is taken, he can murder them. It i s a tempting prospect, but Sachin should go.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (March 8, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

Virender Sehwag's immense talent & ability is not reinforced well enough with technique these days.He plays so far away from his body that its shocking at times & makes you believe that he lacks interest.Sehwag batting at #4 is an interesting prospect,he may be able enough but his horrid form may just be too much to escape.Maybe a stint in County Cricket might help,but he will obviously be in the IPL at that time.So I do not see Sehwag returning to the form that test cricket requires.South Africa,England & Australia will always set very quick,green pitches for India,India also play a huge amount of away tests,which isn't going to help Sehwag at all.

Posted by surnit08 on (March 8, 2013, 9:46 GMT)

after reading this article i can say everybody wants him to make a come back and the only way he can return to the international cricket is by playing county cricket where he will get quality pitches (not that hard pitches which are mostly found in subcontinent conditions or what we call it in india a paata wicket) where it is not easy to score runs, he will get fast bowler who can bowl upto 140 to 150 kph.....just remember how ZAK returned to indian side after he was dropped and then he went to play county cricket and the impact he made........if he does so he can over come his problems against the fast swinging bowls and we never know he may be in indian side that will tour South Africa...............

Posted by pvwadekar on (March 8, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

We don't need magic from Sehwag. We want him to play responsibly at the top of the order, like a senior batsmen should. There is no point of playing him if he is unable to contribute. We always crib about how we don't have good openers or don't get good starts. So let's get rid of him and try a youngster.

Posted by AKhand on (March 8, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

With Ranji not there, the best option for Sehwag is to play county cricket in the middle order, score lots of runs and make it to the middle order of indian batting lineup in South africa.

Posted by DeckChairand6pack on (March 8, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

Totally overrated and only good for runs when he is batting on a road or a featherbed. A walking wicket as soon as he sets foot on a plane out of India

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

Dear Mr Bhogle, i see Sehwag being the perfect No.4 for India once Tendulkar decides to say Good bye to Test cricket which of course like all great God fan's, a also dun want him to play. But sooner or later it will happen and i want sehwag to replace sachin at no.4. as for the current situation if they had played sehwag for the first 2 then they should have played him for the last 2. India anyways dun feel threatened from Aus as if now. I think sehwag should play at no.5, dhoni at no.6 till the time sachin decided to retire. We will require 5 specialist bowlers to defeat SA, Eng, NZ and Aus in their backyard. Out of 5 3 need to be quick bowlers and 2 specialist spinners. I dun see Jadeja in my scheme of things abroad in alien conditions.

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (March 8, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

Players like Sehwag, Jayasurya and few others, 'see ball-hit ball' kind of players are a dieng breed. Bolwers have more trick up thier sleeves, hence batsmen need to keep evolving thier game.

True, players like Viru are entertainers, but it the game which builds the player, not the other way round.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (March 8, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

A more balanced article on Sehwag than what many others have penned down in last 48 hours! While we would love to see Viru back at his best, I think it s unlikely. The reason is because unlike Dravid or Sachin or even VVS to a large extent, Viru does not have a sold technique to fall back on when times get rough.

This seems to be the common theme with lot players who rely heavily on 'hand-eye' co-ordination. With age reflexes get slower, maybe fitness also plays a part and the same 'great eye' that saw them through before, fails. This is why ganguly was the first of the big 4 to retire. Sehwag's solution might lie on working on his fitness and yes, dropping down the order. But it is a long shot really. Also do not see what dropping him achieves though. Selectors really think he cannot score a century or two against Ranji attacks??? That will prove nothing really.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Sehwag has to accomodated at any cost as a middle order batsman for the tour of SA. Of course he has to work on his fitness and play lot of domestic cricket to stake his claim.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Virender sehwag should not lose heart and should try to come back to Indian Team. Because he is one of the few cricketers in the world who has given tremondous amount of enjoyment to the paying public. OK, he is dropped for the remainder of this series against Australia but he should sort out his form and the selectors should select him for South Africa and as Rahul Dravid has said he should be accomodated in the middle order. India definetely cannot afford to not to have Rahul Dravid & Lakshman(Retired), Gambhir and Sehwag who were there in South Africa when India toured last. We are talking too much about the abilities of the newcomers, who are doing well in the present series but should not forget the Indian team with the combined experience of Sachin, Dravid, Lakshman, Gambhir, Sehwag and Dhoni was literally wiped out against Australia and England and imagine the fate against South Africa in South Africa against Steyn, Morkel and Philander if Four of the players from above are abs

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

I see no reason why Sehwag should not return to play in the middle order. Its the Swing with new ball that has troubled him. Starting against 3rd or 4th bowler with an older ball. He would destroy any bowling lineup. I dont mean to degrade Sehwag's capabilities against new ball but it is clear that his real impact start after the ball is 20 overs old or so.

