Tough time ahead for out-of-form seniors

Virender Sehwag_PTI_0.jpg

India's 'A' tour to South Africa is a well thought out tour just before the South African series in November and the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara have been included in the team so as to gain the vital experience before the tough series ahead. The performance of the youngsters in the 'A' tour is more than satisfying so far, with Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina all reaching the three figure score and India certainly now has a pool of players to rely on.This brings us back to the debate of what is going to happen to the out of favour players including Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan. Harbhajan Singh has also lost out his place to R. Ashwin.Here is a look at the reasons why it would be increasingly difficult for such stalwarts of the game to make a comeback into the national side.Age soon catching up: Most of the above players are in their early thirties and they are not getting any younger. As one tends to grow older, the reflexes are no longer the same and staying fit becomes a challenge. Sports is the only profession where every player has a shelf life and it can be cruel at times. Long hours in the field can take a toll on your body and may hamper your concentration.Performance of youngsters: Sports is a performance oriented game and the likes of Jadeja, Raina, Dhawan have not made life easier for any of those senior players by being consistent with their performances. In a country like India winning isn't everything but the only thing and they have been producing the results which do not reflect in favour of a change.Current form of the seniors: Most of the above players were dropped on the basis of their current form. The runs have dried up for Sehwag and Gambhir and Yuvraj looked terribly out of place in the IPL which obviously should not be the only tool to judge a player, but apparently that is what has happened. Harbhajan Singh is no longer the same bowler and Zaheer Khan has been plagued with injuries. So much so that he has missed more matches than he has played in the past season.Proving Fitness: Fitness has been an issue for most of these players, especially Sehwag and Zaheer. In order to make a case for themselves, they have to prove their fitness before they are open for selection in the national side.Off-season in India: With no real cricket going on in the country and the Ranji Trophy being about two and a half months away, all these players have to find out a way to stay in touch with the game and impress the selectors. Staying fit is one thing and staying match fit is another thing. Gambhir has taken a good decision by deciding to play for Essex and the rest of the guys should also look for similar outings.Having said all that, one must not forget that they are all proven players at the international level and we would all love to watch more of Sehwags and Yuvrajs. There is no sight better in a cricket field than to see Sehwag's swashbuckling stroke-play, Yuvraj's aggression, Gambhir's grit and Bhajji spinning his team to victory or Zaheer leaving the batsmen clueless.

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