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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Sehwag must resist middle-order temptation

His request to move down the order may not necessarily be beneficial for him or the team

Ian Chappell

September 22, 2013

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag hits out during his 38 off 33, India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 4th day, September 3, 2012
Much of Virender Sehwag's aura as a batsman is bound up in his aggressive approach, which a move down the order would probably diminish © Associated Press

Despite his early history as a middle-order batsman, Virender Sehwag's request to finish his career there, rather than opening, may not necessarily be beneficial for him or the team.

For starters, Sehwag is ignoring his own advice. He once told the dashing young Australian opener David Warner he would eventually become a better Test player than a T20 batsman. Warner, playing for the aptly named Delhi Daredevils, seemed surprised at the suggestion and asked for his reasoning. "Because," replied Sehwag, "in a Test match the field is 'up' for the new ball and there are plenty of gaps to hit through."

That situation also means there are fewer infielders in position to take catches, and for a player like Sehwag, who hits the ball in the air regularly, that's a major consideration.

Then there's the not-so-minor matter of Sehwag setting the pattern of play at the top of the order. When you come in lower down, the rhythm of the innings is already established, and with a few wickets down, a batsman's approach may need to alter. He no longer starts on an equal footing with the bowlers.

Take the way Sehwag plays spinners, for example. In the past he has shown little respect for spinners and, upon their introduction, he has set about trying to drive them into oblivion via the farthest reaches of the grandstand. As an opener, when he has already pummelled the faster bowlers for a quick-fire 60 and got the team off to a flying start, Sehwag is afforded some leniency when he then holes out in the deep.

However, when Sehwag is dismissed in the middle order for a low score and sets off a batting collapse by attempting an outlandish onslaught on a spinner, it's likely to test the selectors' patience.

Sehwag will have to take these and other matters, like having to wait to bat, into account if he returns to the middle order. Nevertheless, the most important aspect of any experienced player looking to slide down the order is his mental state; such a request is generally an admission the player is starting to have misgivings.

Ricky Ponting made that mistake late in his career and his move was only minor, going from No. 3 to No. 4. Nevertheless, it was a major move mentally and sent a signal to the opposition that Ponting, for so long a dominant batsman, was feeling vulnerable.

The most important aspect of any experienced player looking to slide down the order is his mental state; such a request is generally an admission the player is starting to have misgivings

Like for Ponting, much of Sehwag's aura as a batsman is bound up in his aggressive approach to the bowling. Once that is diminished with a move down the order it's like being a wounded animal; the predators smell blood.

Sachin Tendulkar, on the other hand, has never wavered; he has batted at No. 4 for the bulk of his career and has remained resolute in not moving lower down the order. In his mind he's a No. 4 and that's the way he wants to finish his career.

Part of being a long-term Test player is knowing where you want to bat. The captain may not always see things the same way, but a batsman must be clear in his own mind what position he thinks suits him best. The Australian selectors of the time had the misguided idea that I should open, and skipper Bill Lawry asked me for my thoughts. I replied: "Bill, you're the captain and if you tell me I'm opening then I'll do it, but if you're asking for my preference then it's to bat at three." In my mind I was a No. 3 and I wanted to remain in that position until I retired.

There have been suggestions that India will need some experience in the middle order when Tendulkar retires, and that Sehwag may provide the answer. India already have plenty of talent and not inconsiderable experience in Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli.

That makes a strong top four when Tendulkar decides to retire. To then replace a middle-order player in his 40s with one in his mid-30s, who is struggling as an opener, doesn't sound like a progressive move.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

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Posted by   on (September 25, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

Nobody from the Now Left Out Or Struggling Members Of The Team Deserves and Demand A Respectable Comeback Than The Maverick & Charismatic YUVRAJ SINGH. No Doubt KAPIL Won Us The 1st World Cup But Would That Have Been Possible Without MOHINDER AMARNATH. Likewise DHONI Conquered It Again for Ur Homeland But Would That Have Imagined Without YUVRAJ. Its A Payback Time And Definitely The Right Time To Acknowledge Our WARRIOR PRINCE Enjoys A Long Run In Tests. If He Had A Temperament To force Us In Conquering The Game He Definitely Has In Him To Guide Our Youngsters In The Era When The final Wicket Of The 'FAMOUS 4' Falls. He Has Been Understudy To All Of These 4 Since Long And Has Proved Himself Again And Again As Their Trusted Lieutenant. With Him Re-inventing Himself Proves His Desire And His Attitude Towards The Game. A Fighter By Attitude (Remember His Catch In His Debut Series) .. He Has Lived Upto It Till Date. Reflexes Gone .. The Heart & The Attitude Still Stick To Him !!! WHY ???

