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Should India include Virender Sehwag in the team for the first Test?

Yes - 1573
No - 1901

Poll Results Archive

Should India include Virender Sehwag in the team for the first Test?
- The Appeal

The Offside

This is indeed a very controversial topic, but it is one that concerns millions of Indian fans the world over and therefore cannot be ignored. After match-referee Mike Denness handed Virender Sehwag a one-match suspension at the end of the second Test between India and South Africa, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been put in a very difficult position.

The BCCI's stance in this matter has been made amply clear. By leaving Sehwag out of the third and final 'Test' in South Africa, the Board believes that Sehwag has already served out his ban. The International Cricket Council (ICC), however, maintains that the final game played between India and South Africa is not an official Test match.

Chairman of selectors Chandu Borde made it amply clear that it was his job to simply pick the team on merit. With Sehwag scoring a century on Test debut, there is little doubting the fact that he deserves a place in the Indian side for the forthcoming home series against England.

If there is a problem with his playing or serving out the ban, it must be resolved by the BCCI and the ICC. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to bring Sehwag or the selectors into this. With there being no directive from the Board on the matter, Sehwag must be picked to play. After all, the ICC has now made this matter one of national pride. With the stakes being so high, it would be a come-down for the Board to leave him out. What is more, it would do the confidence of Sehwag no good at all. By keeping him out, the Board would be casting aspersions on his conduct and almost admitting his guilt. That is something that should never be allowed.

The Onside

There is really very little doubt in the matter. The BCCI and Jagmohan Dalmiya can have all the beliefs and ideals that they want, as long as none of these come in the way of the functioning of the principal governing body of the game. The ICC is above cricket boards in the matter of global policy and decision making. Once something is laid down by the apex body, the onus is on the respective national boards to adhere.

In this case, one which is really black and white, there is no need to even put the matter down to the authority of the ICC; common sense is enough. When the BCCI refused to play the final Test with Mike Denness as match referee, they played right into the hands of the ICC. Unable to backtrack on the decisions made by the officially appointed match referee, the ICC took the only possible route, deeming the third Test an unofficial one.

After the match was declared unofficial, it matters little to the ICC who plays, who umpires and who referees. In effect, Sehwag's sitting out the third match in South Africa means nothing to the ICC. The fact that Dalmiya and the BCCI persist with calling the final match a Test is both inaccurate and not in keeping with the standing of a national board.

Look at things from the practical point of view too. Already India have come down a few notches in the esteem of fans the world around. A Test match was stripped of its status on the account of the BCCI's tantrums. If Sehwag is picked, then there is every chance that the first Test versus England will also be dubbed unofficial. The BCCI should limit the damage done and not pick Sehwag for Mohali.

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