Posted on: March 9, 2013

Sehwag axed; BCCI dares Delhi Daredevil

By Supriyo Das

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Sehwag axed; BCCI dares Delhi Daredevil

Dashing opener Virender Sehwag followed Gautam Gambhir’s way as he was ousted from the final two Tests against Australia to be held in Mohali and Delhi. BCCI selectors took this brave decision amidst declining reputation and form of Sehwag as he failed to score consistently in recent times. With this axe, the entire batting order of Team India has been overhauled which is not the same anymore as it was once before with the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in the middle who already retired. Imagining the team without Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir is something that is too much to take for the fans.

And so it has occurred, and not many should be taken aback. After coping with the bat for over two years, during which he averaged a mere 29.73 with just one century, Virender Sehwag has been dropped from India's Test team. The axe has fallen, eventually finishing the career of a batsman who played a crucial role in revolutionizing the opener's role in Test cricket, and who impacted India's rise to No. 1 in the ICC Test rankings with some unforgettable batting displays.

Initially, the numbers which forced this decision: Sehwag averages 18.11 since his 117 against England in November, interestingly his first Test century in two years. In 21 innings since the tour of Australia, in which he piled 198 runs in eight innings, Sehwag managed just two half-centuries apart from the century in Ahmedabad. In the last five years, the best he has come up with outside of subcontinent is 67, and he averages a terrible 22.73 away from friendly conditions. In the ongoing series against Australia, Sehwag scored 27 runs in three innings; bowled, caught at slip and by the wicketkeeper.

A player with those numbers in any other country would not have got the rope Sehwag has received. Had he been English or South African, Sehwag would have long been evicted from the side. Had he been Australian, he would definitely have not even been playing domestic cricket. The Indian way has been easy with Sehwag. His record and reputation have been considered, so we would like to believe. Either that or no one has been able to take the call until now.

Who can refuse not being thrilled by Sehwag's deeds at the top of India's order? Reel back the gems: an audacious 195 on the first day of the Boxing Day Test in 2003-04, which many critics rate as one of the best innings by an opener in Australia; the first triple-century by an Indian; a supremely-crafted 151 in Adelaide to save a Test; the fastest triple-century in Tests; an unbeaten 201 out of a total of 329 in Galle; a memorable cameo to set India on their way to overhauling a target of 387 against England; that 293 against Sri Lanka, a brutal assault that broke several records - the most double-centuries by an Indian, the second-highest number of 250-plus scores, the most runs by an Indian in a day - and gave India the charge to be crowned the No 1 Test team.

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