Posted by andrew27994 on (September 24, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

The reason I still think Sehwag has it in him to make a strong comeback is because of his fearlessness. Even if India are 40/4 and struggling he might be very capable of a counter-attack and get India to a comfortable position, say 200-6. MS Dhoni had so many critics regarding his batting in Tests but he has silenced his critics by playing his natural game. No more does he look tentative with the moving ball and plays to his strength and limitations.

Posted by andrew27994 on (September 24, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

Sehwag has all the talent in the world to make a comeback. He has been a far better player of spin than most Indian batsmen. Eg :- His 201* against SL in Galle while the rest of the batsmen fell apart by the "mystery spinner" Mendis. I think the ideal spot for him would be at No.4/ No.5

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

Yeah he wants an easy served dish, let him play in middle order in few First class matches, I bet he will soon demand to play as a tail-ender.

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

A nice one by Ian but Sehwag's problem is existential..the ONLY spot he can fit in now is in middle order. So its almost a courtesy if selectors do pick him there coz as an opener he's had far too many failures to be even considered esp since Dhawan and Rohit are starting to be a solid,reliable pair. I still can't trust Vijay abroad we need Rohit there to stabilize the inns just like he did in WI. And since it would be unfair and ridiculous to just pick him for ODIs and dump him in tests,selectors should see him as a long-term option for both formats.But Sehwag's importance in middle order is being under-estimated..after SRT retires (hopefully soon) Viru will have a role to play in balancing a young but talented middle order. Dhawan Rohit Pujara Kohli Sehwag Tiwary Rahane will make a formidable batting unit with a bit of experience shielding the rollicking young guns!

Posted by akpy on (September 23, 2013, 23:00 GMT)

IC should resist writing or commenting about indian cricket

Posted by ProdigyA on (September 23, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

The current openers Vijay and Dhawan have done a good job so far and deserve to get a long shot. Even if there is any problem, Rohit is also there as an alternative. So either Sehwag, has to wait or give him a shot in the middle order. We have seen in thast few years, he has been a big flop at the top so taking him there again at the expense of the current openers is not fair. I think if he gets a chance, then it should be in the middle order as a last chance before he is dropped forever.

Posted by Temuzin on (September 23, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

Good article but sehwag should get first in the team. It is highly unlikey that either he or gambhir will be able to get in. Youngsters have all cemented their places. Only Yuvraj may be able to be in at no.6 in current team.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

I think major concern is Sehwag's fielding. Even if he come out of batting form, he should be aiming for one of top 5 fielders in the side. A batsman should not be a liability if he fails in the batting. That is the reason the 30+ players like Robin Singh, Dilshan, Ponting or Afridi had better chances of coming back/staying in team even when they had lean patch in batting. It is always how much add value a player can give to the team - which indirectly affects his form and confidence. Good luck Sehwag.

Posted by cricket-india on (September 23, 2013, 14:57 GMT)

a quick 40 from sehwag the opener means the shine is taken off the new ball, the openers have setup a 50+ partnership and the middle order of pujara, kohli etc can settle play the game their way. if sehwag lasts longer, all the better. however, a quick 40 from sehwag the middle order bat does not mean that much; middle order bats are expected to stay longer and push the score to a competitive total (or push for a considerable lead if batting second)...it demands staying power, something sehwag isn't exactly known for. I agree sehwag in the middle order will not fit with india's plans. I am rooting for sehwag to rediscover his mojo and partner dhawan at the top of the innings and end his career with a flourish, unlike the other has-been legend who'll probably have to be brought to bat on a wheelchair in his 200th test.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

I think Shewag should still open but play more like a one down (or a conventional opener) - carefully, trying to build a long innings. His days of being a dasher are over, now he is the senior player and has to bat with more responsibility - but still as an opener.

