New Delhi: Former India captain Rahul Dravid has said that the national selectors must take a call on whether to continue with struggling Virender Sehwag as an opener in the Test series in South Africa later this year or give someone else a chance.
"I think the selectors and management need to decide whether they are going to open with Viru (Virender) in South Africa. I mean Viru playing well, Viru at his best, is a great asset to any side, but the reality is that he hasn't been performing particularly well, and he hasn't really done well on overseas trips over the last two or three years. If they feel confident about opening with Sehwag in South Africa, then I think it makes sense to continue with Sehwag and give him the opportunity to get that confidence," Dravid said.
Even though India registered commanding victories in the first two Tests against Australia in Chennai and Hyderabad, the opening partnership between Sehwag and Murali Vijay could produce only 11, 16 and 17 runs. While Vijay scored a fine 167 in Hyderabad, Sehwag has totalled only 27 in his three innings. The selectors will be picking the Indian squad for the last two Tests against Australia on Thursday.
After the two remaining Tests against Australia, India have no more five-day games scheduled before their trip to South Africa at the end of the year and Dravid felt that a young opener should be tested in home conditions first before throwing him in front of the new ball in foreign conditions.
"I think it makes sense to try out another youngster, or try out another opener, and give him the opportunity to play at least a couple of Test matches in more familiar conditions, before going to South Africa. I think it will be unfair on any young opener to be asked to go to South Africa straightaway, and play against the likes of Steyn, Philander and Morkel," Dravid said.
He was of the view that the selectors could explore the option of moving Sehwag down the order.
"If they are going to look ahead, I think there could be a realistic possibility of Sehwag coming into the middle order. You know if opportunities open up at some stage, maybe Sachin is going to move on, then I think Viru is the man with the experience to be able to come in and bat in the middle order. He has said in the past that he would like to, and that could be an option," he said.
Sehwag has failed to fire in five consecutive Tests after getting a hundred in the opening game of the home series against England at Ahmedabad in November-December last year. He was unable to score even a half-century in two home Tests against New Zealand. During India's last overseas tour, in Australia, Sehwag scored just 198 runs in eight innings.
Has Virender Sehwag run out of time?