Sanjay Manjrekar
Former India batsman; now a cricket commentator and presenter on TV

How about Sehwag in the middle order?

He has always talked about how he would like to bat lower down. Perhaps he should be granted that wish now

Sanjay Manjrekar

September 13, 2013

Comments: 84 | Text size: A | A

VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag celebrate India's victory, Sri Lanka v India, 3rd Test, P Sara Oval, 5th day, August 7, 2010
Could Sehwag briefly be India's new VVS? © AFP
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The Indian selectors have done the right thing by including some senior stalwarts of Indian cricket in the India A team against West Indies A. I believe that when you drop players of the calibre of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan for poor form, you should also be keen to have them back when their form returns.

Dropping established senior players can have two effects. One: the player takes being dropped so much to heart that he never recovers from the jolt, and comes back a shadow of himself. Two: the player comes back with the vigour and intent of old, and the team ends up getting a few good seasons out of him.

Sehwag is an interesting case here. We have heard stories about Zaheer and Yuvraj Singh training hard to get back to peak fitness. Gambhir has gone to England, knowing that good performances there tend to make news in the Indian media, thus putting pressure on the selectors to pick him. But what is Sehwag doing? We haven't heard much about his activities. He seems to have chosen to keep a low profile.

This can be easily misinterpreted as him having no desire to return to Indian cricket, unlike his three colleagues, but we must be careful to not draw such conclusions, just as much as we ought not to be too carried away by Zaheer's and Yuvraj's "exotic" training stints in France. In both cases the judgement should be made on pure performance and fitness, based on the players' showings against West Indies A.

Sehwag has always done things differently. He has batted differently and so also prepared for matches differently. Maybe these unique methods happened to suit his general approach to life, but you cannot grudge a player an approach that has brought him success over 103 Tests in 12 years. He has had a hugely successful run and it is natural for him to keep trusting the process that brought him such incredible results.

I heard a story once of how VVS Laxman was having a knock on the morning of the last day of a Test series, though he had no role to play in the rest of the match. So also Sehwag, who asked VVS, "What's the point of this knock when your next match is two months later?" That's how Sehwag thinks. But while you can easily be fooled by his casual demeanour, for him to have played more than 100 Tests, there has to be a burning desire inside along with some god-gifted talent.

Obviously Sehwag fans are excited that he is back in the reckoning and are hoping that he clicks in the two India A games and comes back into the national team. Well, unfortunately for them, even if he gets two hundreds in those two games, the fact is that there is no place for Sehwag as an opener in this Indian team for a while. Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan have done so well as Test openers lately that the selectors will be obliged to give them a long run even if they fail. For Sehwag, who is 34, time is running out. At that age, one year in cricket is like a decade in another profession.

 
 
Sehwag deserves another break at Test level only if he has done something about his fitness. He must look a lot more youthful in the field than he did against England
 

So that brings us to what Sehwag has been saying for many years, even when he was getting runs by the ton as an opener: "I would like to bat in the middle order." It's a desire that he seems to have held forever as a Test batsman. I have held the view that for a natural middle-order batsman, he served India amazingly well as an opener when they desperately needed one, so how about granting him that wish before his career finishes?

If for no other reason, at least because there is a chance of an opening for him in the middle order. With India strongly committing towards youth, an experienced batsman with the cheek needed for that position, where you often have to bat with tailenders towards the end of an innings, may be able to add some value to the team. Sehwag could play the kind of innings VVS did for India in Tests.

Of course there is a possibility that he may find batting down the order after 170 innings at the top not so easy after all, but you cannot deny that this is a tempting idea, one you would like to see tried before he is finally let go.

Having said all this, here is what's really important. When Sehwag eventually arrives on the public stage to play in those India A matches, he must look like a player a selector would want to give that opportunity to. It was embarrassing, to say the least, to see in last year's home series against England, balls edged by batsmen hit various parts of Sehwag's body before he could react at slip. That was a serious fitness issue and it worried me more than his passage of low scores. Sehwag deserves another break at Test level only if he has done something about his fitness. He must look a lot more youthful in the field than he did the last time.

The new Indian team under MS Dhoni is big on fitness. We have seen the difference that has made to India's performance lately. The days where only skill mattered in Indian cricket seem to have gone.

If Sehwag wants another crack, he must know times have changed and there can be room only for a fit Sehwag.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by cricket.lover.at.his.best on (September 17, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

Well, I don`t think there is a lace for him in the Indian middle order either. Sadly, but I think it is almost an end to his carrier....

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

@Anvesh Amaravadi, Sehwag was "WAS" a game changer in a positive sense. later on he had become a game changer for India to lose the game. He should not be selected in the team at any cost. If none of the current youngsters are up to seam and swing currently, chances are they may learn. In comparison sehwag has no possibility of learning anything at this age. As Cricketsunami said he is a spent force that has lost his famous hand eye coordination.

Posted by Biggest_Cricket_Fan on (September 16, 2013, 1:50 GMT)

It's Deja-Vu of Sunny, Kapil saga. Few years back when these two players played together and when Sunil was "interested" in playing in middle order. This is ridiculous. Is India really running short on talent where they have to squeeze Sehwag just because he is Sehwag in the team. Come on guys I am sure India has talent and they don't need to go out of the route to bring him by allowing him to play in the middle order. So what's next if he gets little older in few years have him play lower order or even a tail-ender so opposition would be worried that there is Sehwag yet to come on number 11. Sanjay please don't float such ideas where people may start taking it seriously. I hope Sandeep Patil's selection committee will overlook his request to play in middle order. On the same lines we should include Zaheer as an offspinner bowler because now he can not run as he could in the past. No I am not even comparing him with Kapil about whom people used to say same along with Sunny's request.