Posted by Jimmers on (September 23, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

Decent point, and backed up by Afridi's Test career in the lower order. All irrelevant though because Sehwag isn't coming back to Tests. Sorry lads, but they've moved on

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

before we talk about what position Sehwag should bat at, he needs to first justify if he is good enough to get into the test team. His fielding skills don't inspire either. He needs to first score boatload of runs and then hope M Vijay or Dhawan fail or get injured to even be considered. However, he has no place in the middle order. Rohit Sharma should be given a run now for that spot.

Posted by Pathiyal on (September 23, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

i am afraid if he will ever make it to the team....hope i will be proved wrong!!!

Posted by Speng on (September 23, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

With all his past success opening the batting this is surely a sign of desperation on his part to ask to move down the order. I suppose he sees the writing on the wall that he can't displace Dhawan, Pujara etc... Like others here I think a big part of his problem is fitness and he must realize that to be sucessful well into his 30s that he must be fit. However what has he done since he's been dropped? Has he scored runs in domestic cricket? i think he would need to do that before he can be recalled as against South Africa and England India cannot afford to be carrying any dead weight, which I think he would be without having demonstrated form.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (September 23, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

I think Ian Chappell has got it right. Middle order batsmanship is not about accomodating failing opening batsmen. Middle order batting has its own challenges and a role to play. In many ways, it is not necessarily easier than opening. Dependability is paramount and for this you have to have the right mind set and technique. You cant slog your way out of it. Yuvraj and Raina are cases in point. No matter how attractive they are to watch as batsmen, they have been found out in Test cricket. I'd much rather put my money on Rohit Sharma and give him a run in the Test side once Sachin calls it a day. Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and there is still room for a solid No. 6 and then Dhoni at 7. In fact, why not Gambhir in the middle order? He has much better technique, plays the spinners well and has the capability to occupy the crease- and no one can question his desire.

Posted by zoot on (September 23, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

Sehwag is just trying to get back into side in any position they'll have him. Time is running out for him and he wants a few more games before he retires.

Posted by my_comments on (September 23, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

Totally agree with this article. The likes of Shewag, Jayasuriya, Gayle, Watson, Warner, Dilshan, Dhawan, McCullum should open at any type of cricket, because they can take the risk of playing their shots and know that there are nine wickets left if he fails and at the same time if he succeed then the scores may be build quickly.

Further as stated India have good batting potentials, even their under 19 team and A team have good batters. so why ask a opener at his mid 30's who is presently not doing well to bat at middle order. Surely Shewag has talent but it's opening the batting.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

There is no doubting Sehwag's enormous talent. Someone who has scored so many test doubles/triples cannot do it without talent. Talent does not vanish overnight also. The problem with Sehwag is fitness. If Kallis or Dravid are/were able to do well late into their 30s it is because of their superior fitness standards. Dravid was among the fittest in the recent IPL at 40. Sehwag needs to work extra hard on his fitness. This will automatically set right his batting. Plus who knows with added fitness, he may also begin to bowl more regularly.

Posted by Pacelikefire_Samrat on (September 23, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

I reckon its gonna be a great decision,to move Sehwag down the order(Provided he finds a place in the playing eleven)-which I guess seems somwhat difficult at the moment.By saying that I dont mean that our middle order is well settled,its only that we are gonna play at home this season before heading to New Zealand later this winter.But if at all he finds a place,sehwag playing at no.5 or 6 is an awesome move,something akin to Adam Gilchrist batting at no.7 for Aus.It dents the psyche of the bowlers,just imagine India teetering at 50/4,and then Sehwag comes in and changes the game in a jiffy.Maybe I am just dreaming,but watching Sehwag in the recent series vs England,where he looked a shadow of his former dominant self,it wont be a bad try playing him in the middle order.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 3:08 GMT)

lets take it series by series, right now murli vijay & dhawan deserve to open for India at least in next 4-5 test & gambhir/sehwg have to do something really spectacular to come back in the side. now whether to have sehwag or gambhir in the middle order, it will depend upon team's strategy to have an all rounder like jadeja at no. 7 or a specialist batsman. against WI our likely XI will be- dhawan, vijay, pujara, sachin, kohli, dhoni, jadeja, ashwin, bhubneswar, ojha & yadav/sharma. rahane as a 12th man. If there is a test series in SA selectors will definitely select sehwag & gambhir as a reserve opener or may be in middle order depending upon their form & requirement of team. But if u ask me, after sachin's retirement rahane & rohit sharma deserves to bat in the middle order rather than sehwag or gambhir.

