Time to unleash Sehwag: Experts

While Dhoni has kept Sehwag out for reasons best known to him, experts say the opener must be let loose on Australia.

updated: March 26, 2008 09:41 IST
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Will Virender Sehwag play or not? There is a brewing conflict over this topic in the Indian team, especially because the opening batsman was made to sit out the last two games of the CB Series.

Sources told NDTV that the selectors are keen to play him in Sydney on Sunday but key members of the team management are not in favour of playing Sehwag.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell thinks Sehwag should be played just to see if he could rattle fast bowler Brett Lee. Ravi Shastri thinks he is an indispensable arsenal in MS Dhoni's armour.

But Dhoni himself thinks differently.

Sources told NDTV that the difference in opinion over whether or not Sehwag should play on Sunday is because the captain and his deputy would prefer to open with Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir and send Robin Uthappa one down. Uthappa, for his part, says he's happy batting wherever it suits the team.

"It's a matter of time even in the games we've played," Uthappa said. "We have shuffled around the batting order a bit. We know we are batting well; it's about getting the right combination. Sometimes, you want to play five bowlers and sometimes four.

But experts feel there is a grand plan behind Sehwag's omission from the two Adelaide ODIs and that his presence is necessary for India to go the distance in this tri-series.

Former ODI captain Ajay Jadeja says Dhoni is making Sehwag hungrier, and it's a good thing.

"Viru is an exceptional player and Dhoni knows about it," Jadeja said. "I have always said that Dhoni has his own style of functioning. He does not listen to anybody. He has his own thought process."

"He should not listen to Ravi or Gavaskar. I personally feel that Sehwag will play against Australia. It is better to keep him hungry. When he is hungry, he comes in and plays longer innings."

Sehwag will have to show that hunger to reclaim his place in the playing XI. No mean feat, when he averages just 16 compared to Gambhir's 49. So, it's a matter of Dhoni keeping the faith with him as he has with Yuvraj and hoping that one big innings is just around the corner.