True, it was extremely difficult at Chepauk in the first few overs on a damp wicket as Junaid Khan made the ball talk. But even considering that, Sehwag is fast running out of excuses. It is not just his own poor form, but also the fact that the replacements aren’t too far behind.
In Ajinkya Rahane, India have a back-up opener ready and with the Mumbai lad doing well in the limited chances he has been given, though in the T20 format, it is only a matter of time before he finds himself a consistent pick for the 50-overs format.
There are other factors too. In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, it would probably have been expected of Sehwag to lead the Indian batting, considering the impact he is capable of having on a game and the dressing room, and the fact that he is the senior-most player in the squad at 34 years of age. If with age comes responsibility, then Sehwag might be suspect in that aspect according to some.
“He eschewed the responsibility at every opportunity,” Greg Chappell wrote in his column after Sehwag was dropped for the World T20 Championship. While that is an aspect of his game that might be overlooked in normal circumstances when he is making runs, it will only add to the argument of his detractors when the big scores have dried up.
And that has been the case more often in the past year. And it is no longer taboo to talk of dropping him from ODIs. He was already omitted from the Asia Cup squad after a poor tri-series in Australia.
In Eden Gardens however, where he has a good record, he might find the sort of pitch that can help him re-discover his scoring form.
This time curator Prabir Mukherjee says he has prepared a track that will assist stroke-play.
“There will be true and even bounce. The ball will come nicely on to the bat,” Mukherjee said.
The wicket may only be one part of the Sehwag problem. According to his coach AN Sharma, Sehwag’s current struggles might have to do with the fact that his abilities to focus is getting frayed.
“His problem is concentration. He is not concentrating hard. I spoke to him after the Chennai game and advised him to stay for a longer period at the wicket. I told him if he can stay for 25 overs, no bowler will be able to get him out,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
Sehwag, along with the rest of the Indian side opted out of practice. Sharma, however said his problem was not the kind that could be sorted with work at the nets.
“Sehwag is capable of working very hard in the nets. However, he doesn’t have a technical problem. It’s mental and the team coach is expected to help him during this period,” said Sharma.
If that is the case, then Sehwag will have to turn it around in quick time if India is to keep the three-match series alive. If Sehwag fires, more often than not, so does India.