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Sehwag makes way for Sharma

india Updated: Feb 06, 2012 00:15 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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Despite the presence of 30,000 spectators, the gigantic Melbourne Cricket Ground wore a near-deserted look on Sunday. The Indians in the 'sparse crowd', though, missed out on a Virender Sehwag blitzkrieg.

Not because the opener was dismissed early. But because the Delhi cricketer didn't figure in the eleven for the inaugural CB Series tie against Australia.

When Sehwag, who has been off-colour in the series so far, wasn't included for the tri-series opener, doubts were raised about his fitness. But the India vice-captain silenced all those doubters when he turned up for nets while the game was on.

India skipper MS Dhoni - who had said he was 'rested' during the last CB Series four years ago - didn't repeat the mistake this time around. The skipper said that Sehwag's exclusion was only to give Rohit Sharma a decent run in the series.

"We wanted to give Rohit a chance. An experienced player can come into the side (anytime). For Rohit, it might be tough (for future games) if he doesn't get a good going (now). During the latter half of the series, you might find him playing a game without much match practice.

"We have to look at the overall strength of the side, this being a fairly long series. That was the reason (we gave Rohit a chance)," Dhoni said after India's 65-run loss.

Rohit, who has been warming the bench here despite being adjudged Man of the Series during India's last ODI series against the West Indies, does deserve an opportunity on a consistent basis.

But, for that to happen, either Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar or Gautam Gambhir will have to miss a game.

Zaheer injured
After managing to last the full Test series, in Australia, for the first time in his career, an injury scare has hit Zaheer Khan. "Zak has a problem with one of his knees. That's why he didn't play this game. Hopefully, he will be fit for the next game," said Dhoni.

While Zaheer's injury is much less serious than that of his Australian counterpart Brett Lee's, which ruled him out of the tri-series on Sunday morning, the Indian paceman will keep his fingers crossed that it doesn't get aggravated as the series progresses.