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Bold BCCI calls time on Sehwag

The inevitable has happened. After a string of poor performances, dashing opener Virender Sehwag has been left out of the India squad for the remaining two Tests against Australia. Considering the way Sehwag has been searching for form since hitting a ton against England at Ahmedabad in November 2012, even his staunch supporters are unlikely to question the BCCI decision. Yet, it has to be admitted that Indian selectors made a bold statement by not even naming a replacement opener. It seems the selection committee just went ahead with the decision despite not having other options available. The axe from the Test line-up was preceded by Sehwag’s omission from the ODI side for the back-to-back series against Pakistan and England. And with India scheduled to embark on four continuous overseas tours beginning with South Africa later this year, the Hyderabad Test might well end up being the last of an extraordinary career based entirely on the simplest formula to excel in the game of cricket – batting is all about scoring as many runs as quickly as possible. Sehwag, feared worldwide for his penchant to pile up Test runs at a breathtaking pace, has been struggling to score big over the last two years, even in subcontinent conditions. He notched up his 23rd Test ton against England last year after a gap of two years and between then and now, he just recorded paltry scores of 25, 30, 9, 23, 49, 0, 2, 19 and 6. Sehwag’s road back to the national team has been made all the more treacherous by the emergence of a string of talented batsmen like Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane, among others. In his absence, Sehwag’s Delhi mate Dhawan is likely to make his debut in Mohali along with Vijay, who scored a solid 167 in the second Test in Hyderabad to cement his place in the team.

Among the batsmen who repeatedly hogged limelight just for his sheer impact on the game despite the overwhelming presence of Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag surely stands out as a towering figure. The unorthodox technique, lack of footwork and lightning bat speed backed by supreme hand-eye coordination transformed the starry-eyed youngster from Najafgah into the most feared batsman after the retirement of Sir Vivian Richards. On his Test debut against the mighty South Africa on a green Bloemfontein track in 2001, Sehwag not only matched his idol Sachin Tendulkar stroke for stroke enroute a blazing century, he literally forced the master to play a supporting role. Since then, Sehwag has continuously defied all odds with his characteristic approach to opening batting based on sheer aggression.
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