Two Indian discards are attempting different routes to reclaim their berths in Team India. While Gautam Gambhir is playing County cricket for Essex, Virender Sehwag believes in 'home' solutions. Sehwag has reportedly checked in at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai to hone his skills against pace bowling.
A report in a leading newspaper says Sehwag has quietly tuned up for training at the pace clinic that has former Australian pace great Glenn McGrath as its director of coaching. They may have had several 'duels' on the pitch, but McGrath is likely to play mentor for Sehwag this time.
The idea of turning up at the pace clinic is probably due to the fact that India will tour South Africa later this year and batsmen will surely be tested on seaming tracks. Sehwag, who will be 35 on October 20, has been on the sidelines since March 2013. The Delhi dasher has battled form and except for a 95 not out against Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League in April, Sehwag has had little to show.
Reports said Sehwag refused a stint with Essex this summer. This apparently paved the way for Gambhir, whose Essex campaign (54 runs in three innings) has been rather unimpressive. Both Sehwag and Gambhir are eyeing the third opener's berth even as Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay have been preferred in Tests in recent times.
If current form is anything to go by, Vijay's position as an opener looks vulnerable. In the four-day unofficial 'Test' match that India A lost to South Africa A in Pretoria on Tuesday, Vijay scored 4 and 0 and seemed to be at great discomfort against pace. This means there is a flicker of hope for Sehwag and Gambhir.
As for McGrath's role, there can't be a better mentor than the Aussie speedster. Sehwag will be all ears for sure as he gets to face the best of pace talents from India and overseas at the Chennai academy. Sehwag, who made his Test debut with a 105 against South Africa at Bloemfontein in November 2001, will surely fancy his chances.