Sehwag axed from Test squad

Sehwag axed from Test squad

Sehwag axed from Test squad

A prolonged run drought has cost opener Virender Sehwag his place in the Indian cricket team, with the selectors on Thursday dropping him from the squad for the third and fourth Tests against Australia.

The squad was trimmed to 14 members as the selectors decided against picking a replacement for Sehwag, who has scored just 27 runs in three innings during the current series. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who has also been struggling to regain form, was retained, announced BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale.

Other than dropping the 34-year-old batsman, there were no other changes in the squad for the two matches to be played in Mohali (from March 14) and Delhi (from March 22). India lead the four-match series 2-0 after thumping wins in Chennai and Hyderabad. Sehwag’s omission comes after his long-time opening partner Gautam Gambhir was shown the door due to poor form.

This paves the way for India to have a completely new opening pair featuring neither of the two veterans, who had occupied the top two batting slots since 2004.
Together they had scored 4,412 runs in 87 innings at an average of 52.52 and are ranked fifth in the all-time list of top opening pairs.

Shikhar Dhawan may now open the innings with Murali Vijay, who cemented his place with a gritty hundred in the second Test in Hyderabad, which India won by an innings and 135 runs.

Ajinkya Rahane is another opener in the squad, but chief selector Sandeep Patil had earlier indicated that he was chosen as a middle-order batsman.

Even though India registered commanding victories in the first two Tests, the opening partnerships between Sehwag and Vijay could produce only 11, 16 and 17 runs.

Sehwag had failed to fire in five consecutive Tests after scoring a hundred in the opening game of the home series against England at Ahmedabad in November-December last year.

 He was unable to score even a half-century in two home Tests against New Zealand. During India’s last overseas tour in Australia, Sehwag had scored only 198 runs in eight innings.