Kumble is certain that Sehwag will be a key player during India’s tour of South Africa
Former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble believes that opening batsman Virender Sehwag is facing the toughest challenge of his international career to date after he was dropped from the Test team halfway through the recently concluded four-Test series against Australia.
Despite Sehwag being 34, Kumble stated that it was vital the national selectors continued to allow him to maintain his spot in the side as he can help guide many of the younger talents in the squad during the team’s tour of South Africa in December.
With Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who has been Sehwag’s opening partner for years, both having been dropped this year, the national selectors may finally have found the guts to say no matter how good or popular players may think they are, if they don’t play according to our standards then we will find someone else to replace them.
However, Kumble disagrees with this ideology and feels that India could be making a grave mistake as Sehwag could prove to be instrumental during the series against South Africa.
“He is the kind of individual who requires plenty of support rather than being put on notice, with a sword dangling over his head everytime he goes to bat,” Kumble said. “Having said that, I feel it is going to be tough for him to make a comeback.”
While Kumble agrees with India’s policy of bringing in youngsters into the side as an insurance policy if one of their senior players decide to retire or fall victim to injury, he still holds faith in the 34-year-old opener and believes that he and Gambhir can help get the younger batsmen accustomed to the conditions they can expect in South Africa.
“Several of the younger batsmen have had little or no experience of batting in South Africa in Tests,” Kumble added. “They need wise heads to shepherd them through arduous challenges early in their career. That’s where the experience of a Sehwag or a Gambhir will come in handy.”