Once stellar troika now against ropes

Yuvraj, Sehwag, Gambhir's future looks bleak at best

Once stellar troika now against ropes

Less than a year ago it would have been construed preposterous to even think that India would soon move over from Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir. As things stand now, however, the out-of-favour troika will consider themselves lucky to make their way back to the Indian squad.

With Shikhar Dhawan establishing himself at the top of the tree and an array of choices to make to partner the left-hander – right now Rohit Sharma has secured that position at least for a few more matches to come after a measured half-century against South Africa in Cardiff – the chances, if any, of Sehwag and Gambhir have turned only bleaker. Yuvraj’s hopes appear even less looking at the packed middle-order and the way Ravindra Jadeja has enhanced his stock in the side as a fast-improving all-rounder.   

Stalwarts in their own right, it’s ironic that these three have been displaced by batsmen who not too long ago were almost written off or spoken about not too highly. Not many would have bet on Dhawan to turn his fortunes around in the manner he did after replacing Sehwag for the Mohali Test in March.

Pushing 35 and increasingly looking a spent force, it seems unlikely that selectors would veer towards Sehwag unless it’s a crisis. In a poor run of form in the last one year or so, he managed 408 runs at an average of 31.38 in eight Test matches since April 2012 while in six ODIs, in the same period, he scored 183 runs at 30.5 before being dropped for the ODI series against England.

Since then the opener has done little to win back selectors’ trust. Having enjoyed an extended run on his reputation, and rightly so, the right-hander has an arduous journey back. Compounding his task is the absence of matches to regain his form as India’s domestic season is still over three months away.     
  
There is no doubt skipper MS Dhoni is a great fan of Rohit but with the youngster’s place in the 11 becoming increasingly untenable, the Mumbai batsman has been made to open the innings. But given Rohit’s ability to go bust every time he seems to cement his place, Gambhir can still fancy his chances! There hasn’t been much difference in the way Sehwag and Gambhir have performed in internationals over the last couple of years but the latter, with age on his side, can safely assume that he has not completely gone out of the radar.

Yuvraj, one of the finest batsmen ever to have played the one-day format, has had a forgettable last two years both on and off the field following his stellar role in India’s World Cup triumph in 2011. Having won the battle against cancer, the left-hander made an emotional comeback to the squad but has been a pale shadow of his impressive past.

He managed just 126 runs in his last five one-dayers and had a horrible run in the just-concluded IPL. Once a brilliant fielder, the Punjab player has progressively lost his alacrity in the field.

The lack of athleticism on the field holds true for Sehwag and Gambhir as well. Their tired legs and aching shoulders can’t match the young guns’ speed and strength which was on show in the game against South Africa. Stranger things have happened in Indian cricket but even going by those standards, Sehwag and Yuvraj’s chances of return appear rather slim while Gambhir is at best holding onto straws.

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