INDORE (TIP): Virender Sehwag’s decision to bat down the order for Delhi in the Challenger Trophy match against India Blue may have come as a surprise to his fans. But it wasn’t really unexpected as there has been speculation that he was contemplating such a move to give his flagging career a second wind. Many experts believe it is not a bad idea for the attacking batsman to give up the opener’s slot as age has slowed him down. His eyesight too isn’t the same. Ironically, as Delhi lost two quick wickets, Sehwag was at the crease in the third over itself and must have felt like he was still an opener. He impressed during his half-century stint, even showing glimpses of his old self.
At the same venue where he made a record-breaking 219 against the West Indies in Dec 2011, Sehwag seemed way on his way to a breezy century till he threw it away. It is difficult to say whether, with one flourishing innings, he has been able to convince the national selectors, led by Sandeep Patil, about his utility in Team India, be it as an opener or a middle-order batsman. Sehwag, who is 25 days away from his 35th birthday, had begun his career as a middle-order batsman and scored his first Test century batting at No. 6. But he gave opening a shot as Team India had a start-studded middle order.
With his belligerent strokeplay, he changed the entire concept of batting in Test matches. He has been among the most successful openers for India, with two triple hundreds and a couple of double centuries in Test cricket, besides a record breaking 219 in ODIs. Yet, Sehwag has always maintained that he was keen to go back to the middle order, where he doesn’t always have to negotiate the new ball. On the 2011 tour of Australia, when Sehwag was captaining the side at Adelaide, he had given the first indication of moving down the order. He had then said; “No, not immediately as we have a very good middle order. When they retire, I’ll think about it. It depends on the combination, and who’s the captain, and who’s going to retire.”