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Has Sehwag reached the end of the line?
Legendary England batsman Geoffrey Boycott believes India opener Virender Sehwag will never don the national team colours again, especially after the success Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan had during the four-Test series against Australia.
The national selectors even left Sehwag out of the Champions Trophy squad due to his poor run of form over the past couple of months.
“I don’t think he’ll play again,” Boycott told ESPNcricinfo. “I think it’s because India have gone the right way. It took a little while to come around to it. They’ve given youth a chance. After they lost to England, I kept saying you have to give these young batsmen a chance. You have to get them in and you have to build again for the World Cup. I’ve never changed my view on that. You are world champions in ODIs, you have to move on, and it doesn’t matter who you are, I always say, age is not the barrier, it’s about performance.”
In the eight Test matches Sehwag has represented India in since April 2012, he has only averaged 31.38 with a high score of 117, which is the only century he has scored since then as well.
In the same period, Sehwag has played six ODIs, but only managed to average 30.50 with his last century being the record-breaking 219 he scored against the West Indies in December 2011.
Despite Boycott branding Sehwag as one of the best batsmen of the last 20 years, he believes that the Indian opener’s downfall can be attributed to his lack of defensive strokes and constant attacking mindset.
“He played it his way and, at times, on certain pitches, was highly successful,” Boycott said. “But when it comes to the ball moving around and it was a bit more bouncy, his defensive technique was exposed. But trying to tell him and make him play differently, how do you do that? Sehwag has got all his runs playing his way.”
However, Boycott also noted that it would be extremely difficult for Sehwag to change his unorthodox batting style as he has achieved so much through it.
“His nature, his personality, is a more happy-go-lucky, generous, easy-natured, friendly, affable sort of personality that fits in with the way he batted,” Boycott said. “He used to bat freely, with lots of strokes. It’s not in his nature to play carefully, steadily. I’m sure people have tried to say, ‘Can you play a little more carefully? You are older now, you maybe don’t pick the ball up quite as well or quickly, or you’ve still got lots of talent and use your experience.’ You tell everybody all these things but it’s very difficult to change people from what they are. And, it’s too late now. I think he’s just going to play a bit of IPL and then, sadly, fade away.”