Saturday, June 09, 2007

SEHWAG SHOULD GO THE SLATER WAY

Virendra Sehwag came to international cricket with a bang. The man from Nazafgarh seemed to be the perfect replacement for Sachin Tendulkar, that is, once the latter decided to quit. But for the past couple of seasons, Sehwag is not even a shadow of his former self.

Sehwag came into public reckoning in a one-day international. However, it is in the traditional form of the game that he made his mark. It is very difficult to forget the knocks that Sehwag played in India as well as on foreign pitches. The near double ton in Australia and the famous triple ton in Pakistan are just two examples.

The kind of stroke play that made Sehwag a superstar was expected to yield great results in the shorter version of the game. But apart from a great strike rate, there is nothing much to write about. In the first match of the Afro-Asia Cup, Sehwag belted a few balls before being dismissed in his own unique way. In the World Cup of 2007, he made a good score only against an attack as lethal as Bermuda. In the matches that counted, Sehwag was a flop.

In the Australian sides captained by Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh, there was this opener Michael Slater. He was a dashing batsman who hit every shot as if to knock the leather covering off the ball. But he was never able to repeat this in the one-dayers. After a few games, Slater was designated a test player.

I feel it is time to consider the role of Sehwag in the one-dayers. The think tank may argue that his bowling skills are an addition. But at the end of the day, it is the batting that is more important to the team. There is no harm if Sehwag is asked only to play in the test matches.

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