What was Sehwag thinking?


At the end of the 6th over of the ongoing Test match between New Zealand and India, New Zealand was travelling nicely at 21/0. The 7th over was a beauty from Ishant Sharma. He had Macintosh out first ball and almost had How out LBW off the 5th ball. At the other end, the 8th over was a terrific follow up from Zaheer Khan. He had How cleaned up off the last ball and New Zealand was 22/2.

At this crucial juncture, in the 9th over, after his team had taken 2 wickets in 2 overs, Sehwag decided to bring in Munaf Patel!

It wasn’t as if Ishant Sharma was spent! For crying out loud, he had just taken a wicket in his previous over!

I am not saying that this decision cost India a bad day in the office — Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik and Rahul Dravid made sure that their hands (or lack of it) did the real damage! But I really would like to know what Sehwag was thinking at that time? I’d love to know…

— Mohan

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17 responses to “What was Sehwag thinking?

  1. Srikanth Mangalam

    Yuvraj Singh is not ready for test cricket. His batting is highly unstable in the longer version of the game, his fielding has gone from worse to pathetic in all forms of the game. Sehwag’s captaincy has been totally uninspirational. Why would you have someone with no captaincy experience captain a side in a crucial game when you have chaps like Dravid and Tendulkar? Lots of unanswered questions…

  2. Very good question you’ve raised and the answer is “Viru wan’t thnking” at that stage and made a costly bowling change. Also his brain exploded again when he was batting – there was no need to chase a very very wide delivery and get out. Why did the “team management” sacrifice Ishant Sharma as the ‘evening’ watchman? What did it achive? Wasn’t Sachin ready to face the Kiwis with all the experience he has? There can be only either of two results – Kiwis win or a draw – the firstsession tomorrow will produce enough indications which of those two is likeley.

    Withou MS the team looks ragged; what were the seniors – SRT, RD and VVS doing when Viru came up with silly bowling chnages and field placings?

  3. @outsider

    As Shastri often says, “There’s lots of cricket left to be played in this game.” So I’d urge you to reign in your (perhaps valid) exasperations! 🙂

    @Srikanth

    I think giving the captaincy to SRT or Dravid would have been a retrogressive step and would have sent unwanted signals in the dressing room. Moreover, if I were Dravid or SRT, I would not have accepted the captaincy either for the same reason… You don’t drive forward by looking backwards. The team had to, in my view, give the captaincy to the next-in-line. And that was Sehwag or Yuvraj or Zaheer Khan or Harbhajan Singh! Of the lot, Sehwag was the lesser evil, IMVHO. I don’t have problems with that. But I just think Sehwag just got way ahead of himself in that first session of play.

    As for his shot-selection… well… that’s the way he plays. That’s the way he played in Chennai against England and we hailed him as a modern-day genius!

    Tomorrow is a critical day for Team India. Often the team wins one and loses the next spectacularly. In Delhi against Australia, that trend was briefly reversed. Tomorrow will show if this team has mettle. It is do-able. Remember, NZ was 23/3!

    — Mohan

  4. I actually don’t have a problem with the captaincy being given to Sehwag (in Dhoni’s absence). If Sehwag didn’t have the form slump he had a couple of years ago when Dhoni was just making a big impact, he would have been the first choice to captain India.

    Sehwag also has a bit of captaincy experience – not that it has amounted for much in this game 🙂

  5. The pitch still seems to be a beauty. The openers commited hara_kiri. Sharma was a rabbit before Vettori!. If Dravid in this (poor) form can play strokes at will, I think there is no worry for the Indian batting line up. I expect another leather hunting for the Kiwis.

  6. Thomas Rooney

    Bit of a strange decision this one. Are you sure that Sharma hadn’t picked up an injury or something?

    Top site you have by the way. Would be great if you could email me when you get the chance. There is something I would like to run by you.

    Cheers

    Thomas

  7. arun rajgopal

    SEHWAG,the world’s best batsman in contemporary cricket and perhaps one of the 3 most destructive batsman of all time saddened the hearts of indian cricket fans by playing a ridiculous shot to vettori after taking 10 runs off the 1st 4 balls of his over..on this wicket,any score was a possibility for sehwag as he showed in his 34
    at almost 150% sr

  8. Srikanth Mangalam

    What a disappointing finish to India’s first innings. I am willing to sponsor a “Get Rid of Yuvraj” campaign. I get irritated by the very sight of him in a test game. I know MOhan is going to say, take a pill, and I possibly will everytime I see him on the screen. What was disappointing was the way Dravid and Laxman threw away their wickets. Anyways, a mountain climb for the side to save this game.

