Virender Sehwag dropped, says, 'Trust my game, will be back', he says
The national selectors Thursday dropped out-of-form opener Virender Sehwag for the final two Tests of the series against Australia. Sources close to the selection panel said that it is also unlikely the 34-year-old will be picked for the away series in South Africa when India next play Tests later this year.
With no replacement named for the next two games against Australia, the size of India’s squad shrunk from 15 to 14. This means the home team will defend its 2-0 lead with a new opening pair, with either Shikhar Dhawan or Ajinkya Rahane partnering Hyderabad centurion Murali Vijay, in the March 14-18 Test in Mohali.
Sehwag reacted to his omission by tweeting, “I trust my game. I’ll be back”. But sources said it is unlikely the Delhi batsman will be on the plane to South Africa.
“The selectors are convinced he can no longer handle top-class fast bowling. He is struggling even in home conditions. So it’s difficult to back him when he will have to face Dale Steyn and co. in South Africa,” the source said.
The selectors, it is learnt, took the important call to drop Sehwag after his dismissal in Hyderabad. Indian skipper M S Dhoni is believed to have pushed Sehwag’s case but couldn’t get his way.
Sehwag hasn’t scored a Test century outside the subcontinent since 2008-09. Last November, he ended a two-year century drought in Ahmedabad against England but has managed just 173 runs in his next nine innings.
Sehwag, while dealing with his form-slump, has hinted that he would like to drop down the order. “The next Test series is at the end of the year, which is a long way away. But Sehwag has to do something extraordinary (in domestic cricket) to stage a comeback,” said the source when asked if he will be considered as a middle-order option for South Africa.
“The selectors rather back Gautam Gambhir to return for the South Africa series, provided he scores heavily in first-class cricket. The team will need a specialist batsman at No. 6 overseas, and there are some exciting young talents available such as Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina,” the source said.
Squad for third and fourth Tests: M S Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Pragyan Ojha, Ashok Dinda.