Posted by CricketChat on (September 23, 2013, 2:26 GMT)

Agree with Ian totally. Given Shewag's lack of footwork and patience, opening is where he is likely to succeed most. Since Vijay's place isn't secure, thanks to his spotty performances every time he is recalled, there is still a remote possibility that Shewag might earn a recall, albeit just once.

Posted by svenkat02 on (September 23, 2013, 1:19 GMT)

Sehwag can want all he wants. Its the selectors who should make the call. Personally, I feel "The Sehwag chapter" is over. He can play IPL for some years and then call it quits. I dont see him in the Indian team anymore. His hand-eye coordination has failed, and that was the only strong point he had when he was in his peak. His technique is bad, his fitness even worse, his attitude highly questionable. We don't fit players like that in international teams.

If Tendulkar retires, there are umpteen better options to fill his boot. Sehwag is not one amongst them. Rahane, Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Rayudu are front runners. Then you have other guys like Chand, Zol, etc who are youngsters itching to make a mark.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2013, 0:52 GMT)

I totally understand ChappellI's point of view. But here is the key point, what is the situation with Sehwag's eye sight. I remember last season he was trying contacts and then glasses. IMO, that is one of the two limiting factors to Sehwag's success when he bats at No. 4. When a human sets mind and heart and desire [Sehwag qualifies on all three because it has been his goal all along to bat at No. 4 for India] success is never far off. The second is his fitness [Harsha Bhogle's recent article mentioned how unfit Sehwag was last season]. I am hoping that his fitness is no longer an issue. I can't wait to see Sehwag bat No. 4 in the Second and third 4-day games against the Kiwis. Somebody mentioned the folly of replacing a 41 year old by a 35 year old. As was the 41 year old this 35 year old is no ordinary batsman. Only time will tell. And hopefully it will be entertainment of the highest class to all cricket fans.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (September 22, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

It is now time to give one of the youngsters a go. Sehwag got cleaned up constantly by England, like what happened to pretty much the whole Indian team as well, but there's very few to pick from that have the technique to survive good bowling.

Posted by Lalz on (September 22, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

When Sachin retires, Rayudu or Rohit can step in. And if Vijay fails in foreign conditions, Rohit can step in as opener.

Test : Vijay/R Sharma; Dhawan; Pujara; Kohli; Sachin; Jadeja; Dhoni; Ashwin; Ojha/Mishra ; I sharma/Yadav/Zaheer; B Kumar (Res) A Rayudu; I Pandey;

T20 : R Sharma; Dhawan; Kohli; Yuvraj; Raina; Dhoni; Jadeja; Ashwin; BKumar; M sharma/I sharma; Unadkat/Pandey (Res): Uthappa; Rayudu

Posted by Lalz on (September 22, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

My eyes will be on Jiwanjot, KL Rahul, Mandeep, Juneja, A Menaria and Zol. And from bowlers - Rishi Dhawan, Srikanth Wagh, Suraj Yadav and Sandeep Warrier.

And now about Senior ODI side - Yuvraj is ready for comeback and is expected to fill the middle order occupied by Karthick and Rayudu. Bowlers still not looking comfortable with Zaheer not yet revealed the fitness to be back on Senior side and Ishanth and Umesh not economical. With B Kumar, expected lineup is Unadkat or Pandey with Ishanth or Umesh if not Zaheer. Mohit Sharma can also expect a call. With Ashwin as specialist spinner with Yuvraj and Jadeja as more than a part-timers looks good in Spin dept. So my teams will look like

ODI: R Sharma; S Dhawan; V Kohli; Yuvraj; S Raina; Dhoni; Jadeja; Ashwin; B Kumar; I sharma/Yadav/Zaheer; Mohit/Unadkat/Pandey Res: A Rayudu; D Karthik and bowlers left out

Posted by Lalz on (September 22, 2013, 20:05 GMT)


I been a fan of Indian team since my childhood is a follower of ESPN cricinfo for years. Articles,Statsguru are my favorites.Like in Karnataka, I would like to have our former players to take over BCCI control atleast on selection panel. I think its a good time to give chances to young players in International level with the coming up busy schedule. If not in senior side, we need to organize A level tours to SA, Aus, Eng and to ICC Emerging team countries like Nepal, UAE, Bangladesh, Ireland to play with their national teams. We still are not having a strong bowling unit to match with International sides.. So we need to concentrate on finding bowling talents to end up the scarcity. With the coming up domestic circuit we can have a clear picture players potential. So better to discuss later about players who might play for India one day.