I wish he play at #4 or #5 not below that.

Posted by ksarma on (March 8, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

Harsha, Think rationally, based on Sehwag's current performance, he does not deserve place in Team. I do not know your thinking beyond Sehwag as a middle order batsmen, but how can we have a carefree batsmen who does not mind team's position or team's needs? Having him as an opener is itself a lottery, where he scores (or I should say used to score ) runs only on Sub-continent pitches. If we observe our test wins, most (90%) are from Dravid,Laxman, Sachin because they play according to team's needs. Sehwag never or hardly played any game wrt team's position.

Posted by ramli on (March 8, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

Sanjeeb kumar ... you are right ... though Vishwanath managed to be in the circuit after getting dropped from tests with adequate runs ... he still did not regain the magic that he was known for ... with Sehwag too ... if he manages just above average as anybody else, he may not be required anymore ... we need Sehwag back with "MAGIC" ... will that happen?

Posted by jhaAdityaIndia on (March 8, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

selectors think there is a joke going around??? play one match drop in another.. Again score a ton against non-worthy domestic bowlers and get your place in the side... Sehwag at first shouldn't have been dropped, He is man who has made history. We don't have anyone to replace him .. Even God of Cricket is waiting for what he has achieved(a triple ton in tests). And if they (mindless selectors) think if is not worthy of a place in the side then make him retire at once... why not??? So that he can again make a comeback...

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

Sehwag has been exceptional for his ability to take way matches in a session or two. Precisely the season why his failures have been sandpapered away. For a man devoid of purest technique or footwork, however, the fall must come as age slowly takes away the gifts of eyesight and hand-eye coordination. We will always miss him, hope for a sparkling swansong, but professional sports isn't always nice to romantics. Besides, if we don't blood in players in their early to mid 20s like Rahane, Dhawan, Mukund, Rohit, Tiwary etc. now - how would we ever get the next good test batsman to play out a long enough career?

Posted by Karnamkotil on (March 8, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Remember everybody wrote off Sehwag's technique when he debuted in 1999 ? He cant play for long time with his hand-eye co-ordination batting style. But,he lasted from 1999-2008 with no fuss (Ok, was dropped once) and become a brand of his own. Unfortunately, the earlier predictions have come true now, after 2008. Maybe, due to age factor, his hand-eye style is not working and i dont see him as a hard worker as Sachin, Dravid or Ponting (no offence). We must be thankfull of Sehwag and his achievements. He has given more than what was expected. Adios Amigo !!!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

I am reminded of Vishwanath after the 1982-83 series against Pakistan.He scored a little over a hundred runs with one laboured 50.Every time, we would expect him to do well but he failed.He missed the tour to the West Indies and the World Cup and continued for over four years in the ranji trophy.The magic never came back.And Vishwanath had a better year before that fateful tour to Pakistan, having scored a magnificent 222 in Chennai and a series of fluent fifties in the series against England.However, there is a way out for sehwag to prove his ability before the selectors chose the team for South Africa.He could skip IPL and play a full season of Division I English county championship, some team will surely pick him up as an international player.

Posted by sportofpain on (March 8, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

Viru is a legend - averaging 50 with a strike rate of about 80 is nothing short of phenomenal - form is temporary, class is permanent - he should be on the flight to SA. No other player, I repeat no other player has his X Factor - in other words the man is a genius. We need him in the side

Posted by balnats on (March 8, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

Sehwag needs to play in England county matches to find form and rythm. IPL and Ranji matches are not going to help his cause. Need you back Sehwag...

Posted by Edassery on (March 8, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

A decision has been taken and now what's the point in drooling over a 'possible desire to delight' etc? The selectors cannot play to the gallery or commentators when taking much needed decisions. Sehwag is nearing 35 and he's been a pathetic slip fielder of late - apart from failing on top - which clearly shows that he doesn't have the reflexes. His technique is not a solid one for a possible extended stay like Rahul Dravid or Tendulkar. Hand-eye coordination thing won't work when you are old, even in the middle order. I believe that it's a good, firm and right decision by the selectors. Sorry Harsha, you don't get any claps here for your closing remarks.

