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Friday, 8 March 2013

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan likely to open


Murali-Vijay-Shikhar-Dhawan
The exclusion of Virender Sehwag from the Indian squad for the last two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy means that the hosts will have a new opening partner for Murali Vijay in the playing XI in Mohali and Delhi. The development augurs well for another Delhi boy, Shikhar Dhawan, who is most likely to get his maiden Test cap in the third Test which gets under way at the PCA Stadium on March 14.

And given the fact that India are already 2-0 up in the series and will not lose from this position, the 27-year-old will have lesser amount of pressure to contend with.

Dhawan had set his target at the very beginning of the series after getting his maiden call-up.

“The focus will be on staying at the crease as long as possible,” he had told this paper earlier. If he manages to do that and produce a good knock, he can create a space for himself in team, especially when regular openers Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag are out of form and India are in hunt for a new opening pair.

“He just needs one good knock. That will be do a world of good to him and he will be able to carry forward the confidence,” was his coach Madan Sharma’s assessment after his selection into the Test team.

Sehwag’s coach A.N. Sharma, meanwhile, has urged his pupil to ‘strike back with the bat’. “India will not get a player like him in another 100 years. He is a match-winner. But when you don’t make runs, you can’t argue with the board.” “However, since the team were winning, I did not expect a change and moreover they have not named a replacement,” Sharma told this paper on Thursday.

On Dhawan’s chance of replacing his ward Viru for the opening slot, Sharma said, “There is a huge difference in playing at the domestic level to that of the international one. The Australian team have perhaps the weakest bowling ever to have played in India. But that apart, I expect him to do well if presented with an opportunity.”

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