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End of the road for Viru?

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Virender_Sehwag_Viru_India_Cricket'Give me failure and I'll give you the axe.'

Sandeep Patil is fast becoming the most adventurous selector ever. His latest decision – drop Sehwag. In a land of 'coddle some and cosset some more', this iron fisted decision is refreshing. It is indeed the need of the hour. When the eye sight of a player who relies heavily on hand-eye co-ordination betrays him, it's time to question putting faith in him. His performance in the first two Tests was overshadowed by Ravi Shastri's commentary.

The only problem India seemingly had in the first two Tests against Australia was the loss of early wickets. M Vijay redeemed himself with a big hundred in the second Test, but Sehwag has been a spectacle wearing paper weight. Quite a heavy one too. Everyone knew this was coming and the decision is unequivocally correct. However, that Sandeep Patil has finally done it makes him an able selector worthy of seeing the team through the passage of Sachin Tendulkar. He dropped Gambhir. He gave Bhuvneshwar Kumar a chance and has had a few more selection hits. Another conundrum that presents itself is, how many runs scored in domestic cricket will bring Sehwag into contention. More than runs, it is perhaps a change in attitude that is needed. If it doesn't happen, this should be the end of the road for Sehwag.

Patil's next task will be to find a replacement for Viru. Considering Rahane is suddenly seen as ill equipped to open in Tests, Dhawan is next in line. One can't help but feel sorry for Rahane. His few good innings have been blotched by two dismissals against Steve Finn. He has been travelling with the Indian team for a while now and has the technique to bat at any position available. It is only fair he gets first crack at the opening slot. Despite that, Dhawan should curb his aggression a tad bit and pretend it's an early Christmas and make merry in the third Test.

The decision to retain Harbhajan Singh does suggest a bit of emotion. It could also be that there is a dearth in quality spinners. Like M Vijay, Harbhajan didn't deserve a comeback opportunity. But unlike Vijay, he hasn't made his chances count. His bowling is a pale shadow of what it used to be. His rhythm seems to be improving with every match, but his inability to take wickets speaks ill of him. His selection ahead of Ojha in the playing XI is a reflection of his friendship with the captain. It certainly appears that way from the outside.

While India continues to win, Ishant Sharma will continue to be considered unlucky. The moment loss knocks on the doors, Sharma will be labelled wicketless. He poses another question to the Sandeep Patil led selection committee. To persist or to desist.  

Of course the biggest Test of this committee is Sachin Tendulkar. It is the mother of all retirements. Companies offering retirement plans will be lining up once Sachin decides to...'choke'...retire.

Australia, on the other hand, have problems of spin. The batsmen have trouble facing it and the bowlers have trouble bowling it. So much so, that being able to spin the ball might become one of the criteria for Australian citizenship. They have tossed and turned when in bed with spinners, but Nathan Lyon should be given a bigger cushion.

Unless Australia find a quick fix for their travails, the third Test shouldn't be any different.



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