Brisbane, Feb 21: The controversial rotation policy, which has sparked of a heated debate among critics and speculation of a rift within the team, took a more confusing turn today with Virender Sehwag saying he did not know that fielding abilities had anything to do with it.
In an apparent dig at skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sehwag said that he or any of the senior players had ever been told that their ‘slow fielding’ was an issue.
“I did not know what he (Dhoni) said and what’s going on in media. He told us he wanted to give chance to youngsters who had come here and play the next World Cup. That’s what he told us,” said Sehwag.
Dhoni, after the crushing defeat against Australia in the ongoing tri-series, had stated the three senior openers—Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir—were not being picked together in the tournament because they are slow and could be costing the side at least 20 runs.
“Have you seen my catch?” Sehwag snapped back in response, adding “we have been fielding the same way for the last 10 years.”
Sehwag was again pressed as to what he thought could be the reasons for Dhoni to suggest that they were costing the team 20 runs in the field.
“But you have to ask Dhoni again. What he told us was to give chance to youngsters and come here and play the next World Cup. That was what he told us,” said Sehwag.
“He chatted with everyone, with Gautam and me and Tendulkar, he (said) he wanted to give chance to youngsters so they can play all the matches and prepare themselves for the next World Cup. They would have an idea how the wicket behaves in Australia.”
Asked if he would clear up the matter with Dhoni, Sehwag retorted, “Why should I have chat with him? He is the captain and leader. If he and coach think they need to give break to top order, I am okay with it, I have no problem with it.”
“I am available for all the matches. It depends on the captain and coach what 11 they pick. If they give me a reason that we are giving chance to youngsters and we take a break, I am happy with that,” he said.
Sehwag, however, denied any rift within the team.
“We are one unit, we are happy. He (Dhoni) is the captain, he can say whatever he wants to say. He addresses the media, has been doing it for the last two years, and we are okay with it,” he said.
Talking about today’s match, Sehwag did not find fault with his bowlers but rather blamed the batsmen, including himself for their shot-selections as the team went down by 51 runs against Sri Lanka.
“The last two games are a must-win games and we have to look at our shot selection. It’s a matter of playing 50 overs. If they (Raina and Kohli) had batted till the 45th over, it would have been a different story. Nobody batted till the end,” he said.
On Ravichandran Ashwin’s attempt to run out non-striker Lahiru Thirimanne for backing up too much, Sehwag said, “I think Ashwin warned him, once in the previous over and then in next over. He took the bails off and appealed, umpires discussed and asked me. I said we could give him one more warning and if he does it again, we will go for that.
“Ashwin did appeal. Umpires consulted. Since Billy Bowden was the senior umpire, he (Paul Reiffel) asked me and discussed with me. He said it’s your call now, if you appeal now, we can give him out. I took the decision that we could give him one more warning.
“If we appealed and umpires gave him out, then somebody would criticize that it was not in the spirit of the game. So we gave him one more warning.”