The Reuters global sports blog
Sehwag injury drama distracts India World Twenty20 defence
Now that India’s explosive batsman Virender Sehwag has been ruled out of the World Twenty20 with a shoulder injury, at least the media have one less thing to obsess about.
The journalists travelling with the team in England had been trying to find out why Sehwag did not play, and more importantly did not open the batting, in the warm-up games or the first group fixture against Bangladesh.
Some pundits reckoned Sehwag, the vice-captain who had expressed his preference to bat in the middle-order despite his huge success as an opener, had clashed with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The captain, expected to talk up India’s chances on the eve of the first game on Friday, instead paraded the entire team before the media, read out a prepared statement criticising speculation of a rift and trooped out.
The board then stayed silent until news of his injury trickled out on Tuesday.
Did the Indian board, hoping that Sehwag recovered quickly for an injury sustained in the IPL, want to keep it under wraps?
If India had openly taken an injured player, it would have complicated things if Sehwag didn’t recover and the defending champions had approached the ICC to permit a replacement.
Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik is taking his place in the squad but how badly will Sehwag’s absence affect the team?
His explosive batting would have provided the early momentum while his off-spin would have been useful as captains have turned to slow bowlers to deny batsmen the pace needed to slog boundaries.
The Delhi Daredevils IPL team captain has a cool head on his shoulders which would have been handy for Dhoni if games in the later stages had built up to frenzied finishes.
For now, talented youngster Rohit Sharma appears to be easing into Sehwag’s shoes as the opening partner for Gautam Gambhir.
In the end, should Sehwag — with two test triple hundreds as an opener — have spoken at all about his desire to bat down the order so close to the tournament?
And should the Indian team management have come out in the open about Sehwag’s injury to avoid speculation?
PHOTO: Virender Sehwag of the Delhi Daredevils hits the winning runS against Kings XI Punjab in their 2009 Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament match in Cape Town, April 19, 2009. Behind is Kings XI Punjab’s Kumar Sangakkara. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings