According to sources, inconsistent starts given by the openers in recent times have now forced Team India to look towards Virender Sehwag for the upcoming Test series in Australia.
Sehwag, who is in the race for the third opener’s slot for the Australian tour, will be keenly watched by the team management and selectors when he plays the Duleep Trophy, been reported by a top Indian cricket board (BCCI) official told TOI.
It was known when the recent selection committee meeting for the North Zone team opted for Sehwag for Duleep Trophy semis instead of other consistent performers from the zone as they felt he was in with a chance to earn a berth for the Australian tour.
As a result, young performers like Manan Vohra and Unmukt Chand missed out on a chance for being picked in the Duleep Trophy squad. However, Punjab’s Jiwanjot Singh, who has scored heavily in his first two first-class seasons did find a place.
Sehwag last played for India in the 2013 home series against Australia and was replaced by his Delhi teammate Shikhar Dhawan. Apart from been out of form, Sehwag’s attitude and lack of fitness has also allegedly rubbed the team management the wrong way . “If he is fit and motivated, he could be there in the Test team for Australia,” the official said.
With Murali Vijay and Dhawan likely to be first-choice openers, Sehwag’s immediate competitor for the third opener’s slot will be Delhi team-mate, Gautam Gambhir.
Gambhir who was another preffered choice, however, was out of sorts when he got an opportunity in England earlier this year. Besides, Sehwag has an excellent record in Australia.
Sehwag, who has seen batting in the middle order since being dropped, will now be opening for Delhi in the Vijay Hazare Trophy also. Sources said that he is also expected to open for North Zone. “He is in the North Zone team as an opener,” a North Zone official said.