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Will the Indian openers' door ever open for Virender Sehwag again?
The Delhi-based opener Virender Sehwag, after a string of inconsistent scores, has been left out of the Indian team. The selectors have given him enough chances to prove his credentials off late as an Indian opener. He has only scored a single century in his last 22 Test matches. These are statistics that one would not love to see for an Indian opener. With players such as Murli Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir on the wings, have we seen the last of Virender Sehwag in Test matches? Has his T20 approach led to his downfall?

Earlier, when Sehwag walked into bat for India, there was a sense of fear among opponents, as he had the potential to tear any quality bowling attack irrespective of the surface he is playing on – dusty, bouncy, dry, or a green top. But that has faded into oblivion with opposition taking his wicket even before his group of supporters reached the stadium making their way through heavy traffic, some even skipping their office to get a glimpse of the batsmen. Bowlers no longer fear the batsman. Tables have turned around as Sehwag aims not to score runs with fluidity but keep his wicket intact. He cannot do so as his instincts of flashing hard and take the cover off the ball takes over and thus leads to his downfall.

With the number of T20 matches that are taking place all around the world, batsmen are playing a number of shots even with the red cherry and white uniforms in broad daylight. Sehwag, an aggressive cricketer has brought his T20 weapons to the Test match arena as well. He was initially a very successful cutter of the cricket ball, but bowlers around the world gradually understood his weak points. Now, they do not give him ample width to free his arms, thus when Sehwag plays the ball, he is too close to cut and more often or not inside edges back to the wicket or is caught behind. Along with this flaw, his failure to deal with incoming deliveries has been exploited the most.

There is a serious need for the player to go back to his coaching manual and rectify these error quickly along with some minor ones as well. It is now or never for Sehwag. With the Indian team scheduled to play some crucial away tours in South Africa, England and New Zealand, Sehwag's batting techniques could be fully exploited under swinging conditions, so the BCCI may groom some players for the future to handle such conditions.

With players like Murli Vijay performing in the domestic circuit as well as international Test matches, he would love to cement his place as an Indian opener. If Vijay comes up with good scores in third and the fourth Test match against Australia, he is sure to be on the flight for the South African tour, which is scheduled to start in November. Sehwag's non-performance and his age, 34, are two important reasons to suggest Sehwag's comeback a difficult task, but not impossible. The players fitness also becomes a problem at such an age.

The Nawab of Najafgarh has vowed to fight back to find a place in the Indian team, but the road back is not going to an easy one for Virender Sehwag. He needs to prove himself in domestic cricket, but the Indian domestic season is over and he will have to wait for some time. One can say that the player is virtually out of the South African tour, as the last the Ranji season is over and the new would begin close to the start of the South African tour.

But, not all is lost for the swashbuckling Indian opener. There is one last option. The Indian opener needs to keep his fingers crossed so that he would be picked for the Indian ODI team, where he stands a chance to prove himself. The Indian team is not scheduled to play any Test matches before November against the Proteas, so the ODI format is the only route for Sehwag to make a comeback into the Test side. Starting June to October 2013, India would play three ODI series – Champions Trophy, India-Zimbabwe series and the India-Australia series. This could be Sehwag's last chance to regain the faith of the Indian selectors, else it might signal the end of his cricket career for India.

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