Sehwag may replace Laxman in second Test

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2002, 20:30 [IST]
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New Delhi: With Sanjay Bangar coming up with a sterling performance in Nagpur, V V S Laxman is most likely to make way for Virender Sehwag as India prepares to go for a 2-0 sweep against Zimbabwe in the second Test starting on Thursday.Bangar, who was surprisingly selected ahead of Sehwag in Nagpur, has almost sealed his place for Thursday's game after his all-round performance in the first Test and he fits well into the team's scheme of things. "He provides the right balance to the team. If he does well consistently, he is going to solve a lot of problems for the team," skipper Saurav Ganguly said after India's net practice on Wednesday morning. And keeping explosive Sehwag out once again would be very difficult especially since Ferozshah Kotla is his home turf and a favourite hunting ground.

On current form and performance, Laxman seems to be the only man who can be sacrificed even though Ganguly made it clear it would be a very difficult decision to make. "No one produces a 281 everyday. He is class player. There is absolutely no doubt about that," he said. The composition of the team seems to have become a bigger issue than speculating on the team's prospects in the match with the hosts expected to once again run through the opposition. India had registered a comfortable win here on Zimbabwe's previous tour and Ganguly said he was looking for a similar result. "We will go for 2-0 win.

We played the last game well and are looking to continue that effort." And Bangar seems to be key player in his strategy. "He is a very promising cricketer especially with what he does with the ball. He does the reverse swing very well and is a very handy customer." However, Ganguly ruled out the possibility of sending Bangar, who opens the innings for Railways, as an opener with Shiv Sunder Das. "I think Deep Dasgupta is doing a fine job there," he said while admitting that Dasgupta's performance as a wicket-keeper needed a lot to be desired. "He has to improve a lot especially while standing up to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan.

He has improved but we will have to give him a bit more time. "If he starts keeping well and also continues with his good performance as an opener, he will give the right balance to the team," Ganguly said. Fielding is another aspect that has been attracting a lot of attention these days. Ganguly admitted the ground fielding was not up to the mark in Nagpur. "We are trying to improve on that aspect and also work on our fitness. "Fielding has been one of our weaknesses for quite some time and we have to lift our fielding standards," he said. Zimbabwe's problems have been compounded by the lack of form of Andy Flower, but captain Stuart Carlisle said the rest of the batsmen were also not contributing. "We cannot depend only on Andy Flower every time.

Others also have to contribute and they are not doing it right now," he said. Zimbabwe had scored over 400 runs in its first innings when it played here in 2000 and Carlisle said he was looking to post a similar total this time. "For that everybody will have to pitch in and I am confident that they would do it," he said. After having the net practice at the Ferozshah Kotla, Zimbabwe players had a good look at the pitch. "It doesn't seem to be a very good wicket for fast bowlers. It looks to turn early, as early as the third day," Carlisle said. And that would mean Zimbabwe would once again miss the services of an extra spinner in their ranks. "Ray Price did extremely well in Nagpur but it would have been great if a few of our spinners, who are at home due to injury, had been here.

Anyway there is nothing much we can do about it," he said. "We are disappointed to have lost the first Test by an innings but our spirits are not down. We would definitely like to win here and square the series 1-1," the Zimbabwe skipper said.

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