Posted by Lalz on (September 22, 2013, 19:46 GMT)


"power" to change the course of a game..

Posted by Lalz on (September 22, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

Sehwag no doubt is a natural strokeplayer but the question is "Will he deliver it in a consistent manner with big scores". He should be tested for one more series but not at the cost of any performing player but at when we want to give some of our players a rest before a major series or can thru a A team tour. In an Opener role we have Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay both proved their merit on last season in Tests and ODI's. And the slot when Sachin retires, for a fair call should go to Rayudu. He also deserve some chances to prove himself as he been an expected prospect for India since his early days. If Rayudu fails to deliver on chances, we can have Rohit Sharma on middle order and if Vijay fails, we can have Sehwag on top. This will be a fair call based on merit as we cannot diturb a in- form Vijay-Dhawan opening combination neither can deny a place for Rohit or Rayudu in middle with their current form and firm technique. Sehwag need to wait for his turn or call if he still have that

Posted by analyseabhishek on (September 22, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

So if Sehwag isn't succeeding as a opener and shouldn't be playing in the middle order- then, well, he should consider retirement! I also doubt whether he would fit in Dhoni's scheme of things anymore. Dhoni prefers fielders and athletes. Sehwag is neither! His fielding and running between the wicket are from a bygone era. Due to his shoulder injury, he is no longer a part time off spinner as well.

Posted by ball_boy on (September 22, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

Team India-Dhawan,Rohit Sharma/Vijay,Pujara,Kohli,Dhoni,Badrinath/Karthik/Raidu/Rahane,Ashwin,Ojha/Mishra,I Sharma,Yadav,B Kumar/S Sharma, the game should be progressive yet should treat the seniors better by giving them chances in the A squad so they perform and show their hunger to continue in the team XI Ganguly came back strongly however Sehwag though a great batsman there was concern that unlike other batsman one surviving on grat bat eye coordination would not last as other batsman with solid technique .But then never undermine the potential of a player he will find other hidden strengths and come back stronger.

Posted by shrastogi on (September 22, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Chappeli's arguments remind me of Kapil Dev who as a captain demanded that Gavaskar , one of the world's greatest opener, should open when he himself wanted to bat lower down -may be due to advancing age. Gavaskar in this phase from 1983 to retirement scored about 2000 runs in 30 tests most as openers though made his highest score of 236 in middle order. One doesnt know if he could have made more runs in middle order. Gavaskar had solid technique and still wanted to bat in middle order then we should understand Sehwag's case more sympathically. Sehwag scored his debut hundred at no 6 in SA and wasnt a natural opener but adapted well in that position due to his hand eye coordination. So I am not averse to him in middle order prerferably at 6 but even to reach there he needs to score bigger than the young guns rooting for that place. He doesnt have Tendulkar's record so the team cant carry him endlessly as is done with Tendulkar even when he has become a liability of sorts lately.

Posted by asthomas911 on (September 22, 2013, 14:33 GMT)



But I would like to see Sachin play for at least another 12 months. One-Day team same as above

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (September 22, 2013, 14:02 GMT)

while arguments presented by Chapell are logical but one thing he forgot to consider. While players like Ponting, Sachin, Dravid, Kallis even in late 30s can hold their own, that was because they had solid technique to rely upon. Sehwag does not have that. Only thing he had was hand-eye co-ordination which was very strong and he came good when it was his day, whatever the surface. Debut 100 in SA, 2002 in NZ when every one was falling apart against moving ball, he scored because his hand-eye coordination was strong. But with the age this trait slows down too. On top of that every opponent had bowlers who bowls in 145 or above range. So one thing is sure that he is not going to succeed at the top for sure. Only chance he stands is when ball is older, sometime even at #6 he can face new ball but that will be less likely as compared to when he opens. And in our persistence to make him open, we will probably lose even whatever he has to offer to Indian cricket in#6 for next 2-3 years.

