|Selectors prefer Uthappa on their plate!|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Jan 12, 2007|
It is amazing what a long rope Virender Sehwag has
been given until it has been finally snapped, at least
temporarily by the new selection regime under the
no-nonsense Dilip Vengsarkar.
It is shocking to discover that Sehwag has played in
95 ODIs since the 2003 World Cup in which he has just
two centuries at the measly average of 29.
It was in 2001 that he first came to prominence
(though he had made his ODI debut two years earlier)
with sensational centuries both in an ODI and on his
For a batsman whose game is built on all-out attack,
it is even more surprising that even as his one-day
form plummeted, he has enjoyed considerable success in
Remember, since 2003, he has scored a triple-century,
a big double (both against Pakistan) and big centuries
as well against Australia and just seven months back
in the West Indies (180 at St. Lucia).
In South Africa though he was a miserable failure in
both forms of the game and those who hold Indian
cricket dear are sick and tired of the sight of his
persistent slashing style with feet rooted to the
crease, a stroke that has proved his downfall time and
There are those who are convinced that Sehwag has a
deep-rooted hostility towards the leadership style of
the current dispensation of coach Greg Chappell and
captain Rahul Dravid and is firmly in the Ganguly
If that is indeed the case he is doing neither himself
nor the team any favours by his devil-may-care
Now the irony is that the man he professes such
loyalty to, Sourav Ganguly has reconciled himself to
the loss of captaincy and come back with a fresh
attitude and appetite and in turn has replaced Sehwag
at the top of the batting order in ODIs!
Of course this may never have happened in the first
place but for the freak injury suffered by Yuvraj
Singh during the Champions Trophy late last year in
India. But then, that is what makes Indian cricket
both so frustrating and so fascinating--its constant
twists and turns.
In Robin Uthappa we may have a 'new' Sehwag, or at
least a batsman in the mould of the Sehwag of
2001-2003 who brought a new dimension to world
Then again, is Joginder Singh the ideal replacement
for Irfan Pathan? He did have his turn three years ago
but was unimpressive in three ODIs against Bangladesh.
All this talk of Pathan being confused over his exact
role in the squad is unconvincing to me.
It has been strongly suggested by those close to the
Indian team camp that the young all-rounder allowed
fame and fortune to go to his head.
A boy from the rural hinterland suddenly found himself
suddenly thrust into the international spotlight with
fame, riches and various other distractions - the story
is not unique, has happened before and will surely
happen again. More is the pity.
Yes, with two months to go for the World Cup it
appears a crisis is looming. Then again, if the next
two series of four ODIs each can produce some new
stars, there is no reason why they cannot be thrown
into the cauldron of the World Cup.