Virender Sehwag: Can he make a comeback?
The five wise men of Indian cricket, also known as the selectors, last week made the decision to drop the Nawab of Najafgarh – Virender Sehwag from the third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy. In recent times, this has been one of the boldest decisions made by the selectors. There will always be a debate whether this is the right decision or not. His critics would say that considering his recent performances he deserves the axe. On the other hand his fans would argue that a player of his stature warrants more of chances. I am not an expert to comment on the right or wrong, but for me the bigger question is – Can Sehwag make a comeback?
Be it his 195 against the Aussies at Melbourne or his triple century at Multan (for records’ sake, he has two Test triple centuries to his name), he has always been an entertainer. There is hardly a dull moment when Sehwag is at the crease. In a way Sehwag is a trailblazer for the way opening batting is looked upon in Tests, at least in India. Traditional openers like the Gavaskars of the world always believed in respecting the bowler for the first hour of play, but to the dismay of bowlers worldwide, Sehwag never understood this concept. His mantra has always been – “If the ball is to be hit, I will hit it; irrespective of the reputation of the bowler or the situation of the match”, as simple as that. He has been one Indian player who has never allowed himself to get bogged down by the reputation of the opposition.
Harsha Bhogle recently wrote that given the timing of this decision, indications are that Sehwag would miss the flight to the country where he started his career. For there is no Ranji cricket before November, leave alone Test cricket. This means that forcing his way back into the team for the African safari will not be in his hands completely. He would have to hope that either his replacements perform badly or the selectors decide to go with experience for the tough tour.
Talking about his replacements, a certain Shikhar Dhawan has made a flawless century on his debut at Mohali by batting in much the same way Sehwag used to bat. I am not a person to jump into conclusions based on a knock against a not so strong Australian attack. So, it is too early to comment on Dhawan; but one thing is for sure, that he has ensured a place for himself in the Indian Test team for at least a handful of Test matches. Also, do not forget that Sehwag’s long time opening partner Gambhir is waiting to pounce back in the team too. Sehwag’s other hope i.e. a change of mind for the selectors has a low probability given the lack of penchant this selection committee has for persisting with seniors. To refresh your memories, this is the very committee which saw the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar from one day cricket.
The picture apparently looks gloomy as far as Sehwag’s future career is concerned. But all is not lost yet. To quote the man himself – “My career is not over, I will make a comeback”. It is definitely easier said than done. He can of course force his way back into the Test team by performing in the one day matches. That was the way he had initially made inroads into the Test team. His sheer weight of performance in ODIs had made the then captain Saurav Ganguly to consider him for Tests and the rest, as they say, is history. And there is no reason to suggest that he cannot repeat history. As a person who has enjoyed Sehwag’s antics over the years, I for one will sincerely hope that we will again see Sehwag donning the Indian Test cap very soon.