After two consecutive wins in the Test series against Australia, the selectors are not expected to make any changes to the squad when they sit down ahead of the third Test starting in Mohali on March 14.
Most pieces of the jigsaw seem to have fallen into place and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has also regained the bounce in his step. The only concern in the line- up surrounds the form of opener Virender Sehwag and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. In familiar conditions, these two veterans have failed to come to the party while their younger teammates have made merry.
Sehwag has not been firing for a long time now. After a century in the first Test against England in Ahmedabad, he seems to be a sitting duck for the opposition bowlers, and as a result, India is invariably one down with not too much on the board. He already finds himself out of the one- day and Twenty20 sides, and an aggregate of 27 runs from three innings puts his spot in the Test team in doubt as well. His average has fallen below 50 after a very long time.
In case Sehwag has to be omitted, his Delhi teammate Shikhar Dhawan is already in the squad, and can provide a left-right combination with Murali Vijay at the top of the order.
The Australians were always expected to struggle on the spin-friendly tracks on offer during the series. But while Ravichandran Ashwin and, to a lesser extent, Ravindra Jadeja have spun a web around the hapless visitors, Harbhajan has had to be satisfied with mere crumbs. Five wickets at an average of over 40 is not good enough.
On the positive side, Vijay’s big hundred in Hyderabad has made his place secure for at least the near future. The selectors would also want Jadeja to contribute more with the bat if he has to be a long- term option at No. 7.
Ishant Sharma has claimed just one scalp in two Tests, and the five wise men would like him to get a few more breakthroughs.
Dravid for fresh legs
Former India captain Rahul Dravid has said the selectors must take a call on whether to continue with the struggling Sehwag as an opener in South Africa later this year or give someone else a chance.
“Viru at his best is a great asset to any side, but the reality is that he hasn’t been performing particularly well, and he hasn’t really done well on overseas trips over the last two or three years. If they feel confident about opening with Sehwag in South Africa, then I think it makes sense to continue with Sehwag and give him the opportunity to get that confidence. India’s next Test will be in South Africa at the end of the year. I think it makes sense to try out another youngster and give him the chance to play at least a couple of Test matches in more familiar conditions before going to South Africa.”
Heat on Virender SehwagMail Today – Thu 7 Mar, 2013 10:10 AM IST
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