Posted by fsdb on (September 22, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

Chappelli has always been a champion of attacking cricket in general and Sehwag in particular. Not for nothing was Chappelli's great team of the seventies studded with legendary luminaries like the laconic and mercurial Doug Walters, prince of the Sydney Hill. When Sehwag was dropped for the Australian tour of 2007, it was Chappelli who took up the gauntlet and raised a hue and cry of such volume and passion that the Indian selectors were eventually forced to drop their disastrous experiment of opening with Dravid and to reinstate Sehwag to his rightful place at the top of the order, from where he went on to a match saving 150+ in the final test of the series. So when Chappelli talks about Sehwag, we had better listen and learn - because he knows what he is talking about!

Posted by cnksnk on (September 22, 2013, 12:15 GMT)

I think this article makes a lot of sense. However one additonal point that needs to be considered is does MSD want the old war horses in the team. Remember when Gambhir and Shewag tired to stage a kind of coup to get rid of MSD. MSD is just getting the team that he wants ( a bunch of youngsters moulded by his thought process) and I would be surprised if he would want Viru in the team much less the middle order. The only position that could be vacant is the opening slot , incase Vijay does not sustain his form. I dont think there is a slot in the middle order ( including No 6) for Viu.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (September 22, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

If Sehwag has to be in the 11, he should open, if he think he cant open, he should not be in the 11. There are plenty youngsters to play in the middle order, what we need is some solid opener. If he can open and "set the tone", he should play as long as he wants. If he doubts he cant "set the tone" as opener, he should hang up the boots!

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

I wouldn't care about Sehwag or Tendulkar playing in England next year.. Tendulkar should go too after the West Indies tour.. He can be replaced by Zol.. India has a reserve opener in Gambhir and we all know his class.. If he is a reserve opener, then it says volumes about the kind of batting talent in this country.. We have to concentrate more on our bowling.. Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra are our three best bowlers.. Buvaneshwar Kumar and either Umesh Yadav or Ishant Sharma should make up the bowling attack.. We have to give ourselves the best chance of picking up twenty wickets and spin is the only option even on foreign soil.. Ishant Sharma, if he does not take a five for in an innings and a ten for in a match by the time we finish the tour of New Zealand, he must be done away with also..

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Sehwag is not very different from some of the other aggressive/unconventional batsman in the cricket history like Hayden, Jayasurya etc. Over a period of time great cricketers transformed them self into a more sensible if not defensive/textbook cricketers.

In contrast, Sehwag considered his weakness towards moving ball as his strength and named it as his natural game. His interests in IPL and plans to grab captaincy dearly cost him his place in the team. Now it is time hang his boots and become coach.

Gahmbir followed Sehwag's instruction and both fell into the well.

Posted by Craptastic on (September 22, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

I think when Tendulkar goes the top 4 will be as Chappelli suggested - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli. I wonder how they will restructure - a batsman at 5 (Rahane, Rohit, Tiwary?) but its going to be interesting below that. They can potentially fit in 3 of a 2nd batsman, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin at 6/7/8. I think Dhoni should bat at 6 like he does in the ODIs and T20s as he seems to bat better up the order and can take charge. So does that mean Jadeja and Ashwin at 7/8?

Interesting times ahead but India certainly have the talent - they just need to get the balance right.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 22, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Sehwag's day is done. He was always a player who trusted his exceptional eye-hand co-ordination to pierce the field. He's lost that now, as he inevitably had to. It's called getting older. The only batsmen that can survive into their late 30s are those whose techique is tight -- and VS's was never that. The last time I saw him amble onto the cricket field for the final Test v England earlier this year, he looked quite rotund -- which his fielding made clear. There are many young & hungry bats that look to have what it takes to provide India with substantial totals in Test cricket, batting all down the order. Moreover, India is now a fine attacking side in the field. I am sure that VS doesn't want to be shown up. Whilst SRT is in the side, the youngsters have all the guidance they could possibly need.

