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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Squad against England; no place for Sehwag; yes for Rohit Sharma


Strange are the ways of strategists ~ England played and beat India in Test Series and a T20 series followed ~ England went home, probably to celebrate Christmas at home ~ Pakistan came and played 2 T20s and 3 ODIs ~ England are to play 5 one dayers :

1st at Rajkot on 11th Jan 2013
2nd at Kochi on 15th Jan 2013
3rd at  Ranchi on 19th Jan 2013
4th at Mohali on 23rd Jan 2o13
5th at Dharamsala on 27th Jan 2013.

Indian cricket has hit the rock-bottom ~ 2 dismal tours – England and Australia, mauled by England at home and now having lost the ODI series to Pak at home……… one thought that there would be wholesome changes and non-performers will be discarded. In the rejig team there is no Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer, Harbhajan and now Virender Sehwag.  Hours after being replaced by 24-year-old Ajinkya Rahane for the third and final One-day International against Pakistan, Virender Sehwag  was given another shock, dropped out of ODI squad and in walks Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, the so called Test specialist.  May be Pujara is in to provide stability to the brittle line up which is getting bowled out inside the allotted overs.   At 34,  perhaps it is curtains to Sehwag.

Before we mourn that, Pujara’s inclusion was the only change to the squad that lost 1-2 to Pakistan. Rohit Sharma gets some more opportunity despite having a total of 89 runs in his last 10 innings.  The squad is : M S Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Shami Ahmed.

Cannot comprehend that Sehwag is not there – yes he failed in recent past… still !! a sad truth that this genius is treated badly. Virender Sehwag is one of the best things that occurred to Indian  cricket.  The cult of his followers has been vast and growing. Touted as one unorthodox, Viru has had greater success in Tests having more than 7600 runs with two three hundreds to his credit. The Nawab of Najafgarh is known to be a calm face and is an effective right arm off spin bowler.  He was honoured as Wisden Leading Cricketer of the World in 2008 and retained the award in 2009. 

Virender Sehwag is the most destructive batsman on his day - holds multiple records including the highest score made by an Indian in Test cricket (319), the fastest triple century in the history of international cricket (reached 300 off only 278 balls); the fastest 250 by any batsman (in 207 balls against Sri Lanka on 3 December 2009 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai); one of four batsmen in the world to have ever surpassed 300 twice in Test cricket. In March 2009, Sehwag smashed the fastest century ever scored by an Indian in ODI cricket, from 60 balls. On 8 December 2011, he hit his maiden double century in ODI cricket, against West Indies, becoming the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to reach the landmark. His score remains the highest individual score in ODI cricket – 219 off 149 balls.

So, there is no place for Sehwag but there is enough for Rohit Sharma who  has made just one score in double figures over his last 10 games. His last five innings read 0, 0, 4, 4 and 4. Yet Rohit finds a place in the one-day squad for the three games against England.

If the selectors wanted faster legs and younger spirits, can’t they look to some raw talent from Ranji, if not from IPL.  If class and composition, is what they are looking for, why not - Ambati Rayudu, who can also double-up as a back-up keeper for Dhoni.  Rayudu has had a raw deal, having been part of the now defunct Indian Cricket League.  By continuously selecting Rohit Sharma, the selectors are sending wrong signals to all other aspirant youngsters.  Sometime back, when Rohit was on screen alongside Virat Kohli, Sunil Gavaskar remarked – ‘you are looking at future India’…… Rohit has done nothing to justify the faith imposed and it is time he is dropped ~ his replacement cannot do anything worser.   

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
8th Jan 2013.

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