Posted by Nampally on (September 15, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

Sanjay, In connection with your comments on the Yuvraj & ZAK working on an intensive fitness program in France, I had a comment to share.I was so impressed to read about Yuvraj's century in First ODI- India A Vs. WI A, that this fitness program is worth following by all Cricketers as an excellent model. Here is a guy who lost his place in the Indian Team to Jadeja because he no longer had the stamina to be the All Rounder which he was during the Indian World cup Victory. Beating cancer for any human being needs lot of luck, mental & physical strength. Yuvraj did this first & then was determined to make his way back to the spot he had lost. His supervised Fitness program under an expert in France helped him to get back into peak physical shape. He hit 7 Sixers & 8 fours in his century @ a S/R of 138. Why not other senior Cricketers like Sehwag, take a page out of Yuvraj's program to prove their form, if only to justify the Selectors' faith in them. Way to go Yuvraj!

Posted by Alexk400 on (September 15, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

Sehwag needs to given few more chances. But can he play conservatively and not throw away wicket like he does in ODI and T20 because ball is old and he can hit out from first ball?. I think Its tougher to play patient game for him. For me sehwag needs to learn patience. if he is patient and just collecting runs he can do wonders for india in TEST level and even india can come back to number1. But for me sehwag is not listening type. he could have fixed all his problem by being patient. He threw away his wicket against team's own interest. People get tired of him throwing his wicket easily. You have to bring something new every time. People can not select you on your past reputation , you have to show what you got now. Sehwag has to make century to get selected again. Thats min. If he is not out that will show me he is ready for middle order.

Posted by Alexk400 on (September 15, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

Sehwag has all the talent to play anywhere. Its his moods that caused him problem. he needs to think positively but bat conservatively. :)

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (September 15, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

There is no point in investing in a 34 old player in the highly talented Team India middle order.Moreever I do not agree with Sanjay it is neither pay back time by the selectors nor he can challenge the youngsters.MSD is the person along with selectors can decide whether they really need viru if so where . It is not intention of the player alone . He has to fit into Team India scheme. I do not have much faith in Viru as of now either in his form or commitment towards Team India.He always has got grudge against MSD with Gauti it is better both of them should be guarded by selectors if they want to make comeback.Especially Mr.Gauti has to be cautioned towards making silly comments about team strategy and finishing style of MSD .Hope team gels together towards larger goal retaining World Cup and regaining the no 1 spot in test matches than giving more importance to Viru 's statements and sanjay's opinion.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

He could do what Gilchrist did for Aussies lower the order for another two years....provided he has good attitude and fitness and leaves the "did u see my catch" stunts at home....

Posted by S.Jagernath on (September 14, 2013, 21:03 GMT)

Virender Sehwag's 'Flat Track Bully' exploits only actually began later in his career.He was actually a very competent player on very green & bouncy pitches.He has a hundred at Trent Bridge on a quick surface & a hundred on debut at Bloemfontein on a green top also.He has played classics against spin in tough conditions also.A flat track bully relies on others to do the tough work for them also,Sehwag has taken tough jobs & done them successfully too.Flat Track Bullies bat best when a series is lost,yet Sehwag often sets up a series by helping India to an early test win.Sehwag even scored a couple 50s in Australia in 2011/12 in some bouncy conditions too.He doesn't have the discipline or technique or sheer brilliance in tough conditions of Rahul Dravid or Sachin Tendulkar,but Sehwag has been almost as important for India.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (September 14, 2013, 20:53 GMT)

@MrRahulDravid.Virender Sehwag has a test average in excess of 49.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (September 14, 2013, 20:48 GMT)

Virender Sehwag is as talented & gifted as cricketers get.Over the years though,he has slowly allowed his laziness to overpower his gifts.Sehwag never seems to make a real effort in the field,he runs poorly & caused many other players to lose out on runs & even lose their wickets.Sehwag lacks the concentration plainly.He is old & maybe Ajinkya Rahane should rather be persisted with,Rahane has the speed,fitness & determination.If Sehwag is willing to play as he did in 2001 at Bloemfontein,with a tight & solid backfoot technique then he may succeed again.

Posted by dr.achandra on (September 14, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

Stop living in the past guys ... People talk about Sehwag batting .. but what about his fielding .. he is a liability on the field... He did a good job for Indian cricket but now he is well past his due date ... SO no point in bringing up his name again and again. Just move on !

