Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Is this man in the right spot?

The beleagured Virender Sehwag's horrendous - shall we call it - uppercut brought his latest test innings (India vs SAfrica, 2nd Test in Durban) to an end rather briefly: caught off the first ball he faced. Andre Nel was the bowler and AB DeVillers was the acrobatic catcher in second slip.

Recently the Indian tour selectors (which includes an omnipresent chairman - Vengsarkar) decided to send back Irfan Pathan. In a brief interview with the Times of India, former India opener and a fellow Barodian Anshuman Gaekwad welcomed the decision to allow Irfan to play Ranji in order to get his rhythmn back but also astutely pointed out that all non-performers should be dealt with in a similar manner. This now includes, one presumes, Sehwag.

The bigger question for me is: should we continue to play Sehwag as an opener? Sehwag was never an opener - he started his career as a later order batsman, a natural stroke player at No. 6. He was pushed into the opening spot because his sparkling strokeplay could quickly put runs on the board and put the opposition on the defensive. This was very good strategy and worked really well. But it has been dead in the water for some time now. Sehwag hasn't been consistently delivering the killer punch in the opening spot. And when I say that I include the fact that impact players like him can't be consistent all the time - even accounting for that, he's still dreadfully inconsistent. And recent loud calls in the media for Sehwag to be wary and watchful simply erases the original intent of him opening.

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