Posted by Akash_23 on (September 22, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

With all due respect for Sehwag, the fact still remains that he had been failing for too long before finally being dropped from the team. A batsman with 100 test matches to his name should show some experience reflecting in his batting, which has never been the case with Sehwag. Aggression does not mean throwing your wicket away every time playing useless shots. It will be great if he comes back, but only as a better batsman, with a better thinking cap.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

Sehwag is a wonderful batsman.He should continue to play in middle order because we will love to see him even i'm a pakistani citizen.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (September 22, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

I can't believe how some people believe Dhawan and Vijay will ever be half as good as Sehwag and Gambhir. It's ridiculous that Gambhir and Sehwag has been sidelined due to their conflicts with Dhoni and Kohli. It's India's loss that they are not making the most of these two great opening batsmen.

Posted by sreehk on (September 22, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

Outstanding article! Few can analyze the game as well as Ian Chapel does. It may be another thing that Sehwag could turn the tables batting at 4 or 5. Countering Chapel here, that if the chips are down say 50 for 3 wickets, Sehwag can walk like a King and swat like an emperor taking the score to 300 for 4 and think about following news articles. Another counter view is that Sehwag regardless of form has always instilled fear in bowlers is unarguable. So on the flip side, if the side is doing well say 250-3 then think of bowlers thought that Sehwag is yet to come licking and wagging his toungue. With due credit to Sehwag I would say it is a fifty-fifty chance of his succeeding at 4 or 5. Which middle order in the world would have the combined power of Sehwag and Dhoni?!

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

Why are we always thinking of the negatives. Be positive.

3 Options for team India in Test matches -

1. Sehwag & Dhawan at the top of the order - high risk gamble, we could end up 150 for No Loss by lunch, we could bat the opposition out of a 5 day test within the first 4 hours OR 10 for 2 in the first 2 overs. For the 10 for 2's we have Pujara, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja & Dhoni to follow, a strong batting contingent that can rebuild. This combination at the top is a gamble worth taking. 2. Sehwag in the middle order - With the kind of batting available to India, 4 / 40 will happen sometimes. With his talent, Sehwag could batter the bowlers & take the initiative back. He will succeed sometimes, fail sometimes. More likely situation - n / 160 or so at the end of 55 overs, tea on day one with the bowlers a shade tired. Imagine Sehwag walking in at that stage - he could win the test match for India in a couple of sessions. Sehwag might fail, but is worth the gamble for a yr.

Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (September 22, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

I think Sehwag no longer has it in him to play test cricket. His batting relies completely on hand-eye coordination, which means that he's completely lost once his reflexes start slowing, which I suspect is he case. He never had a strong technique to fall back upon the way Tendulkar and Dravid did as they aged.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

Sehwag either opens, or doesn't play. Despite his early first class success as a middle order batting all-rounder, his game has since evolved, and he has been among the best openers India produced. But the hand-eye coordination that made him such a dominant batsman over the years has been affected due to an aging body and slowing reflexes. Besides, Sehwag's fitness have never been great. He was a match-winning test opener, the same style can't work in the middle order. As Chappell rightly observed, there is less room for the kind of outright attacking cricket in the middle order, and Sehwag's hyper-attacking style might result in a collapse. At the top, he had Dravid, Tendulkar and VVS to take care of things in case of some early troubles, but in the middle order, an early fall would become part of a collapse. Ones Sachin retires, there are youngsters like Rahane, Rohit, Juneja and even the experienced Gambhir waiting. GG, unlike Viru, has a bit more left in him, if he finds form.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Sehwag is a legend, he was one of the factor of India's success in recent years, HELLO CHAPPELL, as a Australian you may tell he don't deserve place in Test team, he made lot of contribution to our team, BCCI needs to give opportunity to him.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 6:46 GMT)

Sehwag at the top order is a sitting duck given the way his reflexes have slowed out. We are supposed to play SA, NZ and Eng in the next year. Do not see Sehwag surviving the new ball in any of these places.

Sehwag needs to be given an opportunity in the middle order. Ideally, he should replace Tendulkar at number 4. We may see Sehwag mark II.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

i don't see time is up for Sehwag he can still be brutal, a natural hitter never changed his attitude be it high or low times focussing his owns 'numbers' , he never cares who bowls but shows 'how its done' as he did many times.. there are class players coming in the recent times but this 'being fearless' is something that you want to see and take it from there..

