ICC World Twenty20 2009 June 9, 2009

Shoulder injury rules Sehwag out of World Twenty20


Virender Sehwag has been ruled out of the ICC World Twenty20 in England after failing to recover from a shoulder injury he sustained during the IPL in South Africa last month.

He will return to India after consulting specialists in England and will be replaced by Dinesh Karthik, who was in good touch during the IPL. Karthik, who last played a Twenty20 for India in January 2008, also doubles up as a reserve wicketkeeper, something the squad was lacking.

Sehwag said he picked up the injury during the IPL semi-final against the Deccan Chargers and he would show it to a specialist in London. "There is little I can do," Sehwag said.

A BCCI media release ended days of speculation over Sehwag's fitness - the opener has been a peripheral figure during Indian practice sessions. He wasn't present for India's optional training session on Monday at Lady Bay and didn't bat on the tour until Tuesday morning, often watching his team-mates go about their routines from the sidelines. The uncertainty over his injury led to reports of a rift between him and the captain MS Dhoni, which prompted the team to make a dramatic public show of unity and emphasise their team spirit through a statement read out by Dhoni.

Things weren't much clearer today, either, at the pre-match press conference - in fact the drama descended into farce. Dhoni refused to clarify the ambiguous situation, saying "anything related to fitness there will be a press release from the BCCI". Following repeated inquiries and flared tempers among the media, team manager Chamundeshwar Nath intervened to try and defuse the situation. However, he too stopped short of saying that Sehwag would indeed be returning home.

"If Sehwag has got pain in the hand, he might not bat," Nath said. "Today he tried and he was in some discomfort. Tomorrow, we will take a final decision on him. If he is not fit enough we will inform BCCI and they will issue a press release. How much pain Sehwag is having, Dhoni cannot answer when he is batting in the nets."

Minutes after that, the BCCI had issued a release ruling out Sehwag.

Under normal circumstances, the loss of Sehwag, a proven match-winner in any form of the game, would be a massive blow to India's strategy. While India's campaign will be weaker, they will benefit from Rohit Sharma, who has made the transition from middle-order batsmen to opener successfully in the three games in England so far. Rohit scored 31 and 80 in the warm-ups against New Zealand and Pakistan, and made 36 in India's first group match against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge.

Not having the bowler-destroying skills of Sehwag to call upon if needed, however, is a blow, as is the loss of his part-time offspin in a tournament that has seen the slower bowlers play a significant role. Sehwag sustained the grade one tear to his shoulder during the IPL and the coach Gary Kirsten said that he had been kept in the squad in the hope that he would not miss the entire tournament. "If a player of the caliber of Sehwag can be available for any part of the tournament, we want to keep him there." That however hasn't come to pass and India will have to hope that Rohit's good form at the top continues even against tougher opposition and more potent new-ball attacks.

That the injury to Sehwag was such a closely-guarded secret was perplexing. An injury is after all merely an injury and a more transparent dissemination of information from the team management would go a long way in diffusing the ambiguity and speculation that often surrounds the Indian team. Perhaps they could follow Ireland's example - moments before Dhoni addressed the media, William Porterfield had spoken at length about the injury to Niall O'Brien.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • stephendedalus on June 10, 2009, 22:43 GMT

    Interesting how the author uses "failing to recover" to describe Sehwag's predicament right from the get-go. I wouldn't be surprised if an MBA is the required degree to write here.

  • cricky.com on June 10, 2009, 18:12 GMT

    George Binoy,nothing personal against you.Cricinfo is a respectable cricket rteporting site.If u c some of the anchors in indian news channels dishing out so called sport analysis ,it is an insult to the viewers.Infact there were news channels asking viewers whether india should recall its ambassador to australia during the monkeygate.Though we,the indian cricket fan is often accused of being passionate,fickle by nature and critiscises our idols even for minor follies,kindly understand that we are not fools as of some of you think

  • aacriet on June 10, 2009, 16:53 GMT

    I think its high time that BCCI enforces some rules regarding the comments of their players. After all indian cricketers are national icons..people that the whole country follows every minute of their lives..and above all individuals by themselves. Its not the first time that the indian players are accused or pointed out by the media with no detailed investigations..no proofs really. Its almost become a trend among the media to make some masala news out of nothing and this cause was a fine example.

