Virender Sehwag has always been an enigma, a nonconformist who never played by the book. Sehwag who hit boundaries on almost every “first ball” he faced in the 2011 World Cup followed only one Mantra. If there is a ball that can be hit, it should be hit. While the world expected him to be another Sachin, he created his own legacy by destroying every single bowler, hitting deliveries of almost every length, in every venue around the world, in all playing conditions, in every format of the game and against every opposition. Not just batting, when it comes to expressing opinions, Sehwag never minces his words either. Be it, his open support to nationalists on Twitter or his friendly tussles with English reporter Piers Morgan, Sehwag is not the one to shut up and observe silently. This time Indian Skipper Virat Kohli finds himself as Sehwag’s target.
Virender Sehwag was absolutely puzzled by the team selection in the ongoing 2nd Test against South Africa at Centurion. Kohli made 3 changes to the playing side after South African pacers dominated Indian batsmen and the hosts managed to win the inaugural Cape Town Test comfortably by 72 runs. Lokesh Rahul returned to the playing 11 as an opener. Rahul replaced Dhawan. Wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel replaced Wriddhiman Saha and lanky pacer Ishant Sharma replaced Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
What has been troubling the cricket lovers across the nation is the odd omission of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. As a matter of fact, Bhuvi took 6 crucial wickets in the first test. He took a wicket each in his first three overs to give India an early advantage. As a batsman, Bhuvi stayed on the crease for 127 minutes when star Indian batters could barely manage to survive for 2 overs.
Sehwag didn’t seem pleased with Kohli’s abrupt choices, his omissions and selections. Sehwag was quick to question whether Kohli will drop himself if he fails to score runs in the second Test (as well).
In Sehwag’s words – “Watching Virat Kohli excluding Shikhar Dhawan for just one Test failure, and Bhuvneshwar for no reason at all, Kohli should drop himself in the third Test at Johannesburg, if he fails to perform in Centurion,”
Source: India TV
Sehwag went on to say that by removing Bhuvneshwar from the playing 11, Captain Kohli has “hurt” Bhuvneshwar’s self-confidence. “Excluding Bhuvneshwar wasn’t the right decision. Citing that Ishant might benefit with his height, Kohli has hurt Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s self-confidence,” Sehwag added.
The official reason about Bhuvneshwar’s omission is that the wicket is not very swing friendly. It doesn’t sound right as Bhuvi has proved himself to be very useful with the new ball that offers no swing. In fact, his early breakthroughs in the first test were the only thing that gave India a fighting chance.
Of course, it is extremely bizarre that Rahane has still not been considered. Rahane’s overseas records have been fascinating. Rahane has played 43 tests outside India and has scored close to 3000 runs with an average of almost 45. He has hit 9 Centuries and a dozen half centuries. Keeping him out doesn’t make any sense at all! Jasprit Bumrah, an out and out one-day specialist in the team doesn’t make sense as well. His typical one-day length deliveries aren’t doing any good to the Indian team. He was mostly mediocre on the first day.
However, Kohli can win this test match and shut the mouth of his critics. It’s the results that matter in cricket after all. But hopefully Virat Kohli heeds the advice of his seniors and well-wishers and give some more thought to team selection. Matches are seldom won on individual performances, and this is a test match with South Africa we are talking about!