Is Sehwag an opener?


Sanjay Manjrekar, in his opinion piece on M. S. Dhoni’s ODI captaincy, comments about the Indian ODI selection. He says, “I don’t think Virender Sehwag has been able to convince the selectors that he is in top gear. Also with Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, you already have four openers in the side, so it was always going to be difficult for Sehwag.”

The first statement that Manjrekar makes is probably right. Although Sehwag did make a quickfire 40 in the match against New Zealand, he did not look totally convincing. In the previous match against Pakistan, Mohammed Asif found him wanting with a ball that nipped back in. Sehwag has not looked totally convincing.

However, Manjrekar’s second statement is the one that had me raising eyebrows. Classifying Sehwag as an opener just because he has opened in several ODIs is a bit of a furphy, in my view. An opener in an ODI is anyone who can give the ball a bit of a tonk. Sehwag can. He opened in ODIs. And he was successful enough at it that it gave him the right of passage into the Test team as an opener — the only route that he could use to gain entry into the Test team which, by then, had acquired a somewhat impregnable middle order. Let’s not forget that Sehwag is, indeed, a middle-order bat who converted himself into an ODI opener and, later, a Test opener. I am surprised that Manjrekar lost sight of that fact.

I do believe that Sehwag is a useful ODI player and should be part of the mix even if he does not open the innings. He contributes solidly with the bat on most occasions, he can be entrusted with a few overs of tight off spin and he is a reasonably competent outfielder. He also has that Dean Jones effect in ODIs where opposition teams try hard to get him out.

India should also be preparing for a post-fab-four Test team and in this team, in my view, Sehwag would occupy the middle order — perhaps occupying Sourav Ganguly’s position in the batting order. So, even for Tests, I think that the best route back for Sehwag is as a middle-order batsman.

— Mohan

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4 responses to “Is Sehwag an opener?

  1. Personally i don’t think Sehwag is an opener. He should be batting at number 6 like Shahid Afridi is for Pakistan. Both these players are similar. Im sure it will successfully work for them both.

    http://www.boomboomshahidafridi.blogspot.com/

  2. Also i like your blog. But should i subscribe? What happens if i subscribe? Thanks im a newbie and don’t really know.

    http://theprodigysachintendulkar.blogspot.com

  3. My 2 cents.

    In test matches, Sehwag bats as if he is playing a one-day match atleast 4 runs per over in the early overs. With field in, he hits the ball over the top, his patented shot – slice over point or third man. (Steve Fleming had a fielder for Sehwag, 3/4 to the third man boundary and had him caught in the next over !! )

    But in one days, Sehwag wants to hit more than 4 runs per over and he is not able to and gets out.

    Sehwag has many weakness, following the ball moving away and also getting clean bowled by an off-cutter. His initial foot movement is back foot towards the leg side to create more room on the off-side and bowlers have cramped him. He is a good player of spin bowling and once he is settled in he seems to have the temperment for big scores – 150+;

    I think he should bat at no.5 or no.6; and play a role like Andrew symonds – pure slogging. He is a decent bowler and a decent fielder too.

    BTW, Gilchrist has the same problem – trying to hit too much. He will make a quick 45 in 30 balls and get out. But he has a much better technique than Sehwag and more strokes – cut, pull, hook, drive. Steve Waugh gently suggested that Gilchrist is a a very good batsman and should not throw his wicket and then in the WC 2007 finals, Gilly went berserk; with some imperious hitting, the sort of hitting I have never seen before.

  4. Sehwag started his international career as a middle order batsman.
    But anyone here remembers that tournament in srilanka with india and newzealand as other teams??
    It was a qualifier match for the final spot. In absense of tendulkar, sehwag opened the innings and scored blistering 100 of 70 balls. That was the headstart to his cricketing career as a OPENING BATSMAN. Now he is known better as a opener who gave many excellent start in matches for india rather than a middle order batsman who helped india to recover from the inital damage. yes, he failed many times as well.

    To cut short i must say that Sehwag is not a opener. In contrast,still his services as a player can be best utilised in opening slot only.

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