'Sehwag deserved another chance'

Calcutta: At a time when there is criticism from almost every corner, Virender Sehwag has found support from Sunil Gavaskar.

Sehwag, who hasn't been among runs of late, has been dropped from the Indian squad for the last two Tests against Australia.

Gavaskar, a former India captain, feels that Sehwag "deserved" another chance keeping in mind the batting-friendly pitch in Mohali, which will host the third Test against Australia from March 14.

"The ball comes onto the bat nicely in Mohali and Sehwag likes to bat on such surfaces. So I think he could have been given a chance for the third Test," Gavaskar told a television channel on Thursday.

Gavaskar is also confident that the out-of-form Sehwag would certainly stage a comeback. He categorically said that he doesn't think it is the end of the road for the dashing opener. He even stressed that saying Sehwag is out of form is incorrect.

"I don't think this is the end of the road for him. He has got a 100 at the start of the season against England. I think it's just the perception, the way he goes about his cricket. I don't think he is totally out of form," Gavaskar said.

He pointed out that Sehwag was being undone by great deliveries. "He is getting out to terrific deliveries. He got out to a beauty in Hyderabad, while in Chennai, the extra pace got the better of him."

Asked if Sehwag could be slotted in the middle order in future, Gavaskar said that given the opener's vast experience he would certainly be useful for the team in the middle-order. He explained that Sehwag would be the ideal man to counter the second new ball.

"With his experience, he would be useful batting at No.5 or No. 6, especially to counter the second new ball," Gavaskar said.

But not everyone is equally convinced about Sehwag. His one-time teammate and a former India captain, Rahul Dravid, had on Wednesday said that the Indian selectors would have to consider whether Sehwag fits into the scheme of things of the current side.

"I think the selectors and management need to decide whether they are going to open with Viru in South Africa. I mean Viru playing well, 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," Dravid had said.

Dravid had also supported the view that the youngsters should be given a chance before the overseas assignments. "I think it makes sense to try out another youngster, or try out another opener, and give him the opportunity to play at least a couple of Test matches in more familiar conditions, before going to South Africa. I think it will be unfair on any young opener to be asked to go to South Africa straightaway, and play against the likes of Steyn, Philander and Morkel," Dravid had said.

Former Australia batsman Dean Jones feels that it would be difficult for Sehwag to make a comeback. "It's going to be difficult for him to make a comeback. I am starting to worry for him now and, with the South Africa series coming up, it's not going to be easy."

Related report: Page 16


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