An Indian Test XI without Sehwag for first time
May 18, 2007 - 4:44:40 PM

Chittagong, May 18 - For the first time in almost six years the Indian team played a Test match Friday without Virender Sehwag. He has been dropped for lack of form.

Since Sehwag made an unexpected debut against South Africa in Bloemfontein in Nov 3, 2001, he has not been dropped even for a single Test. He was part of the team in India's 2-0 triumph against Bangladesh in the One-day International series this week.

When the Indian team took the field for the first Test against Bangladesh here Friday, it was the first time since December 2005 - or after 14 Tests - that Sehwag was missing from the XI.

Since Sehwag's debut that year, India have played 59 Tests and the dashing Delhi batsman has missed only eight matches - because of injuries or illness, and not due to dearth of runs.

But the Dilip Vengsarkar-led selection committee first dethroned him as vice-captain during the tour of South Africa last year and then axed him for the two-match series against Bangladesh here.

There is a bit or irony in 28-year-old Sehwag's career. He went to South Africa in 2001 primarily as a hard-hitting batsman for the ODI series. But he performed so well in that series that then captain Sourav Ganguly persuaded the selectors to retain him for the Test series that followed.

After five-and-half years of international cricket, Sehwag has a better average in Test matches - than in ODIs -. That is why his fans find it strange that he was dropped for this Test series.

It is also true that Sehwag has not scored a half-century in eight previous Tests innings. His last 50-plus score - came against the West Indies in Basseterre last year.

It remains to be seen if he is picked for the tour of England starting in July.

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