'If Dada can be axed, why not Viru?'
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'If Dada can be axed, why not Viru?'

As performance graph of Sehwag goes down with each match, the clamour to drop him from the team is going up.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2006 10:50 IST

As the performance graph of opening batsman Virender Sehwag goes down with each match, the clamour to drop him from the team is going up in equal measure.

The Delhi player, who has been short of runs, particularly in the one-dayers, was once again got out early on Tuesday to an irresponsible shot for seven off eight balls.

This left his die-hard fans, including some former cricketers, at the Ferozeshah Kotla here disillusioned.

"He should be given one more chance and if he fails to deliver again, he must be dropped," said a former cricketer.

"Sometimes such jolts are necessary. It helps a player to rediscover his hunger," he said on condition of anonymity.

For the record, the 27-year-old Nawab of Najafgarh has not scored a century in his last 25 one-day innings. He has totalled 757 runs at 31.54 with three half-centuries to his credit.

The reaction of the fans to Sehwag's continued failures was more bare.

"He has had his chances, it is very obvious that bowlers have sorted him out," said Mukesh Kumar, an IIT Delhi student.

"In Pakistan he was able to score on flat tracks but the moment the ball started to do a bit in Karachi, his weakness was exposed. It was the same against England in Mohali too. If he can't score on home tracks, then it is time to give him rest so that he can reorganise his batting," said the 24-year-old with India colours painted on his face.

However, a respected cricket writer said India should not take any decision in haste as it could have telling effects on the side's overall performance.

"Before we decide to drop Sehwag, we must keep in mind that we do not have Tendulkar. Keeping Sehwag out would mean we will lose both the openers. Even without Tendulkar's problem, the Indian team relies on Sehwag for explosive starts. So if he is not there it will leave a gaping hole at the top. Also, we must remember that he is still our best batsman when the ball is turning," he said.

Fitness worries have also added to the woes of Sehwag, who was most recently troubled by back spasm in the Mumbai Test which India lost by a whopping 212 runs.

For some fans, the team management and selectors must apply the same yardstick for everyone if performance is the only criteria for picking a player in the national side.

"If Ganguly, one of the most prolific run-getters in one-day cricket, can be dropped citing poor form, why not Sehwag?" asked Sumati Chandra, an MNC executive from Gurgaon.

Meanwhile, Sehwag's family members were deprived of watching the match from the cool comforts of the air-conditioned club house after finding out that their seats had been occupied by freeloaders.

The star cricketer's wife Aarti and brother Vinod were seated next to the media box with wry smiles on their faces—anyway they had not missed much, if it was Sehwag whom they had come to watch in action!

First Published: Mar 29, 2006 03:25 IST