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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Cricket

Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer get lifeline, named in India 'A' team
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Visakhapatnam, September 10, 2013
First Published: 18:34 IST(10/9/2013)
Last Updated: 09:43 IST(11/9/2013)

The Test series sweep against Australia in March and the subsequent Champions Trophy win in England seemed to hint that Indian selectors were ready to turn the page on prominent seniors. But it appears all may not be lost for them.

The stunning show by openers Shikhar Dhawan – he struck the fastest century by a Test debutant (183) against Australia in Mohali – and Murali Vijay (he topped the series aggregate with 430 runs @ 61.42) had eased worries about finding the suitable batsmen to take the team forward.

Dhawan has single cemented his ODI spot too.   

Comeback hopes
The national selectors on Tuesday hinted that the comeback hopes of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had not vanished by naming both in the India 'A' squad for the second and final four-day match against West Indies 'A'.

Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan and Mohd Kaif are also in the 14-player squad while Yuvraj Singh will lead the ODI and T20 teams against the Caribbean side.

The clash of dates with the Champions League T20 seems to have forced some of the selections, especially that of Kaif.

Sehwag was dropped after the second Test against Australia in Hyderabad, after managing just 163 runs from nine innings at an average of 18.11.

The failures suggested slowing reflexes and the end of the domestic season had not provided him any meaningful opportunity for a comeback, but the new season could mark a change.

Chance in Tests
While the athletic ODI squad looks out of bounds for Sehwag, who turns 35 next month, a good effort with the bat could keep him in the race for a Test spot, which can even open up in the middle-order.

Sehwag has been working on his batting in regular net sessions in the Capital and also trained at the MRF pace foundation.

Gambhir, who lost his Test and ODI spots after the home series against England, has worked hard.  With back-to-back tours to South Africa and New Zealand looming, the selectors could pick him as a third opener.

The recent form slump of Vijay abroad has only increased the value of an experienced opener.

Zaheer has recovered from his latest injury setback and is building up towards playing competitive cricket again. Yuvraj too is refreshed after a rigorous fitness stint in France along with Zaheer.


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