With MS Dhoni giving enough clues to go in with five bowlers in their Super Eight clash against Australia, Virender Sehwag may be the fall guy if India decide to drop one batsman.
To test their bench strength, India went in with a slew of changes against England. The team management had requested Sehwag and Zaheer Khan to rest for England encounter, and brought in Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and Ashok Dinda.
Everyone - except Dinda who went for 1 for 26 in his two overs - performed exceedingly well, asking Dhoni to keep some of them in the team for the Australia game. Harbhajan made a terrific return to international cricket, taking 4 for 12, while Chawla too returned with the figures of 2 for 13.
In the absence of Sehwag and in order to keep the rest of the batting line-up same, Irfan Pathan had been told to open the batting. India may adopt the same formula on Friday. The form of Sehwag has been the worry for India as it has been a case of more miss than hit for the attacking opener.
And although advices to include Sehwag have been pouring in from all quarters, the final decision lies on Dhoni who has shown in the past that he can take tough and innovative decisions if the situation demands one.
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar termed Sehwag as an 'impact player' and advised the team management to include the dashing batsman for crucial encounters.
Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, too has thrown his weight behind off-colour Sehwag, saying Dhoni must trust the India opener's abilities. "Sehwag's position in the batting line-up is a no brainer. Dhoni has to trust Sehwag's abilities," Akram said.
A few eyebrows were raised after Sehwag reportedly missed the practice session after England's game, but his returning to the nets on Wednesday cleared all doubts about the intent that the opener has for playing in the upcoming matches.
With Rohit Sharma scoring heaps of runs, and Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina making the core of the middle order, the only option for Dhoni to include five bowlers seems to be dropping Sehwag. But will that really be the case? It will become clear once the Indian skipper discloses his line-up at the toss on Friday.
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