Posted by gptnitesh on (March 8, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

Sehwag is going through bad phase, not getting runs and this happens to every cricketer, nothing new. I am hoping he will strongly come back, I can see a lot cricket left on him. He is only 34 years old and so he can definetly play cricket till age of 38-39. For player like sehwag only one or two good inning is required to come back in the form and Once he is in form, everyone knows what he can do. dont forget he is the same man who hit it 2 tripple century and 11 times more than 150 run in test matches. I am very hopeful to see him in the SA squad.

Posted by ooper_cut on (March 8, 2013, 6:53 GMT)

Certainly a retirement tribute and am sure Harsha knows it only too well.Maybe this is just the appetizer, the main course will come in a few weeks.

To be fair, Sehwag does not even resemble the spirited happy go lucky player that he once was. Something seems to be bothering him and he is not the usual smiling self. He cannot work hard or regain fitness, but he can still bat like his normal self. His training is in his mind, not his body. If he can clear his mind, he will be a force to reckon with again. This is where I feel he cannot come back.

Maybe he could enlist himself with Titans or Warriors and prove that he is good enough to play in SAF conditions. Then he has a chance for a reckoning in the SAF tour.

Posted by 3009 on (March 8, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

In the 3 innings which he played we saw that he has gained some temparment. In the england series whenever he saw swann/panesar he used to go bang-bang n would get out cheaply. Here in the ongoing series there was no such problem! But fitness is the real big issue. Comeon viru bhai bounce back!

Posted by venkatesh018 on (March 8, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

The right decision has been taken by Patil & co. Let us move on!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

Sehwag was rightly given an extended run despite his poor form, but it didn't come off, and it reached a point where the selectors had no option but to drop him. He did make a terrific comeback in Australia 6 years ago, but I wonder whether he'll have the drive to try and do so again? Would also be interesting to see how the team management would go about replacing him. Will it be the original reserve opener Shikhar Dhawan, or will it be Ajinkya Rahane who has been with the test squad for long without getting a game?

Posted by alagu4ever_india4ever on (March 8, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Spot on from Harsha... Sehwag is a talented player but with limited techniques & those techniques were now dried because of Age... He is lacking the hand & eye co-ordination which he had before... So Good Bye Sehwag & Thanks for the Memories...

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

Dear Harsha, You dont seem to be suggesting alternative options, if the answer is Yes...

In another article on the same subject in espncricinfo <http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013/content/current/story/623876.html>, i have offered two options.... the key essence is to sharpen his reflexes (skills is not an issue, I feel) he shd go to SA or England and play league cricket there.... and tune himself for swing and seam....

Posted by Cycic85 on (March 8, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

Another beautiful article by Harsha. No harsh words from my side to Viru paa. After all, I am no one in front of him. But ya, I would love to see him back in the middle order in SA. Sincerely believe Sachin paa will retire after Aus tour (sad but he didn't look comfortable against the pace of Pattinson, in SA u have Steyn, Morkel, Philander). Viru paa should play IPL then fly to England with Gauti & Bhajji & Zaheer (all 4 should be fully fit)

If all four perform well in county, it will be a deilght to welcome them back in d side. My Views of the team to SA in Nov - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Sehwag, Dhoni, Pathan, Ashwin, Bhuvnesh, Ishant, Zaheer;; Gauti, Rahane, Tiwary, Bhajji, Umesh, Sreesanth

Posted by Prasad1818 on (March 8, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

Sehwag should have given chance to play in middle order in this ongoing series & then selection committee can assess on whether to play Sehwag in the SA tour or not..

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 8, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

@johnathonjosephs: What a rubbish comment. This is a man who scored a century on debut IN SA. This is a man who scored a century in his first series as an opener IN ENG. He got 2 100s in Aus too. How many outsiders have 4 100s in SC conditions? Other batsmen do well in mere ONE innings in India and ppl start calling them as proven batsmen who do well in ALL conditions but poor Viru has to do twice as much and still get called as overrated by some ppl. Is Cook a proven batsmen in India? You would say he got 2 100s and so yes. Based on ONE good test (Kolkata) ppl said Jimmy Anderson has proven himself in SC conditions. Sheer double standards by you.

If these Flat Tracks are so easy to score runs at then what has happened to the current Aus batsmen? If 200s and 300s are trivial knocks on these Flat Tracks then why did Cook/KP/Clarke/Ponting/Gilchrist etc not score these kind of runs here? If they can't score runs on EASY wickets then how can they be called good?