  9. Srikanth Mangalam

    I would rephrase Mohan’s question as, “Can/Does Sehwag think?”. I know the response I would get is that that is the way Sehwag plays. Then, he should not be captain of the side. I once again feel that it is a bad idea to have him captaining the side, his approach to the game has a negative effect on the rest of the side. I refuse to believe that Dravid and/or Tendulkar would have believed that it was a backward step. They would have always accepted it as a temporary appt with Dhoni coming back. This test, as is evident, was crucial for India. I feel that we have thrown away this game through sheer arrogance and irresponsibility.

  10. Well, Sehwag played a horrendous shot again in the 2nd innings as well!! It does require some real zen like qualities to accept his dismissals!! 🙂

    The other thing that bothered me was that there was no notice of Dhoni picking an injury…just happened on the day of the game. A lil strange, IMO. We arrive late in Napier and Dhoni gives interviews where he talks a lot of abstract stuff and says it is all in the mind. Well, the problem is that this kind of stuff can backfire spectacularly and now it seems like he was blowing some smoke up you know where.

    Anyways, let’s see if the Indians can salvage a draw out of this game now!!

  11. I thought I’d never say this, but I now will. I am happy to fund Srikanth’s “get rid of Yuvraj” campaign as long as he agrees to include Karthik on the “get rid” bus!!

    Sehwag as captain… Not a good idea. Never will be, given his “free agent” role. But I’d rather have had him for this Test than Yuvraj or Harbhajan!!

  12. Srikanth Mangalam

    I will completely endorse the get rid of Karthik bus as well. Honestly, I do not know what this team would do without the “trio” and Dhoni with respect to batting in the future. The youth of the Indian cricket have talent but lack intelligence, Dhoni and the two opening bowlers being the exception. That is the big difference. It is ironic that India is hoping that the greats will help save the game when the media and the others have been gunning for them.

  13. I ought to have explained my earlier comments.

    It is when I saw Yuvraj Singh’s *fielding* that I said to myself that I was willing to sponsor/fund Srikanth Mangalam’s campaign. I don’t mind a batting failure here and there. After all, let us not forget that Yuvraj was there when we won against England in Chennai. If you call him a “flat track bully”, I’d say that he was a bully in an innings when Dravid and Laxman failed. So by calling Yuvraj a “flat track bully” are we therefore saying that Dravid and Laxman are not even capable of being “flat track bullies”? I suspect not.

    A team that scores 620+ in the 1st innings is going to be in the drivers’ seat. From there on in, the other team is going to play catch-up. And in the catch-up game, much of the game is played in the mind. The skills that are brought to bear in that game are intensity and mental toughness. And it is there that I find Yuvraj wanting — as can be observed in his recent fielding demonstrations.

    It is his lethargy in the field that convinced me that he is not quite there up there. If a 27-year-old can’t show energy, intensity and alacrity in the field, what hopes of him enthusing a bunch of younger cricketers? Mind you… This is the same guy that was, a few years ago, the shining beacon of Indian fielding. If his his intensity has fallen off so badly that he is now an embarrassment on the field, then he has to make way for a more intense Suresh Raina. If a person cannot apply himself day in day out, he has no business being a professional. Even if he lacks the personal motivation to be able to put in the hard yards, all he needs to do is look around the dressing room to see a Dravid or a Tendulkar or (until recently) a Kumble. If they weren’t able to motivate him to put in the hard work, which he clearly is not putting in, then he has to fund his own “get rid of me” campaign like Andrew Symonds is!

    The team should not “carry” such people unless they have extraordinary capabilities.

  14. Srikanth Mangalam

    Agreed, Mohan! I also think his knee surgery has something to do with his fielding mindset. He seems to be worried that he might get injured.

  15. People ripping on Yuvraj are spot on, although I hope it’s not just because he dropped a catch and then made a couple of low scores. I used to think of him as a sharp fielder, but he has just looked listless out there in this match, and then they have to stick him on the boundary, which is a real problem because this is an old team and you’d like to put your bowlers and other players out there. Maybe it is injuries, but he also is clearly out of shape and has been for a long time.
    I don’t understand why Badrinath can’t get a run in This test side. He fails in like two games and Yuvraj gets his standard once-a-year hundred on a super flat track and all of a sudden Yuvraj is India’s No. 6 of the future. And Dinesh Karthik, my god, there are over a billion people in India and most love cricket, there has to be someone who can keep better than that.

  16. Yuvraj’s batting in tests makes me squirm – like Apasruthi. For some reason, he is successful in one-days or T-20s. Yuvraj’s fielding standard is not what it was. Time to bring in Suresh Raina in the mix.

    Yuvraj is weak against good fast bowling – esp. outside the offstump and is weaker against quality spin bowling – he does not use his feet.

  17. Ganesh Devarajan

    Am glad that our folks played decently and sensibly to draw the game. Thanks for the patience of GG, RD (the true wall was clearly given out), SRT, VVS and surprisingly even Yuvi. Hopefully Dhoni can lead from the front and take the series 2-0. DG…

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