Not at all surprised by Sehwag's axing
There is a lot of speculation about the England ODI team and how they would fare against India. But, aren't England the number one ODI side at the moment? Ian Botham writes.india Updated: Jan 10, 2013 00:13 IST
There is a lot of speculation about the England ODI team and how they would fare against India. But, aren't England the number one ODI side at the moment? Honestly, the warm-up games don't mean anything really. They help the team get accustomed to the conditions, and I don't read too much into the results. The team in bother at the moment is India. There is a lot of pressure on the team. Right from MS Dhoni's leadership to Duncan Fletcher's role as a coach, there are a lot of questions that are being asked. The English team would be looking forward to taking advantage of those factors.
The Indian batting display was pretty ordinary against Pakistan and they were very close to a 3-0 whitewash. Like Pakistan, England too will look to exploit that. England is the second-best Test side at the moment and they possess a very fine bowling attack. We saw how the India batsmen struggled against them in the Test series and I see no reason why the English bowling unit wouldn't be able to replicate that against the struggling Indian batting.
Batting will be an area on which much of England's success in this series will depend. If the batsmen can support the bowlers, then beating this India team wouldn't be very difficult.
The Indian selectors have included Cheteshwar Pujara in the side to strengthen their batting and the axe fell on Virender Sehwag. I am not surprised by this decision. Sehwag has looked very ordinary in the last few innings. It is important for an opener to lend solidity at the top, but unfortunately he hasn't been delivering, which has hurt India.
Though the decision doesn't surprise me, I would have still picked him for this series and dropped him from the Test squad. A run of few games might have helped him regain some form. There are other batsmen as well who haven't been getting runs and I hope the change in the batting order helps the Indian batting.
As far as England are concerned, I am pretty happy with the team. Rotating players is vital in order to keep them fit. There is a series in New Zealand coming up followed by the Ashes, so it's a good decision by the selectors to rest some of the key bowlers.
The new format seems pretty interesting, but it's too early to make a judgement. There have been only a few matches played, and as this series progresses we will find out more on what impact it has on this format. Looking forward to another series of close encounters.
The writer is a former England captain