I hate to pick out individual players, especially those who have been so great for their country, but Sehwag increasingly looks a shadow of his past. Over the past ten or so years he has been one of the best and most dashing batsmen in world cricket. Holding many many records he will go down as one of the great Indian batsmen.
He also has been a huge reason why India have been so successful over the last ten years. It is no surprise that the decline of Sehwag has coincided with a loss of form for team India. His fast starts mean that India could allow other players to come in and take their time to settle while he kept up a good run rate. I am sure players like Gambhir and Tendulkar would state that he has played a huge part in their success. This can be highlighted again by seeing the form of Sachin Tendulkar and Gutam Gambhir, they do not have the guy on the other end taking all the pressure off or the guy that has blasted his way to a big score before they have come into bat any more. Subsequently their own form seems to have suffered. Is that just a coincidence that can be put down to ageing or have they been effected by Viru’s form?
Sehwag has always had poor footwork, he’s success is down to his impecable timing of the ball. My dad always says that if he had slightly better footwork he would be considered in the same list as Bradman, Tendulkar and Lara. He in my opinion is in the bracket of players just slightly below these players. Many records have fallen when Sehwag is playing, being part of a great Indian side. He is the only Indian to reach three figures in test cricket, doing this on two occasions. I have also admired Sehwag’s attitude, he is always smiling, every player and umpire like him, I doubt anyone has a bad word to say about him.
Also his ambitious statements that he makes every now and then, for example when he first stated that he wanted to be the first player to score a double century in ODI cricket, people like Nassir Hussain very rudely mocked him. He wasn’t the first player but second player to do this after Tendulkar. On another occassion on day five against England in a test series he stated that India would not play for a draw, the English media laughed at him trying to suggest that England would concede a world record total on day five, he lived up to his word and did it.
Currently he has a very healthy average of 49.95 in test cricket, but that will probably decrease soon, he has scored 23 test and 15 ODI centuries plus a total of 136 wickets in international cricket. This is not bad going is it? What cant be questioned is his ability to give his all for his country, but is it time he recognises that India may be better off without him? India travel to South Africa soon and cant afford to take any passengers, his drop of a dolly catch in the first test did not cost India, but can you imagine him giving Amla, Smith or Kallis a second chance?
The problem that India have is that there are not many players who can replace Sehwag currently. Vijay has been hit and miss in his international career, starting as a classical test batsman, then he became a slogger and currently showing his ability to grind out runs again after a four years of not being able to do this.
Gambhir has been dropped from tests and kept only in ODI’s, in my opinion he would be the safest bet to take over. Although his own form has been ropey. Another option is Rohit Sharma, he is a good player, he has been successfully promoted to opener in ODI cricket many times, he is similarly attacking to Sehwag. Rahane is a good player, but was exposed against Pakistan and has currently not played since being dropped from that ODI series. The young guy for the future is Unmukt Chand but he is very raw and untested.
It will be a very tough decision for Sehwag or the selectors, but it is clear that if he doesnt perform in the third test against Australia then either party may make this call sooner rather than later. I just hope that if a new player is tried out, the fans of Indian cricket give him a chance, otherwise he will always be compared unfairly to Sehwag.