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

Good analysis!! Sehwag's attitude is something that I haven't seen change in many years. It has been good for Indian cricket to have someone with that frame of mind. It will be sad to see him go but it will be good to see some fresh faces and a new team.

Posted by tickcric on (March 8, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

The heart says Sehwag should play for India, the mind says let's go for the youngsters. Harsha have to praise your here. I was wondering where can he be placed in the middle order but you have an answer! Let us see. Kohli is another legitimate contestant for the No. 4 spot (I mean when it is available!). Viru can still come good at 4 or 5. But the man needs to work on his fitness. For someone who relies so heavily on hand-eye coordination fitness becomes all the more important with age. He has taken glasses and now he also needs to work hard at his fitness. As you said, ' if he can summon the desire, there might still be some magic left'. I would love it too.

Posted by kluvsindia on (March 8, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

I dont think there is much chance left for Sehwag.... If you are going by the thinking that he shall replace tendulkar at no 4 after he retires then its not right and goes against the policy to blood youth.. So what if Rahane comes in at 4 and tiwary at 6? So what if they dont have experience behind them... Some day or the other they will have to come to the side and why not as soon as possible? Looking back to sehwag is not the right option according to me for test match cricket... We have enough batting talent in this country to expose them fresh to the lively tacks abroad... And they wil do well if you end up giving them a cushion of atleast 10 test matches...

Posted by AbAdvani on (March 8, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

My sincere advice to Sehwag 1) Shed that extra flab -work hard on your fitness -you have atmost a couple more years of cricket left, so work the hardest now so that you leave at your terms and not when the selectors decide 2) Play county cricket -try to see where you do well -as an opener or a middle order batsman. No point playing in Ranji flogging dead attacks on dull pitches -you are not going to see such pitches when you play overseas which the indian cricket team has in store for the next couple of years 3) If you are fit, you can probably bowl also -you are a pretty crafty spinner and you will add a lot of value in ODIs if you can contribute with the ball also. You are a much better spinner than Yuvraj or Raina (in ODI) 4) Look at the option of being a middle order bat when SRT retires which should definitely happen this year. Good luck. I know Gauti will be back soon (the likes of Shikar Dhawan don't have in it them to succeed overseas) Hope to see you soon

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

Not sure why Harsha's assuming that Dhoni will be in the team for the SA tests. He has said earlier that he will give one form of cricket by the end of 2013. I think we should all be ready for a team that will go to SA sans Sehwag, Dhoni, Tendulkar, Zaheer and Harbhajan.

Scary thought indeed!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

Apopos one of the earlier comments, to say that Duncan Fletcher ended the careers of Dravid, Laxman and Zaheer is quite foolish. Fletcher can hardly be held responsible for the gaping hole between Dravid's bat and pad, or for Zaheer limping off the field at crucial moments. It is just a coincidence that age caught up with these players at a time when Fletcher was coach. What Fletcher can be responsible for is if a young player is unable to detect chinks in his own batting or bowling technique.

Posted by ProdigyA on (March 8, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

I don't think there is any Indian cricket fan who would live to see Sehwag when in full flow. He is the most entertaining batsman of modern era. He has bought life to test cricket. No question about that but I think he had been given enough long rope n it's time to say bye to the legend and invest in the future. Same goes with Bhajji too.

Posted by Idavai on (March 8, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

Sehwag's time again will come up in the middle order, I hope so. This Indian team will not be a match against Proteas in their own den. The consequence of the South Africa tour will be, Sehwag will be in line for a recall to kiwiland as a middle order batsman......

Posted by midhun.nair on (March 8, 2013, 4:48 GMT)

Am concerned about Sehwag's attitude in the field in recent times. I accept he has never been considered as an oustanding fielder. But the passive behaviour that anyone carries in the field can let the morale of the entire team down.

