Home > Features >

Vijay, Rahane, Dhawan and Jaffer present alternative options to Sehwag and Gambhir

Vijay, Rahane, Dhawan and Jaffer present alternative options to Sehwag and Gambhir

The alternative options… (From left) Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Wasim Jaffer © Getty Images & AFP

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, a partnership that flourished for years, finds itself at the crossroads. A prolonged period of inconsistency has resulted in a shaky hold over their spots at the top of the order in the Indian Test line-up. While they did perform in patches during the Test series against England, it was no match to their previously set high standards. As the selectors sit to pick the Indian Test squad for the series against Australia, the Delhi duo will feel the heat, keeping in perspective the happenings in the ongoing Irani Trophy game.

Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Wasim Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane, all openers by trade, have been amongst the runs in the ongoing Irani Trophy game between Mumbai and the Rest of India. What this does is that it gives the selectors more options ahead of Sunday’s crucial meeting to pick the side. Sehwag and Gambhir should hold on to their spots, but the selectors might pick two back-up openers – similar to their move during the series against England. If the five wise men decide to pick two extra openers, it would certainly put pressure on the Delhi duo to perform and they cannot take it easy.

Vijay hasn’t had a very good Ranji Trophy as he averaged on 17.25 in five appearances. He couldn’t play all the games as he was away on national duty during the series against England. However, in the Irani Trophy game at the start of the season he scored a mammoth 266. He has now followed that up with another century against a formidable Mumbai side. It was a dominating knock as he looked in good touch and was playing his strokes without fear.

In the past, Vijay has been an understudy to Sehwag and Gambhir. His opportunities have only come when the two preferred options have been injured or opted for a rest. Vijay’s problem has been lack of consistency. If he gets another opportunity, he has to capitalise on it as there are other candidates posing a strong challenge.

Dhawan had a good season as he scored two hundreds and averaged over 50. In the tournaments before the Ranji Trophy, he showed fantastic form and was awarded with a call-up to the India A side to face England. With Vijay scoring a hundred, he may have to bide his time as the Tamil Nadu opener seems to enjoy the confidence of the selectors. Another major factor in Vijay’s favour is that he has already played Test cricket – which might help pip Dhawan in the race.

Rahane has been one of the most unfortunate players in recent times as his One-Day International (ODI) appearances have been few and far in between and a Test cap has been elusive. The team management’s reluctance in axing the more established players has cost Rahane a number of opportunities and that would have certainly dented his confidence. Along with Vijay, he was the back-up opener in the England Test series. At the time of writing, he is unbeaten on 55 in the Irani Trophy and is looking good for more. A three figure mark would certainly be a huge statement.

The dark horse in this race is the veteran Jaffer. He continues to reign supreme in domestic cricket and gets better with each passing season. It has been almost five years since he last played for India and the selectors haven’t gone back to him since. However, his prolific run-making does inspire confidence and ultimately age shouldn’t be the primary consideration.

Form should be the sole criteria for selection – something that isn’t always true in Indian cricket. But, Sehwag and Gambhir’s struggles have been alarming and if they do not strike consistency in the series against Australia, the selectors may be compelled to take a few tough but necessary decisions.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan’s double ton puts Pakistan on top against Australia at stumps on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

WICB officials should visit India to minimize damage: Andy Roberts

Younis Khan: I want to be remembered as team-man

ICC World Cup 2015: New Zealand prime minister urges Indian fans to attend the tournament

Mohammad Yousuf: Muttiah Muralitharan would not have been allowed to bowl under current ICC rules

Mohammad Azharuddin’s son included in UP One-Day squad for Vijay Hazare Trophy

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Virat Kohli’s captaincy opportunities important in context of India’s succession plans

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

Bigg Boss 8 Day 40 highlights: Upen Patel faces captaincy woes; Gautam Gulati punished again!

Ayurvedic treatment: 7 types of Ayurvedic massages you should know about

Petrol rate cut by Rs 2.41 per litre, diesel to cost Rs 2.25 per litre less

Birthday Special: 9 popular dance songs of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan!

Man promised iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPad 4 and Macbook Pro for Rs 51,000, gets a ‘heavy brick’ instead

James Franklin, Colin de Grandhomme relay catch at the boundary to dismiss Nathan McCullum

Beauty Tip #43 — Get fuller-looking lips with home-made sugar scrub

NGOs pursue education for all

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Bigg Boss 8 Day 40 recap: Gautam Gulati calls Arya Babbar a dog and Praneet Bhatt a double dholki

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here