Problem of Viruvian proportions

SP

Only a year after scoring the record breaking 219 against West Indies, Virender Sehwag's ODI place is under immense scrutiny. He has made just 216 runs last year at an average of 21.6. In the first ODI against Pakistan, he made four.

True, it was extremely difficult at Chepauk in the first few overs on a damp wicket as Junaid Khan made the ball talk. But even considering that, Sehwag is fast running out of excuses. It is not just his own poor form, but also the fact that the replacements aren't too far behind.

In Ajinkya Rahane, India have a back-up opener ready and with the Mumbai lad doing well in the limited chances he has been given, though in the T20 format, it is only a matter of time before he finds himself a consistent pick for the 50-overs format.

There are other factors too. In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, it would probably have been expected of Sehwag to lead the Indian batting, considering the impact he is capable of having on a game and the dressing room, and the fact that he is the senior-most player in the squad at 34 years of age. If with age comes responsibility, then Sehwag might be suspect in that aspect according to some.

"He eschewed the responsibility at every opportunity," Greg Chappell wrote in his column after Sehwag was dropped for the World T20 Championship. While that is an aspect of his game that might be overlooked in normal circumstances when he is making runs, it will only add to the argument of his detractors when the big scores have dried up.

And that has been the case more often in the past year. And it is no longer taboo to talk of dropping him from ODIs. He was already omitted from the Asia Cup squad after a poor tri-series in Australia.

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