Rahul Dravid has placed his faith on Sehwag. Most Indians honestly wish that he will deliver in every match that he plays so that  India can win always. Analysts say that he is a “match Winner” and must be persisted with.

All this is fine. But if he continues to falter as he is doing now, carrying Sehwag in the team could itself be the biggest mistake that Dravid may make in losing the world cup chances.

let us remember that World cup is such a tournament where winning three of 5 matches is not going to get you the world cup. The team that wins will perhaps win 12 matches in a trot or atleast the last three or four matches in a trot. If any team loses more than two games out of the seven in the super eight, they have every chance of being eliminated. So even if Sehwag could win one or two games on his own, if he creates a crisis in every match by getting out early, then he would do damage India’s chances.

Further if Sehwag is not going to be dropped for any reason, it also means that Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik will not be picked for any reason. This would be having a detrimental effect on the psychology of the youngsters who stand by their performance.

For India, a fifty by Uthappa is as good as a 50 by Sehwag. If Uthappa has more probability of scoring a fifty than Sehwag, then he must be preferred over Sehwag. This is logic that may win the world cup for India.

If at all there is any point in accommodating Sehwag, it is for the position of an allrounder in the number 7 batting position in competition with Irfan Pathan. Depending on the pitch condition if we want a spinner all-rounder, we can chose Sehwag and if we want a Fast bowler alrounder, we can pick Irfan. Unfortunately in the two warm up games, Sehwag was not tried in the middle order nor given a bowling opportunity and hence we could not try him in this role. Now with two failures behind him, he has lost more of his confidence and the probability of his failure has increased.

It is ridiculous to hear some experts say.. “If the wicket is good for batting send Sehwag to open and if it is difficult, send Dravid to Open”. What sort of a logic is this? Are we playing only to make Sehwag succeed?. If he can fail in the warm up match against Netherlands and West Indies on not so difficult wickets, how can we trust him to succeed against more formidable opponents?..under worst conditions?

Let us therefore keep our hearts aside and bring the brain to the fore of discussions. Let us drop Sehwag until his replacements fail and there appears to be a room for Sehwag…. From there on, it is for Sehwag to pick up and cement his place.

If Dravid can take this tough decision when we open our first encounter on 17th March, he can be trusted as a real “Australian like captain”. Otherwise he will remain to be the “Typical Indian Captain” who has a set favourite and will go all the way down the drain with him. If this happens, Dravid may well risk his captaincy.

While Sehwag has all the potential to be the hero, (and I would very much like it happen), he has all the more probability of becoming the villain of this world cup from India’s point of view. The difference will be the way Dravid handles him.

“Drop Sehwag until Uthappa and Karthik fail” could be the winning strategy. While “Persist with Sehwag until he is drops out himself” would be the losing strategy.

Let’s us wait and see what happens in the next few weeks.

Watch the progress of Sehwag in terms of Naavi Cricket Rating at http://www.naavi.org/cwc_2007 and see how he fares in comparison with other players.


March 10, 2007

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