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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 Test debut.

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 Test matches.

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 again.

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 camp.

If that is indeed the case he is doing neither himself nor the team any favours by his devil-may-care attitude.

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 cricket.

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.

 
More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
  Book Review - My Journey to the World Cup: The Sky is the Limit
  When Pietersen played in Duleep Trophy
  Foul language on the field of play
  Sachin Tendulkar was the one great unifier that brought the nation together
  The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India
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