Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sehwag dropped last 2 Tests against Australia

Virender Sehwag has been dropped from India Test squad side for the 1st time since he made an emphatic comeback to the long format with a century in Adelaide in 2008-09. That, by the by, remains his last century outside Asia. No substitute has been named for Sehwag for the remaining 2 Tests of the series against Australia, which makes Shikhar Dhawan a favorite to open in the Mohali Test starting on March 14.

The 2remaining Tests of the current series, which India lead 2-0, are the last ones they are scheduled to play before they go on four continuous overseas tours beginning with South Africa later this year (2013). 

In his first reaction, Sehwag - who had been dropped from the ODI side for the series against England in January - tweeted: Will continue to work hard for my place in the team. I trust my game and am sure that, 'I'll be back.' Best wishes to the team. 

Since his comeback, Sehwag performance outside Asia might have been doubtful, but he kept his place in the side with typically dazzling match-winning knocks on the lower and slower tracks. Since Adelaide, Sehwag has scored just 523 runs in 12 Tests, at an average of 22.73 with a highest of 67. In Asia, though, over the same period he has total 3622 runs at 57.49, at a game-changing strike rate of 94.1. 

However, over the last 2 years, the big innings began to dry up still in Asia. After his 173 against New Zealand in Ahmadabad in November 2010, he had to wait more than 2 years for another Test century. In November 2012, Sehwag earn another lease of life with a typical century against England again in Ahmadabad but, between then and being dropped, he has had scores of (25, 30, 9, 23, 49, 0, 2, 19 and 6). 

This is a big fall for India's most prolific chance combination in Tests: Gautam Gambhir was dropped before the start of the Australia after 3 years without a Test century. Now India is possibly looking at a raw opening grouping going into South Africa. 

Not even naming a replacement opener is a big statement made by selectors who don't seem to have other option available but have still gone ahead and omitted him. Dhawan, his Delhi team-mate, is now a front-runner for Mohali, but Ajinkya Rahane can't be ruled out either. Sandeep Patil, the chairman of selectors, did say before the start of the England series that Rahane was selected as a middle-order batsman, but the Indian team management has been flexible and doesn't always stick to statement made in the press.

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