|Player:||V Sehwag, DB Vengsarkar, SC Ganguly, RV Uthappa, RS Dravid, SR Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, KD Karthik|
DateLine: 2nd February 2007
Virender Sehwag is being tipped to play in the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka as the selectors explore all options before naming their World Cup squad. Sehwag, one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, would normally have been considered an automatic selection for the showpiece event starting in the Caribbean on March 13. But the 28-year-old was axed for the West Indies series following his poor form on the South African tour with the chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar advising him to "sort out his batting." As his Indian team-mates played and won a four-match series against the West Indies 3-1, Sehwag returned to the nets in Delhi and scored 106 in the only first-class game available to him. With the World Cup squad to be named on February 12, the selectors need to play Sehwag in the first two of four matches against Sri Lanka on February 8 and 11 to judge his form. "We will consider all options before the World Cup and Sehwag is certainly an option," said Vengsarkar, who will name the team for the Sri Lanka series on Saturday. The problem, however, lies in finding a suitable spot for Sehwag, a veteran of 163 one-dayers who has smashed 4,756 runs with seven centuries at a strike rate of 95.96 per 100 balls. He is also the only Indian to compile a triple century in Test cricket where he has 4,155 runs from 52 matches at a creditable average of 49.46. Sehwag's favourite opening position appears to have been taken by back-in-form Sourav Ganguly and young Robin Uthappa following their fine display against the West Indies. The 21-year-old Uthappa hit 70 off 41 balls and 28 off 17 in the two matches he played to provide India rollicking starts in true Sehwag style. One of the current middle-order batsmen - skipper Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthick or Mahendra Dhoni - will have to be rested against Sri Lanka to accommodate Sehwag. An unnamed selector was quoted in the local media on Thursday as saying that Sehwag was certain to be named in the World Cup squad even if he did not perform against Sri Lanka. The four-match series against Sri Lanka opens in Kolkata on February 8 with the remaining games in Rajkot (Feb 11), Goa (Feb 14) and Visakhapatnam (Feb 17).