Posted by praneethtz on (September 14, 2013, 17:01 GMT)

I think sehwag has never done justice to the talent.He is careless,not fit very casual in his approach.Thanks to dada for promoting him to open the batting which made him successful other wise god knows wer sehwag would have been..next month he turns 35 which is no more young days .so selectors should think twice before he selects him.if he is fit and in form then he is the best though

Posted by Nampally on (September 14, 2013, 15:41 GMT)

Sanjay, you end up your article with "If Sehwag wants another crack, he must know that the times have changed & that there can be room for only a Fit Sehwag". This is 100% true. But in the earlier section you also mention that Sehwag is not doing anything special like ZAK or Yuvraj for his fitness. How do you think a "Fit Sehwag" will emerge from apparently doing nothing! Few year back Sehwag was sent home from the SA Tour due to poor performance. He worked hard on his technique & emerged with a new approach. This really resulted in a New Sehwag who demolished the best bowlers in the world. Sehwag is 34 now. If he has the WILL to make a comeback, he showed no signs of it! He needs to change his diet (lean & mean) + put in at least 3 hours of intense physical activity under the guidance of a weight reduction "Guru" + a Physician. He should aim at reducing his "Tummy" & improve flexibility to become more nimble & faster on his feet. That's the least he can do to show his will & Guts!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

Indian team is not at its peak right now. If we keep going back like this, when will we build a team for next decade? Sehwag, even if he comes back and performs, can last at the most a couple of seasons. (Though, it is very much doubtful as it is difficult for a 34 year player to recover from the slump, especially for a player who depends largely on eyesight, hand-eye co-ordination and not technique). Going back to him will also mean denying opportunities to the likes of Rahane, Rohit Sharma and hordes of younger players across India who have performed for A team recently. If that performance is not going to be counted then why play A team matches? If only a bunch of senior players are going to get all the sympathy for their past deeds, it only means that you are discouraging next generation. India has only beaten weak Aussie team, that too at home. Team needs to be stronger. Indian team, right now is no place for career resurrecting mela for oldies. It needs decisions only on merit.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

Sehwag needs to be given a fair run at no.4 or 5. He can be devastating against spinners and the second new ball. Plus for heaven's sake remember he has rightfully gained a place among the pantheons of Indian batting greats. Give the poor guy his due. It is not every day that an Indian opener scores over 20 tons, with 2 triple tons and 3-4 scores of over 200 and that too in such an audacious manner. Plus importantly, his knocks have won India matches. If the BCCI can go out of its way to "create" a series for Sachin , it is also not wrong to say that Sehwag needs to be given at least a few more chances for he too has served Indian cricket well in the recent past.

Posted by MR_RAHUL_DRAVID on (September 14, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

I can't believe this discussion is still even going on. He is so inconsistent and has a low average too, in the 30s. Stop living in the past, BCCI. Plan for the future and raise young test players.

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (September 14, 2013, 2:26 GMT)

The greatest indicator of a player/human's attitude in general is when they are asked to perform a task that is out of their regular scaope/line/abilities for eg a bowler to bat, a batsman asked to bowl part time, their effort when they field.....for all this Zak has a pathetic attitude to fielding, when called to bat etc.....there is no 'over my dead body attitude' for eg - glenn Mcg, gillespie, vaas etc, in the field he is a massive liability, all thru the Aus tour of 2011-12 he was content to bowl at 130 odd and just wait for the new ball to make things happen, does India seriously require him?I hope he has played his last test, not taking anything away from him when he was good, but surely this is the end of the road for him....Thanks for the memories - good bye!

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 2:12 GMT)

@Jimbond, better options would be - Sehwag, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Jadeja, Dhoni, Irfan, Ashwin, Mishra, Zaheer & Yadav....under typical subcon conditions. Seam / fast bowling conditions, replace Mishra with Bhuvi. ...Provided Sehwag & Zaheer are 120% fit in terms of fielding. Sehwag unfit gives way to Sharma, Zaheer unfit gives way to Bhuvi in which case, the 3rd quick would be Praveen, Ishwar, Ishant - depending on who is fit, in rhythm et al. 3 allrounders in Jadeja, Irfan & Ashwin allow us to play 3 proper spinners, & 2 proper quicks, backed by Irfan in subcon conditions, 2 proper spinners & 3 proper quicks elsewhere.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (September 14, 2013, 1:24 GMT)

Sehawag will be a good middle order for sure. He was never the best player against the moving ball. But for spinners he is a nightmare. But stilll looking at the long future i hope guys like Rohit Sharma or Rahane gets a chance ahead of Sehwag in playing XI.

Posted by spinkingKK on (September 14, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

Sehwag should be tried at Tendulkar's spot.

Posted by Sathyasing on (September 14, 2013, 0:39 GMT)

Viru is a kind of person who is honest and sticks to his nature. We need to respect this gentlemen and provide some space if he is willing to serve the nation.I guess team balance and other sensitive issues are taking a toll on his career.

Posted by cool_sande on (September 13, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

I always believed that one has to pay for what he does.He never really cared about his fitness and now he is reaping the reward.If you have a chance, please take a look at Sehwag's photos earlier in his career and late part of his career. If Sehwag cant learn whats fitness and work ethic from Dravid and Sachin, with whom he batted in his entire career, you cant expect him to learn from anyone else.

Posted by MadhavY on (September 13, 2013, 22:47 GMT)

let's say magically Sehwag bats at 5 or 6 and fails in a couple of matches. then Sanjay writes an other article sehwag is not suited for middle order, he's an opener and should open. I've never seen someone with Sanjay's reputation changing their stands like he does.

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (September 13, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

The caption in the article asks whether Sehwag can briefly be India's new VVS. That obviously can't be. While VVS was patient, and one came to rely on him to play long innings (often to pull India out of doldrums), Sehwag was one of the contributors of India being in doldrums. I do agree Sehwag has the capability of taking the opposition bowlers to the cleaners, regardless of how good that attack is. But given Sehwag's nature, we can only expect what we have seen of him of late -- once in a blue moon player who looks amazing when he's got it going, and looks awful when he fails! He does not need practice at the top level -- he needs hypnosis: aim to stay at the crease longer -- longer -- longer!

