It was a double blow for Virender Sehwag — first dropped from the playing XI for the third ODI against Pakistan yesterday at his home ground Ferozshah Kotla and then not included in the Indian team for the first three one-day matches against England starting January 11 in Rajkot.
Sehwag’s childhood coach AN Sharma believed that Sehwag was not only dropped on the basis of his form. “I think the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the skipper (MS Dhoni) have something personal against Sehwag, and that is why he has been treated in such a manner,” Sharma told MiD DAY yesterday from New Delhi.
For a while now, there have been rumours about Dhoni and Sehwag not getting along.
The seeds of suspicion were sown in the 2009 edition of the World T20.
The relationship between the Indian skipper and Sehwag reached a nadir during India’s 2011-12 tour to Australia when the two took potshots at each other in press conferences.
“I have been holding back all this while, but now, I want to speak out. I knew he would not be picked (for England series) after he was dropped for the third ODI against Pakistan. It is very unfortunate,” the coach added.
Sehwag has been struggling with the bat. In the first two matches against Pakistan, he scored four and 31 respectively. In the last ODI series in Sri Lanka, he scored 148 in four matches with one fifty. His last ODI ton came in the 2010-11 triangular series in Sri Lanka.
“I have been noticing that players with poor run-rates have been getting a longer rope in the Indian team, but not Sehwag. There is something wrong in the selection process,” said Sharma.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored an aggressive 203 off 221 balls for Saurashtra in his last Ranji Trophy game, was drafted into the team. Rohit Sharma was retained despite poor returns in ODIs. The bowling squad remained unchanged with the trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed and Ashok Dinda being retained. Leggie Amit Mishra, who last played an ODI in 2011, was recalled into the Indian squad.
Meanwhile, Dhoni has been retained as skipper without any hesitance from the selectors.
Squad: MS Dhoni (wk/capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Amit Mishra
India ‘A’ triumph
New Delhi: India ‘A’ defeated the visiting England XI by 53 runs in a shortened match here at the Palam ‘A’ Ground, Model Sports Complex here yesterday. Put in to bat, India ‘A’ skipper Abhinav Mukund (57), Murali Vijay (76) and Kedar Jadhav scored an unbeaten 52 to take India ‘A’ to 224-4. In reply, England XI fell short by 53 runs under D/L method. Skipper Ian Bell scored 91.