Sehwag will continue to open: Dravid

The skipper rejected calls for the out of form opener to be moved down the order.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 15:12 IST

Indian captain Rahul Dravid is keeping faith with out-of-form batsman Virender Sehwag and has rejected calls for the opener to be moved down the order for Thursday's fourth one-day international against England.

"At the moment we want to give him some more opportunities at the top of the order," Dravid told a news conference on Wednesday.

"He is having a tough run of late. For us, it is critical to try and get him back into form and we will do whatever it takes.

"What he does for us when he fires at the top is very destructive, something he has done with a lot of success."

The hosts are 3-0 up in the seven-match series, a position strong enough that could have allowed India to avoid making drastic changes to the batting order, especially concerning the talented Sehwag.

England earmarked the Delhi-born 27-year-old as the danger man at the start of the tour, ahead of Sachin Tendulkar, but the aggressive stroke-maker struggled in the drawn three-match test series and has shown little in the one-dayers.

England's pacemen have been able to exploit a chink in his armour, a weakness against the short ball directed into him, to extend his poor form in limited overs matches to a year.

The last of his seven centuries came against Pakistan in April 2005 at this venue.


He has scored just three fifties in the last 35 innings and has totalled only 48 in the three one-dayers against England.

Sehwag has been played down the order before to help rediscover his form, but his captain is keen to retain him as an opener.

"We played him in the middle order against South Africa with some success," Dravid said, referring to the one-day series at homein 2005.

"We have a lot of options, but we will see as the series progresses."

The Indian skipper is looking to seal the series with a fourth straight win.

"We do understand it is an important game. It will be nice (to seal it). But I do not think we will deviate too much from our plans for this game," Dravid said.

"We will try and play the cricket which we played for the last three games."

The conditions in the southern coastal city are similar to that of Goa, where the last match was played.

"It gets quite hot and humid here. You need a lot of mental strength and ability to cope with it. We showed that in Goa," he added.

The captain described the pitch as a 250-plus wicket.

"The three or four times we played here, they have been high-scoring games," he said.

First Published: Apr 05, 2006 15:12 IST