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

To come back to the Indian side, Sehwag needs to do a number of things: 1. Get runs against strong opposition at the domestic level in Ranji cricket (Mumbai, Baroda, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Delhi and maybe Karnataka are strong teams to do it against); 2. Improve on his fitness, and his agility in fielding, and running between wickets; 3. Prove his worth as an all-rounder by bowling in matches in which he is playing, and taking a good number of wickets, which he should look to build on, and is quite capable of it; 4. Improve his relations with Dhoni & Co., which I'm afraid have not been good of late; 5. Hire a good personal manager who will take care of him personally, who will tell him what to do, what to say, and how to act in certain situations, that will convince his critics that he's still got it in him to play for India; 6. Throw his "I can't care less" attitude to the wind, that is currently not working for him at the moment. Then his request shall be granted, otherwise...........

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

@cricketsunami, Team means not the letters T E A M it means its members, you have to give due importance to its members. You don't have a proven member in this current Indian young batsmen who can face Swing and bounce well, hell they weren't able to face Junaid Khan last year in an ODI series in Indian Pitches, how can you say they gonna play well in SA, ENG, NZ, and AUS in Tests. You need youth and also experience. Sehwag is a game changer Team owes him a chance to get back. Yes Sehwag is not a great player of swing and bounce, but he can scare bowlers so that they wont' even target him. Going for all youth is what Aus did and won 4-0 in Australia vs India they were happy, you know what followed. who said you have to grind if you lose early wickets, grinding is not for winners, scoring is for winners.

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (September 13, 2013, 19:26 GMT)

I was in favour of David Warner at 6 for Australia and Sehwag at 6 for India would be great. My fear is that Sehwag in the middle-order would become one-dimensional, attack-mode only. This is great when the batting side is ahead. But at 75-4 one would not want Sehwag coming to the wicket.

Ultimately, the decision comes with the from the success of the top-order. If Indian selectors think they will be solid and ahead of the game: Sehwag can bat at 5 or 6. But if the top-order is fragile there is no way Sehwag can come in then.

The West Indies matches are an ideal opportunity to try it out as they should pose no threat. At 300-3/4, Sehwag down the order would be amazing!

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (September 13, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

Sehwag's fitness is his main worry now. Not sure about getting him in middle order over players like karthik,kohli,dhoni,raina.The sultan of multan will have to work hard.

Posted by VoxPopuli on (September 13, 2013, 18:50 GMT)

Sehwag as new VVS might work better for Sehwag. But the reality is that VVS himself will be out of place with the current Indian team! The current team is doing fine and all should look forward. Has served well in the past ..." is not a good enough reason to be on the team. And, you don't need to disturb the balance of a team that is delivering to make way for someone - even if he can deliver. Sehwag has had enough chances, done well, and this is a good time for him to move on. Rather now than at a time when the team is not settled.

Posted by kal0408 on (September 13, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

Good thought of getting Sehwag back into test team. I was a little apprehensive of the views expressed by Sanjay as fitness being the question more worried about including Sehwag in test team. I would say... if Dhoni can survive without scoring runs in tests, without enough technique to play in test matches, may be Sehwag can be given a chance purely for his contribution with bat.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

Only if and when Sachin retires do I see Sehwag returning into this Indian team.. Don't Get me wrong, I am his biggest fan.. But Pujara and Kohli have established themselves one would think and Jadeja gives the additional bowling option.. The other three spots are the two openers and the wicket keeper.. At 34, I do not see Sehwag returning to play a test match for India.. It would be a terrible loss for India if Sehwag does not take field once more.. But this team seems to have a very stronger balance to it without Sehwag and dare I say without Sachin too..

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

Disagree big time...I would rather invest in the young brigade...a batting line up of vijay,dhawan,pujara,kohli,raina/rohit,dhoni jadeja....dropping any one of them would be a shame..And not to mention the next in line...karthik,rahane,rayudu etc etc...Tendulkar no doubt one of the greatest to play the game should have retired a lot earlier..it would have added to his greatness..

Posted by ProdigyA on (September 13, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Though I am big fan of Sehwag, that thing that annoys me the most about him is in unprofessional attitude. He is just too careless and casual to be representing India at the highest level. He was a very gifted player and almost everything about him is natural, which made up for his careless attitude when he was young. But with age catching up he cannot take his talents for granted, he has to work hard and show that he wants to be there. Selectors have done a good job to give him a second chance, hope he can prove himself again but he has to work very hard on his fitness.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (September 13, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

Shewag can be tried in the middle order. But I would rather give Gambhir that chance. Gambhir was so good at one point, every one thought he could be a long term replacement in place of Dravid and that he possibly could lead India as well. He is completely out of form, does not seem to have a desire. Once he can prove that he still has it in him and comes back in form, he is much better than Shewag to give a place. We can not have both Gambhir and Shewag. Shewag will have to go now, we have seen him enough. Gmabhir will have to prove his case.

Posted by Temuzin on (September 13, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

Further, Sehwag was never comfortable with seam and movement in foreign conditions. He along with Gambhir were main problem in batting during 8-0 drubbing of India in two countries. They could not provide a solid foundation team needed at that time and will not be able to provide any at this age. Gambhir's 2-3 innings in English county this year is a proof he has lost it. Both should be kept out of the team. Zaheer should be roped in as a bowling coach rather than player. He is old and injury prone. Out of all three seniors, only Yuvraj should be considered if he is fit and inform.

