Should Sehwag be in XI? Experts divided

Given India’s thumping 90-run win over England without the likes of star batsman Virender Sehwag, senior bowler Zaheer Khan and off-spinner R Ashwin in the ongoing World T20, the team’s think-tank is faced with a big question of whether or not they should persist with an inconsistent Sehwag.

Team India seemed to have got their balance right for the first time in the tournament when they deployed the five-bowler strategy (something skipper MS Dhoni has repeatedly stressed upon) against England on Sunday. Dhoni can only play a fifth bowler if he chooses to drop a batsman. And going by form alone, Sehwag is the weak link. The Nawab of Najafgarh has scored just 48 runs in three matches (two warm-ups and the opening encounter against Afghanistan) so far in the campaign.

Worried? Virender Sehwag during a practice session in Colombo yesterday. Pic/AFP

Adding to Sehwag’s woes ahead of the Super Eights match against Australia on Friday, is the hit on the knuckles he suffered in the nets prior to the England match due to which he reportedly did not practise yesterday. Irfan Pathan, who opened the innings with Gautam Gambhir against England, padded up before everyone else yesterday.

Former India spinner and South Zone selector Venkatapathy Raju reckoned India should stick to the team that played against England. “It was a convincing victory, so I see no reason why we should tinker with the team. If Sehwag misses out, so be it. Anyway, he’s not in form. If we can have part-time bowlers, then why not have part-time batsmen, who can contribute 20-30 quick runs,” said Raju.

Play the best XI
Former India skipper and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar stressed that the best XI should be picked, reputation notwithstanding. “We should have five bowlers in the playing XI. Six batsmen should be able to put up a fighting total in T20 cricket. One should not go by reputation of the players which in any case, is not at stake in T20. The fittest and the best XI should play,” said Vengsarkar.

Former India skipper Ajit Wadekar and former pacer S Madan Lal felt Sehwag should be persisted with. “Dhoni should take a chance with Sehwag because he is a player, who can click any time. He has the ability to destroy any attack. I am sure Dhoni will talk to Sehwag before taking any decision,” said Wadekar.

Drop Yuvraj: Madan
Madan Lal said: “I know it will be a tough call as to which batsman to drop in order to accommodate Sehwag. In such a case, I would drop Yuvraj Singh, who has not looked completely in his zone. We can give Viru another match or so and then take a final call on dropping him or not. After all, we must first qualify for the next stage.” 

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