  • mubeenkemisaal on June 10, 2009, 15:55 GMT

    BCCI,should allow the players to be more transparent.It was good if Virender Sehwag had come forward & answered the questions put forward about his fitness to M.S Dhoni,that would have given clear picture to the nation & to the team management added to defending his captain in press conference which shoke the nerves of captain cool. After all Sehwag is the only person who knows how much he is fit,right before leaving to England why should some one blame Dhoni?.Hope this little controversies dont effect performance of Team India. On replacing Sehwag with Dinesh Karthik,I feel Abishiek Nayar should have opted a head as he can turn his arm along with power pack stroke play.

  • TwitterJitter on June 10, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Indian media is so immature and irresponsible. First they accused that Sehwag was kept out due to a rift with Dhoni. They even made up completely hypothetical stories on what Dhoni's hand gesture meant and how each gesture was a hidden signal to keep Sehwag out of the game. They even quoted some anonymous retired cricketers saying how the rift between them is bad for the team. Now that it came out that Sehwag had a Grade 1 tear, and went to see a specialist, they accuse Dhoni of something else. They are unprofessional and are good at shouting matches. As usual the writers here are trying to cover up for their colleagues in the irresponsible media by blaming Dhoni. The last time I checked, they were the ones accusing Dhoni of something. Will they now apologize to Dhoni for character defamation by spreading false stories about him? I hope he sues a couple of media organizations who saw nothing wrong in defaming his character and wins.

  • ptlkir09 on June 10, 2009, 8:44 GMT

    I think the media should be asking what some of the younger players in the team think of Sehwag....you might get some interesting answers.......

  • Somarouthu on June 10, 2009, 7:42 GMT

    Rohit has got huge talent and he is the perfect man to replace Sachin in India's Test team after Sachin's retirement! Rohit was waiting for right opportunity to show his talent to the world.This is a great opportunity to open the batting for India in T20 world cup with the omission of Sehwag. He has already displayed his talent in the warm up match and with a short little innings against Bangladesh in India's opener!

    Sachin displayed his enormous talent in ODIs after opening the batting for India in 1994.Talented player like Dravid is overshadowed because he plays in middle order and remains as good cricketer.

    Rohit is talented than Raina, but some how he was overshadowed till now, why? He was playing in the middle order for some time, and didn't get many opportunities to express his talent. Now he is utilizing the opportunity to show that he is the future of Indian cricket.

    Rohit needs to go and talk to experienced crickets like Sachin to convert 30s/40s to Big scores...

  • krazy4 on June 10, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    me thnks its more than shoulder injury to sehwag!if there is some rift btw sehwag n dhoni,they should grow up, be adults n try sort it out!!not bloody say shoulder injury n go home!cant believe this is happening!welll everyone says rohit is doing a gr8 job blah....but just imagine rohit doing a gr8 job plus sehwag messing up the bowlers!!!!woah....wud have been fun!!!!but alas!!!!!

  • prabwal on June 10, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    The players should be left to do what they need to do: play well and win matches. Satisfying the media is not their primary job.They are not selected on the basis of their efficiency to handle news hungry media.The speculations of a rift between two senior members of the side (which the media will claim to recieve from an internal source) is quite a serious allegation that might affect the spirit of the whole team.In that case, I would say, media would cross the line. Media is there to report not to affect the proceedings.

  • aditya87 on June 10, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    Well...two things...I don't remember Sehwag getting a shoulder injury during the IPL...maybe it was after that? Secondly...I agree that the BCCI should allow the team management to be more transparent...but at the same time the media has a responsibility to check their sources and not leak negative rumours...I mean some of the things said to Dhoni during the press conference were disgraceful

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