Posted by McGorium on (September 13, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

If Sanjay is referring to test cricket (I believe he his), I'd tend to agree. Sehwag took a huge risk career-wise by agreeing to open (Recall, VVS Laxman's career would have surely ended with his failed opening stint in the 99 Aus series, but for a brilliant 167 at Sydney). No middle order batsman before him had done *well* at the top for India but it was the only way he could play for India. I suppose now's a good time to try him out in the middle order, if he's in form. At any rate, we can't have Dhavan and Viru opening in tests: the risk of being 20/2 in 3 overs is pretty high. Now, if we can get SRT to retire, #4 would be ideal for Viru, form permitting ;-)

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (September 13, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

'Sehwag deserves another break at Test level only if he has done something about his fitness.' No - any player gets a chance only if they are fit and have proved form first of all domestically and then in an A tour. If Sehwag's slow reactions at slip were of more concern that his 2 years of low scores then you're missing the big picture Sanjay. Which player would you want to deprive of an opportunity to give Sehwag an opportunity a chance?

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (September 13, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

This all makes sense, but I have always believed that Dhoni & Sehwag have never got along very well with each other. So chances of Sehwag making a comeback are very slim. Whenever the openers were "rotated" or "rested" in ODIs, Sehwag was always the first to be left out under Dhoni. Dhoni has his backers who will justify this,, but the fact remains that Dhoni has never been a Sehwag supporter. If it is a 50-50 case for Sehwag to be included in the team, forget about it..he won't get a chance as long as Dhoni is there. Also, since Dhoni has had decent success as a Test captain recently, nobody will make a noise about his decisions. Sehwag in the middle order is a great hypothetical idea though :-)

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Interesting idea from Sanjay. But where is the place for Sehwag? Ravindra Jadeja at 7 provides the team with a lot more balance and he has done everything right to get an extended run in the test team and he has to be a sureshot regular particularly in home conditions. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have taken their chances and established themselves. The only opening is at number 4 when Tendulkar retires. But to take that number 4 position, Sehwag has to work incredibly hard on his fitness and prove his form and consistency. Sehwag's inconsistencies at the top could be offset by the kind of impact he could have had in that position. Even if he failed, Gambhir/Dravid/VVS could stabilize things. But at 4, the consistency would matter more as 2 quick wickets in the middle of the innings can hand the other side the momentum.

Posted by AsherCA on (September 13, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

Sehwag in the middle order might be fine, but just imagine an opening pair of Dhawan & Sehwag - no respite for the bowlers, need to keep changing lines since one is a Left hander & the other a right hander. Any one of them can take the fielding side to the cleaners, there would be 2 together !

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

sehwag could be like adam gilchrist at no. 6 for ind. He could be a game breaker with run-a-ball hundreds in the middle. Is a good idea.

Posted by Temuzin on (September 13, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

Absolutely disagree with Manjeraker. The youngsters are gelling together as a successful team and there is no reason to derail that process. Sehwag is a spent force and a very lazy fielder. Including him in the team at any position will be be akin to taking 10 steps backward from the current progress of tem India.

Posted by Nampally on (September 13, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

Kudos to the Selectors for their faith in some of the senior Cricketers & to give them another chance to prove their Form, Fitness & performance. Sehwag even in his so-called slump always scored a few runs each time he came to bat. The problem was his runs were more in 20's rather than in 50's & 100's. The real issue with Sehwag is his fitness which is a challenge. Why did he go on the England tour straight from being bed ridden, following his shoulder surgery? That really started his downward spiral. He never really recovered his fitness. Sehwag was rated as the best off spinner in India by Bedi- even better than Harbhajan, about 10 years ago. With his gammy shoulder his bowling is "iffy" +fielding questionable. He was the most feared batsman in the World. Dhawan at his best is still no match for Sehwag at his best. A fit Sehwag (25 Lbs. lighter) at #1 or #5, can still be as good as gold.India still does not have an opening partner for Dhawan - who is better than a Fit Sehwag? Nobody!

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 13, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

he is like dave warner in that he should either open or bat at 6

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

Very good article, especially the last lines on fitness !

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

Good article this as always Sanjay. Sehwag should deffo be the No.5 till Sachin reties and then No.4 for the next 2-3 years. There is a lot left in him. And I can never understand why under Dhoni's captaincy he has bowled so less. He is a handy off spinner. But yes I hope he takes care of his fitness and comes back. Great talent. Though I would like to see Kohli take the No.4 soon, I would like to wait and learn from Sachin and Sehwag before he makes that position his own.

Posted by CricketChat on (September 13, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

Opening IS the most appropriate slot for a player like Shewag technique and temperament. Does not have the mentality like a Dravid or Laxman to grind out and build a slow innings especially as the ball gets softer. He gets the maximum result when the ball is hard as long as it doesn't move in the air a lot (remember the king pair and other failures in Eng last year) as he he usually hits through the line. One must also weigh in that he is a poor fielder and doesn't bowl any more. So, with his fitness and confidence at his all time low, he is not a good investment for the future. I say this even though I am a big fan of him and firmly believe he had won many matches for India in all formats through his rapid scoring and more than useful bowling in the past.

