Who will Sehwag replace?

Mumbai, June 09: Virender Sehwag isn’t fully fit yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how and where Mahendra Singh Dhoni accommodates the dashing batsman when he is available for selection. Dhoni will have a pleasant headache when Sehwag is declared match fit.

Rohit Sharma has blossomed in his new role as an opener making runs in all three games, including the two warm-up matches. Gautam Gambhir has found the sweet spot on his bat again. Sehwag should reclaim his opening spot and Sharma should bat down the order. But who will Dhoni leave out?

The Pathan brothers — Yusuf and Irfan — and Yuvraj Singh are all-rounders and Dhoni will think twice before dropping them. The captain wouldn’t want to disturb the fast bowling pair of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. That leaves left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.

With Yusuf and Sehwag, both bowling off-spin, Dhoni could be tempted to drop Harbhajan Singh, who hasn’t been able to take wickets. Ojha, on the other hand, took four wickets against Bangladesh. Keeping Harbhajan out would allow Dhoni to play one more batsman. Yusuf has proved to be effective even with the new ball, while Sehwag has the uncanny knack of breaking partnerships.

Aunshuman Gaekwad, the former India coach, said, “It won’t be an easy call for Dhoni. Either he will have to ask one of his all-rounders to give the way for Sehwag or he may have to take the risk of dropping either Harbhajan or Ojha. Ojha is not only in form but also adds variety. Hence it could be Harbhajan who has to sit out.”

Gaekwad added: “Asking Harbhajan to sit in the dug out will be a brave call. Keeping the interest of the team in mind it won’t be a bad idea to rest Harbhajan for a couple of games.”

Lalchand Rajput, who was in-charge of the team when they won the World T20, said that Dhoni should take into account the conditions. “If the pitch is supporting the spinners then he may have to drop Irfan Pathan. But if it assists the fast bowlers then he will have to ask one of the spinners to sit out. Sehwag needs to be there in the side,” he added.