'I don't believe Sehwag is finished yet'
Can Virender Sehwag return to the Test squad? How many years does Sachin Tendulkar have left in Test cricket? Hear it from former India stumper and chairman of selectors Kiran More.
Indian cricket is in transition period at the moment following the retirement of some senior players and poor form of others.
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retired last year, while Virender Sehwag was dropped after the first two matches in the ongoing Australia series because of a poor run in the opener's role.
India lost to England 1-2 at home but bounced back with two consecutive victories against Australia and lead the four-match series 2-0.
Former wicketkeeper Kiran More, who also served as chairman of selectors, speaks with Harish Kotian on Sehwag's omission from the Test squad, the new-look Indian team and why he believes Sachin Tendulkar should continue playing for a year or two more.
Was it right to drop Virender Sehwag? Couldn't the selectors have given him more chances and played him in the entire series?
Of course, it was the right decision, because he did not make most of the opportunities. He is an outstanding player and has done well for so many years, but he is not in form right now. Every player goes through this low period at some point in his career. The selectors were forced to take a call because they were left with no other option.
Do you believe he can still make a comeback to Test cricket?
Definitely, he can! I have no doubt about that because I don't believe he is finished yet.
Also, I believe, if he works hard he can comeback as an opener. He will have to go back to the nets and score runs in whatever matches he gets, like domestic cricket, and force the selectors to get him back.
Image: Virender Sehwag
'Rahane is technically strong'
What is your take on India playing two inexperienced openers in Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay with a lot of foreign tours coming up later this year and next?
They deserve to be playing in the Test team. Both Dhawan and Vijay have been doing consistently well in domestic cricket for the last four to five years. This is a big opportunity for them and they will hope to make it count.
Ajinkya Rahane is not getting a chance to play in the Test team, having sat out for 15 matches now. Why has he been kept out for so long?
Rahane has opened for India in T20s and ODIs and I am sure he can definitely do the job in Tests too. You have to adjust your game according to the format that you play in, and for that you need to be technically strong, which I believe he is.He should be ready to play at whatever position he gets. But, for now, he has to wait and that happens sometimes because it is not easy to get into the Test team. Even in my career I had to wait for three years to make my debut after being picked in the Test side.
Image: Ajinkya Rahane
'Bhajji is surely getting back to his best with every match'
Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma did not perform to expectations in the first two Tests. Do you believe it was fair to retain them?
They need to perform because each and every player needs to contribute to the team. Since the team is winning the selectors will resist making too many changes because every team likes to continue with the winning combination.
I think Ishant and Harbhajan took some important wickets and bowled crucial spells even though their figures won't show, but I believe they made a vital contribution and that is why the team management will want them to be in the team.Harbhajan Singh has a lot of cricket left in him. He is surely getting back to his best with every match, so the team management will be happy to retain him and continue giving him chances.
Image: Harbhajan Singh
'Lot of cricket still left in Sachin Tendulkar'
How long do you see Sachin Tendulkar playing Test cricket? What role do you see him playing?
Sachin Tendulkar looks very keen to continue playing. Now that he has given up ODIs, he is playing only Test matches and working hard to ensure that he does well. His innings of 83 in the first Test was a very important knock in terms of the match and that helped lay a solid foundation for India in the first innings.There is a lot of cricket left in Tendulkar and the Indian team needs him badly at the moment since he is the most senior batsman in the side, having experience of nearly 23 years which he can pass on to the young players and help them get settled.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
'Young players need to be taken care of and groomed properly'
Having been chairman of selectors yourself, how is it to drop senior players?
I think you need to give enough games to prove themselves, whether it is senior or junior does not matter. In my time we though we had to bring young players and groom them for the future. We had brought in nearly 30-35 players during my time, out of which 25 have played Test cricket and some are still playing.
It is a process, and the young players need to be taken care of and groomed properly so that they can perform without any pressure of expectations.
Image: Cheteshwar Pujara