Posted by sjohn on (September 13, 2013, 12:34 GMT)

@Tom 'Wolfie' Skelton, who said Lara played until 40. Of all the batsmen, it was Lara who had a lot quality cricket left in him. He was playing the same way he played in his youth until he was forced out. He was 37 when he retired.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

Till dhoni is captain, chance of taking shewag in is very slim. I hope he comes in to the Indian team atleast under virat.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

With 8500 test runs at an average of nearly 50, and a strike rate of 82 (in test cricket!) I'm amazed that Sehwag can't make the side. With guys like Lara, Jayasuria and Tendulkar playing until they were 40+ it's not like 34 is too old... Sehwag could have 6 years left yet.

Posted by sony_sr on (September 13, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

@apki100, with your logic, no-one in this world can write an article about bradman :)

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Are we all chasing myth here? Sehwag is no Dravid- it will be difficult for him to be back here he was. His gift was the coordination he had but age does take a toll players like him. He never was an extremely fit guy and age is not kind to people like that

Posted by vishmanc on (September 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

The strength Sehwag can provide to middle order is when he bats at no 4. Being a Middle order batsman and coming at no-6 is not that effective bcoz u run out of top order and have to bat with tail. I agree to this that he should bat in middle order but at no-4 or 5. when he is in full flow he hit the new ball very badly which obviously will turn and swing, so how about hitting slightly old ball which turn less or might be no movement.

Posted by Naresh28 on (September 13, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

Cricket articles coming out have been quite nice to read of late. This article by Sanjay and another I read just now by Siddarth Mongia about Sreesanth was also good. Keep up the work guys. Another by Ed smith was good as well. Cricinfo is one website which I enjoy very much. I agree with Sanjay - dont throw away some of these oldies until you are certain they are no longer of use to the team. This might be the driving force that has kept BCCI/selectors from dropping Sachin. Also as some fans are saying here - lets not discard the good work created by the selectors. We just need to select the best team.

Posted by gamespiritfirst on (September 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

sanjay, it would be wonderful if he gets picked and perform, all of us wants it. @apki100 if sanjay doesnt have the credentials to say something about sehwag then what credentials you have to say something about sanjay.i am wondering what would you have written if this article is written by somebody like harsha. if you cant respect cricketers how can you respect cricket. and more if the cricketer is a gentleman as humble as sanjay manjrekar. if you have anybody around you who really understand the word technique(as used in cricket while batting), then ask him what credentials sanjay manjrekar got. may be you have not seen sanjay playing or just seen him playing in some of the odis later in his carrer. how many of your players have a double century and a century against a bowling attack of Imran, wasim, waqar, qadir(PLAYING IN PAKISTAN), century against Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh,Bishop(IN WESTINDIES) when they rules the world. Top eight scores outside india and played almost career outsi

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

Wow! Always thought Sanjay was one to call a spade a spade but... Shewag was great, undeniably and arguably the most explosive Indian batsmen. He has redefined tests with his ability to score fast and score much in the first innings and immediately put the opposition in a game saving mode. His 300s and 200 (ODI) is what bards should glorify; but ... a batsman past his time is so regardless of the position he plays in. Given his recent record, he is more a threat to the Indian team. Bad attitude, low scores and poor fielding. When he gets out, the opposition is upbeat, so also when he drops catches and cribs on team issues. We have a new crop who are doing quite well so let them be. If you are so insistent on having an oldie, there is Tendulkar. Or better yet why not also look to other greats like Vishy, Gavaskar, Shaz or even Sanjay himself.

Posted by king_julien on (September 13, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

Finallyy....an article on what I have been writing in every single article on Sehwag :) . He was always a middle order bat and when no one in India was willing to open from the fab 4, Sehwag selflessly agreed to open and had such a good run. Since last 2-3 years, even when he was test cricketer of the year, he expressed his desire to bat in the middle. But somehow he was the only player who's wish was not given an ear. Its time he's given his due. This man's name was debated even when the all time world 11 was being discussed. This guy has a better strike rate in Tests than Lara and Ponting in ODIs!!!

After Sachin our middle order will have no experienced player. There never has been a successful test side without 1-2 experienced players in the middle. India can get 2-3 good seasons out of him till youngsters establish themselves.

@apki100 going by your logic, you should not be commenting on Sanjay then. And no one of us should comment on any player as they have played more than us

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

ya i happy because sehwag & gambhir was out of team. it is right for both player.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

i think that the guys like Zaheer Sehwag Gambhir Yuvi Praveen Kumar Uthappa Chawla Munaf must play some cricket outside india like county cricket shield games in aus or play domestic matches in sa rather than wasting their time playing in india they must prove them to the selectors we are ready to play in any conditions like scoring hundreds in bouncy pitches or it is difficult these players must turn into r20 pros playing t20 matches all around the world like azhar mahmood nannes

Posted by apki100 on (September 13, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

Sanjay, is pleasantly unaware that Sehwag is training at the academy in Chennai for the upcoming season and achieving full fitness to perform as he is used to. Any way what are Manjrekar's credentials to be able to assess someone like Sehwag who is streets ahead in his performances. Just because you have played a few test matches without distinguishing yourself in them does not give you the right to sit in judgement over far superior players.

Posted by Freddie2020 on (September 13, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Sehwag in middle order will not be successful. His strength is brisk scoring which tilts the scale in India's favour. A scoring rate of 82 + in tests is a testimony to his impact. Certailny I would not like him to bat lower down the order. I do not agree with Manjerekar. He is a match winner and he would contribute to the same only when he opens the innings.

