Sehwag? No dilemma

Virender Sehwag should play in Perth. There's no point picking him for the tour of Australia - after he wasn't even included in the probables - and relegating him to tourist guide duty. Sehwag was presumably included for his success in Australia and the undoubtable X factor. He's not going to offer that sitting on the bench, as a 73-ball hundred against an ACT XI in Canberra indicated.

First things first, it wasn't a good bowling attack. But time spent in the middle is a good indicator of what a batsman can bring, and judging by his strokeplay, Sehwag can currently offer more than Wasim Jaffer and Yuvraj Singh. Jaffer has failed in two Tests and though he did score 92 in the first innings of this tour match, he's under pressure from Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik, who scored 97 and added 158 for the opening stand with Sehwag. Karthik won't usurp Jaffer as opener, but Sehwag will fit in smoothly to the line-up. And Sehwag says he's hungry for Perth. Take his word for it.

Sehwag opening means Rahul Dravid can leave that position, one at which he has looked uneasy. He's even said he doesn't want to open. But India would be wary of shifting VVS Laxman back down from No. 3.

This presents another scenario. A relaid Perth track is reportedly fast as hell, so Indid are unlikely to play Harbhajan Singh. Irfan Pathan is the man to come in, and he's a solid bat. Opening with him, and Sehwag, is not an altogether unforseeable option.

Yuvraj is a far better batsman than his scores in the two Tests against Australia suggest but he's looked like an utter rookie at the crease. Especially against spin. He needs to seriously sort himself out against spin. Its all fine in a one-day match, where there are no fielders around the bat and edges can run to third man, but in a Test, with three men hovering around the bat, Yuvraj is a sitting duck. You can argue that he bat higher up the order to get more strike against the fast bowlers, but who will you replace him with? Laxman has took to the No.3 spot like its rightfully his and Dravid has an excellent record at the same position.

India have selection dilemmas ahead of the third Test, and playing safe won't do them any good. Play Sehwag, and Pathan.


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