Posted by Rahul_78 on (September 22, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Lots of valid points Ian. The value of aggressive opener in tests is invaluable. He sets up the game in first session and sets the tone while chasing the target. But there is a small matter of consistency which is lacking in Sehwags game. Long gone are the days when he could counter the seam and swing movements with his lightning bat speed, sharp eye sight and uncluttered mind. The age is catching up. The reflexes are slowing down. He wore glasses in his last few test matches and lack of form is toying with the uncluttered mind. There is some merit in him replacing Sachin as those who know Indian cricket knows it very well that Sehwag along with Gambhir are one of the best players of spin bowling and both of them like to take on the spinners. If Veeru can get in good shape and find his form his presence in the middle order will be useful when the ball is not new and spinners are bowling. He can score quickly from one end and guide youngsters. But for me Gambhir sounds better bet.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 5:05 GMT)

Sehwag should call it a day...For himself and more importantly for the team

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 4:47 GMT)

Time up for Sehwag, I say. Move on.

Posted by Dropouts on (September 22, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

Well Chappelli..we do not how Sehwag sees it no doubt on one thing though..if he bats as opener or 2 down he only knows one way to play but not trying him at No.4 would be Selectors mistake- i wish u eat up ur last statement 40's player replaced by mid 30's- they all don't matter when ur scoring runs...India has to try Sehwag no.4 for an year see how it goes..My heart says Sehwag will retire before Tendulkar and Vijay's second coming as a middle order will boost India's chances in future..mark these words

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 4:29 GMT)

Chapelli might have a point here. India needs to consider what are their goals where Test cricket is concerned. I initially quite liked the idea of Sehwag moving down the order on SA pitches. We already have Dhawan who will go about playing his strokes and thus Sehwag will not be missed at the top. But now with SA series itself being unlikely, we need to see if and how many years we can get out of Sehwag. Having said that, we have a strong ODI side with a decent bench strength and if I was Sehwag I would make my intentions and commitment clear for the longer version of the game. A player like him still has something to offer, surely. We recently read articles on mavericks like KP and Warne and how such genius should be handled differently than other players. Well, Sehwag is a genius in his own right and if he feels he belongs in the middle order, it will not hurt to give him a chance there.

Posted by Rafelgibt on (September 22, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

Whatever what the cricket experts say its CRYSTAL clear that SHEWAG's career for INDIA national team is finished....

Posted by SamRoy on (September 22, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

Sehwag must not play test cricket for India again. Don't get me wrong he is my favourite Indian batsman and he is the biggest factor which made India into a respectable test team away from home (Kumble learning to bowl better away from home being the next biggest factor) but he is finished as an international batsman and so is Tendulkar (who should have retired after the England tour in 2011 itself). There is always this tendency of 'star' Indian cricketers to retire at least a couple of years later than they should have. Kapil Dev did so, Kumble did so by six months, VVS Laxman did so by an year and so many others have done so.

Posted by kensohatter on (September 22, 2013, 3:33 GMT)

Could not agree more. Sehwag is a freakish opener who takes advantage of attacking fields early in a test match. He is given a license to play shots which as Chappell points out would not happen if your team is 4/40. He also tends to be the kind of batsmen who likes the ball coming onto the bat early and a move to the middle order would not always provide that

Posted by Cricket_Fan_And_Analyst on (September 22, 2013, 3:28 GMT)

For Sehwag it doesn't matter much really. Opponents have realized that Sehwag hits a lot of fours initially so they have been setting in-and-out field with couple of slip catchers right from the beginning.

His reflexes have slowed down and he has a good chance of scoring more runs with older ball than with the new ball.

Posted by Hardy1 on (September 22, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

Thank you Ian Chappell, finally a suggestion that perhaps Sehwag doesn't deserve a place in the Test side, no matter what position, because he quite simply hasn't been playing well enough. There are many talented players in India fighting out for a spot in the middle order including the likes of Tiwary, Rahane & Rohit. If these players can all have FC averages of around 60, is it not more important that they be given a chance than a player who has proved nothing for the last 3 years?

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 3:17 GMT)

As always fantastic insight from Ian Chappell. Great article.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

Sehwag has always seemed a natural opener to me. He just seems to belong there. Putting him in the middle order has been tried before for no great reward that I can recall, and will just be rearranging deck chairs without really solving anything. If he's out of form, he's out of form - changing his position won't change that.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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