Posted by moBlue on (September 13, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

...(continuing)...

... other than pujara and kohli, no one else in this new generation have proven themselves outside IND! SA ain't gonna be a cakeWalk for anyone! i for one, am glad sachin hung around! i'd love to have sehwag play in SA in the middle order... after all, sehwag's first test hundred came against SA on a lightning quick bloomfontein pitch - in sehwag's test debut inning, no less! - with IND reeling at 68 for 4, and sehwag coming in at #6 to accompany sachin! both scored hundreds and IND were yet taken to the cleaners in that test!!!

i'm surprised many of you have such faith in batters like rohit sharma and suresh raina! i don't see any hint - other than ian chappel's ramlings! - that neither one can succeed in tests outside IND! even the prodigious kohli struggled first in oz before finally succeeding... and he had the right temperament for test cricket, unlike rohit, and no weakness against short-pitched bowling, unlike raina! with so many x-factors, i back sehwag!!!

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

If Yuvraj Singh is fit he can make a come back to one day internationals and T20s. He is 32 years of age and have at least 3 years of cricket left in him in limited overs format. Also, if Zaheer Khan is fit, he can make a comeback in Test matches and can play for at least one more year. He is approaching a great landmark of 300 Test wickets which he duly deserve and must be given chance to reach there, but only if he is fit. Gautam Gambhir has serious attitude problem and I am sure he will never ever be able to make a comeback again . Now coming to Sehwag, he is a proven great player. But he is at wrong side of age and it doesn't make any sense to give him any chance again. It is the right time Rohit Sharma should be introduced to test cricket. Most probably Sachin will retire after West Indies series and Rohit is the perfect candidate to replace him. Sandeep Patil has shown some real vision by giving opportunities to youngsters. I hope Patil will stick to his vision.

Posted by moBlue on (September 13, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

it is absolutely ridiculous that IND fans think - and manjrekar suggests - that sehwag's career could be finished, for instance, if he drops a few dollies at first slip...

sehwag is one of the most amazing test crickters IND has ever produced! not only was/is his talent unique, his fearlessness and self-confidence - and his penchant for backing himself, despite the commentators' opinions and even despite the conditions on the ground - caused formidable strike bowlers to be fearful of him in test matches!!! how many times have we seen sehwag make it look ridiculously easy in test matches only for even one as talented as dravid to follow him and struggle all of a sudden against the same bowling attack?!!!

yet... manjrekar and some of y'all want to treat sehwag like he is just another batsman! he is not! he is a matchWinner, through and through! may i point out we don't have too many of those in this "youthful" team at the moment! i don't care if he drops catches, but don't drop him!!!

Posted by jango_moh on (September 13, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

this notion that sehwag cannot play on bouncy tracks is a farce, and ppl who say that are just going with the cliches and probably not watched enough of sehwag's innings!!! sehwag is as good or as bad as any other indian or subcontinent batsman(except for a select few) on bouncy tracks... his debut was in SA where he scored a 100 on a bouncy wicket when india were 5 down for 80 or so, and he scored pretty good on his first series in eng where the ball was swinging like a banana... but recently, i feel he has lost his hand eye coordination, and thats the reason he's been out of form, if he can get that back then he's perfect for the middle order, if not then i guess there's no place for him unfortunately!!!

Posted by vatsap on (September 13, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

Unless Sehwag/Gambhir/Yuvraj prove themselves in good tracks, there is no point recalling them in the name of experience. The youngsters have done well and they need to be persisted and also presented with opportunities to play in SA/Eng/Aus. WE will never unearth the next big talents if we keep going back to a lot who have been given umpteen chances. And for all those writing about bowlers being scared of Sehwag, that was eons ago, and inside the sub continent.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

Sehwag is a class player and I have always felt, he should occupy the No 4 slot in the Test side once Sachin retires. Now that Sachin's peformances are going South, we should fit him in there. Sehwag still has a few years left in him and he can be aggressive and dictate terms to the bowlers, which, Tendulkar, hasn't been able to do, for the past couple of years

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

I think Indian test team should- 1) Dhawan 2) Sehwag 3) Pujara 4) Tendulkar 5) Kohli 6) Gambhir 7) Dhoni n 4 bowlers...

Posted by sony_sr on (September 13, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

rohit sharma and rahane should be given preference ahead of shewag. even manpreet juneja who has a first class average of close to 80 is a better option than shewag in many ways.

Posted by Shawn_Shaligram on (September 13, 2013, 5:05 GMT)

Well written article by Sanjay but the question lies in where will Sehwag bat in the middle order. After the India-Australia series, the Indian Test Team seem to be a settled unit where 3. Pujara 4. Tendulkar 5. Kohli 6. Dhoni and 7. Jadeja. I just don't see a spot opening up for Viru unless the team decides to pick him over Jadu in the India-SA test series (which hopefully takes place)! Sanjay mentioned fitness in the latter half of the article and in that aspect as well Jadeja triumphs Sehwag.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

Shewag and Gambir failed due to their arrogant attitude. They built their own coffins. It will be distraction for the team. Instead I would bring back Dravid if he is fit at least for a year.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

I wonder why we are so obsessed about having these people in the side...sehwag at 35 is at the max good enough for at most next year or so...Pray what gambhir has done to be picked ahead of a player scoring 2 150+ against the aussies...?..not to mention his arrogance..Rahane rohit manoj tiwari n even abhishek nayar has 55+ average in FC..if you dont value your 1st class structure,why waste money over it..sachin is over 40..what exactly we expect him to do now that we are carrying him around??