The kind of dismissals also in the recent past leaves any hope. I think fitness is the reson behind many of these issues. Being a big fan of the powerful opener for the flair he carries in the test mathces, I wish he can make a comeback soon. Wish it ia small span where he can have a thought about himself and can still contribute to team India's pursuit.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

People like Harsha may know Sehwag as a person much better than we readers do. To an outsider like us, Sehwag appears to be a guy who would do very well if he has the backing of his captain. Sadly, he lacks that currently. The guy would not be short of ambition and determination, for without them, he would not have played over a 100 tests (has he?) and averaged 50 runs an innings at a strike rate of over 80.I wonder if like everyone of us, he needed a hand around his shoulder during the tough times, and a gentle word to get his act in order. I have my fingers crossed for hoping that Sehwag will treat this "dumping" as a wake up call. And will come back and delight us all once again. If this comment is published, and is read by someone who can relay a message to Sehwag, then please suggest to him to go and play some county cricket in the summer! That may help him in many a ways!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

We need good coaches and managers to harness his talent properly.his record proves that.he enjoyed his best phase of his career under Gary Kirsten who was an excellent man manager.he was miserable under Greg Chappell n under Duncan Fletcher.well we all know wat has happened.Fletcher has ended careers of many.rahul dravid,laxman,zaheer n u can almost add sachin to that list

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

Harsha - I have never been much of a Sehway fan (his flashy hundreds notwithstanding). But, the truth is that he did contribute significantly to India's successes in the 2000s. But, seeing him play over the last couple of years made me feel that he's that much more lackadaisical, almost careless in the way he's been wielding the willow. (Ditto for his slip fielding). His whole body language transitioned from carefree zest to uncaring. He was lucky to have made the squad for the first two tests (especially since his batting average in 2012 was IDENTICAL to that of Gambhir). Over the last 3-4 years in particular, he's been a flat track bully (Stats will confirm it.). And last but not the least, hand-eye coordination was his biggest assets. Sadly, that wanes over time. It was about time...

Posted by SamRoy on (March 8, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

Around 33-34 years of age reflexes slow down. It happens for most players. For Sehwag it's a big deal as he is an hand eye player. Similar hand eye players like Gilchrist and Jayasuriya retired from tests at 35-36 and they had much better fitness than Sehwag. They continued playing T20 well into their forties. Moral of the story, Sehwag can play IPL for atleast another four years and maybe some ODIs as well, but he is finished as a test batsman barring a miraculous comeback. So goodbye Sehwag and thanks for the memories!

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 8, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

Sehwag was and always will be a flat track bully. His outside the subcontinent average is simply atrocious. Though he makes big scores, they were mostly (there were a few exceptions) on flat tracks. A couple knocks do stand out in memory and those are 200* against Sri Lanka and his century in Australia when he was younger. Overrated to the max and should be discarded for Rahane

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 4:20 GMT)

don't write off sehwag so easily guys! I'm sure he can get into one of the domestic leagues abroad for a few months (which is much better than the crap of a thing in april-may).....he'll get accustomed to south african conditions beforehand if he plays for one of their franchisees.... and i don't believe that there is any club in the world which would not accomodate a virender sehwag!!! The BCCI must play its part and ensure that they don't kill whatever is left in sehwag by letting him play IPL!

Posted by JohnnyRook on (March 8, 2013, 4:17 GMT)

I am a big Sehwag fan but I don't want him back in Indian team. I want him to perform in domestic circuit and then get back in Indian team if he is the best opener we can have.No point bringing him back like Harbhajan Singh when clearly Ojha has been a better spinner than him consistently.

Posted by 123cric on (March 8, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

Harsha its Indian cricket don't forget IPL is just round the corner and these days thats the yardstick for getting back in the Indian team. I wont be surprised to se both Sehwag and Gambhir being back for the SA tour. Ideally if Sehwag is serious about his cricket he should have a stint in County cricket. The lack of media focus will do him a world of good to him.

Posted by passion4testcricket on (March 8, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

Thank you Harsha for such a wonderful analysis, We all want the Viru of 2007-2010... I'll be missing him a lot, he is the one who had most 150+ scores, when he is batting it all looks like a bollywood flick any thing can happen, I'll be missing that thrill & now there will be no reason to take a day off at work when india is playing a Test match... hope he returns back more fit & prove he is the same Viru of 2007-2010.

Posted by AndyBowls on (March 8, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

Of course, there is magic left in him. It will always be there. But no one needs magic from him now, he will always play that one magical innings. What is needed is consistency. A more apt question will be 'Does he still it in him to be consistent enough'? Not just as a batsman, but as a fielder too.

Posted by Rahulbose on (March 8, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

Sehwag will have more issues because during the break he will have to play IPL. In another era he could have gone to Eng and got his form back that way. As for opener slot, there will be an opening the moment Murali vijay steps out of India.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (March 8, 2013, 3:48 GMT)

Sehwag was a great legend player. I know it's time for him to just play IPL and be happy. I can still see Sehwag playing ODI cricket for india. I hope he is not finished.

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Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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