The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Virender Sehwag set to return as opener
Possibility of both Sourav, Sachin batting down the order

Harare: A day after the heavy defeat at Australia’s hands, in a World Cup pool fixture, there were strong indications that the Indian batting order will see a reshuffle.

The proposed reshuffle, though, will probably have as much to do with the supposed uproar over Virender Sehwag being moved to No.3 as the thinktank’s own conviction.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, it’s “more or less” certain that Sehwag will be back as opener in Wednesday’s game against Zimbabwe. As of Sunday evening, Sachin Tendulkar was slated to return to No.4, his position for quite some time till the match against Holland in Paarl.

If that is finalised, Dinesh Mongia will be given the No.3 berth.

Of course, there’s also the chance that captain Sourav Ganguly may drop himself down the order. By doing so, however, he will be allowing critics more ammunition — this time, that he lacks the confidence to open, that he just isn’t there in the mind...

For his part, Sourav declined a detailed comment, saying: “What needs to be done in the team’s interests, will be done.” Could that result in both Sachin and Sourav taking to the middle-order with Mongia keeping Sehwag company at the very top' It’s a possibility.

Incidentally, the composition of the squad is such that the terribly out of form Mohammed Kaif — a best of 31 not out in his last 15 one-day innings — will probably have to be persisted with. Sanjay Bangar is an option, but he was so out of sorts in New Zealand that it’s unlikely his confidence is back to the desired level.

Moreover, Bangar is bound to be under immense pressure. So...

The big loss notwithstanding, then, the XI may not see a change. But there will be one if conditions are such that three specialist seamers must be fielded. In that eventuality, either Anil Kumble or Harbhajan Singh will make way for Ajit Agarkar.

Meanwhile, the Indians’ departure from Johannesburg (aboard South African Airways’ flight SA 22) had been delayed by around 30 minutes owing to their “heavy luggage load”, according to the explanation offered by the Boeing 737-800 commander, captain Rob Dold.

As it was another day of travelling, the players got an exemption from workouts. Now that all games must be won, to make a strong pitch for the Super Six, such breaks will henceforth be a luxury.

‘Severely disappointed’

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid, who interacted with the Media shortly after arriving here, pointed out that the team was “severely disappointed” by the SuperSport Park result. And, like Sourav after the game, he felt that if the answers to India’s ills were all known, the side wouldn’t have performed in such fashion.

A better show has been promised.

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