Posted by Iceman29 on (September 13, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

Thats some ridiculous article Mr. Manjerakar...we all know why Sehwag and Gambhir were removed from the team...form is one thing and the important reason is they cannot play in bouncy tracks and was not able to provide good starts which India required...they have wasted so many oppurtunities and when they knew they lost eveything one has gone to England to play county and other one well we dont even know what he was doing here....why they have not taken these steps when they were in Indian team...they took their place for granted and they are paying the price for that now...I say give them a last chance not as openers but in the middle order and make them earn their place...no one should take their place as granted in the Indian Team..

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

Agree that there can be room only for a fit Sehwag However I have few points 1. Indian Cricket system has long been ruled by names than performance / form / fitness I wish if we just do away with names and put last one years record on plate to choose players.. 2. performance against WestIndies A may not be good indicator to replace someone playing well at top 3. If dropping a stalwart has negative impact on his mindset , then he was indeed rightfully dropped. afterall they are stalwarts for no reason 4. Why not have a rotation policy compulsory that gives opportunity for everyone to perform at top and then judge people over a time for various factors ? At the moment there is no fair opportunity to all at top level. Few players get selected based on domestic scores but end up carrying water and then dropped. This list should include the dropped stalwarts as well to be fair to them.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

i heard shewag has been trainning in mrf pace academy in chennai

Posted by android_user on (September 13, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

Although the idea of having a fit Sehwag in the middle order is very appealing, there are two things which raise a red flag in my mind. Why should we look backwards? We have an extremely fit young team, so why spoil the culture? The other thing is that Sehwag and fitness is not congruous!

But having said all this, I also have to admit that I'm an unabashed Sehwag fan. The joy he has given us is unparalleled. His fearless batting at the top of the order made test cricket so watchable!

So let me make a suggestion which probably only fans can make. Lets drop Sachin and play Sehwag in his place! Now that's a fantasy world I live in!!

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

Superb one again Sanjay sir. Well thought out but I still believe that we have too many better guys to look out for......Rohit ,Rahane ,Manpreet, Jadhav ,Chand, Mandeep , Rayadu, karthik and many more in Indian Team ahead of Sehwag as middle order batsman. As far as opening is considered I would first go for Dhawan, Vijay , Mukund, Jiwanjyot and of course Gautam Gambhir....then comes the number of Viru.

With all the respect to Sehwag,i believe he is stubborn and such players who do not respect team unity and especially a captain must not even be considered because 1 bad fish can destroy entire pool and we saw it. Once he was dropped from that Delhi ODI 2013 , Indian cricket changed for good.

I loved his style and he was a legend but we have grown above him in past few seasons and I believe he is not at all required. Gautam gambhir must be our back up opener as he is some one who can handle any attack in any conditions. A proven legend Gambhir is and he brings energy into side.

Posted by pull_shot on (September 13, 2013, 4:26 GMT)

He is most god gifted player from india (atleast) now days oeople call him he can score on. flat tracks some things to be noted. Opening outside asia new ball is d major problem where as in sub continent old is major problem. So we need to give some edge for them while judging them. sehwag failed in SA;ENG;AUS tours now for SA series name a opening batsman scored 100 in SA vs steyn morkel; now in ENG he was not match fit beacause of surgery and was hurried back to team so I think he failed in AUS tour with hs 81 but remember he. has. success in previous AUS tour and before AUS tour and after that he didn't score in india as well. Though he failed in these series his away record is better than many good players like mahela and same apply to outside asia playees do u know average of Ian Bell in sub continent.

Posted by usernames on (September 13, 2013, 4:18 GMT)

Oh, come on. Why should anyone be granted something? It's a professional sport, and we're out there to win. We can field at least 15 batsmen who are better than Sehwag right now, and if you take the emotions out of it (which you must), there's no reason why Sehwag should be back.

Even if we lose a few series, it's worth noting that great teams aren't a product of easy victories. A couple of seniors in the team won't help us in the long term in any case. If we lose, the youngsters will get a lot more experienced, and that will be a lot better for the next, say, 5 years.

Sehwag also isn't a Dravid or a Tendulkar in that he isn't going to "inspire" your youngsters too much. India, right now, is fielding about three teams in different countries and winning everything thrown at them. Our senior team is doing well, A teams (both of them) are doing well, and there's people who aren't even getting a chance. Gambhir might be back, based on how he fares, but Sehwag? No, sir!

Posted by May4sBeWithThem on (September 13, 2013, 4:18 GMT)

Let's see. Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant, Umesh represents our most balanced team. The only person I see Viru replacing for now is Sachin, which is unlikely to happen for the next 2 series, by which time it might be too late. Also, Viru's contenders are Gautam, Rohit, Raina and possibly Karthik - and Viru will need to outperform them significantly to get a look-in.

Posted by jimbond on (September 13, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

The best team that India can come up with currently (if all the players are fit and in form) is Dhawan, Gambhir, Kohli, Pujara, Sharma, Sehwag, Dhoni, Mishra, Bhuvaneswar Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Yadav. This will of course put a lot of bowling pressure on Mishra and Kumar (especially if Zaheer Khan's health goes down), but brings a lot of balance to the team especially in foreign conditions. In the subcontinent, Yadav can be replaced by Jadeja/Ashwin

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