Former India batsman Virender Sehwag expressed concerns over England’s top-order, explaining how its collective failure is putting more pressure on captain Joe Root to score runs. Root has been a stand out performer for England against India in the three innings so far of the Test series, scoring 64 and 109 in Nottingham while no other English batsman managed to score even a half-century.
In the first innings of the Lord’s Test, a similar narrative unfolded as Root scored his 51st Test fifty after being forced to come in at 23/2 on Day 2. Sehwag feels a major chunk of a team’s success has to do with its opening pair performs and how well it performs, something England are struggling with at the moment.
“When your openers do not give you a good start, that is when you come down to the bottom. The chances of winning also takes a hit because if you have a good partnership – say of 50-100 runs, it becomes easier for the middle order. Eight times their openers have gotten out for a duck, which is a big number. When the openers get out early, you are left with pressure to deal with,” Sehwag said on the Sony Sports Network.
Sehwag, one of India’s best Test openers of all time along with Sunil Gavaskar, recalled an instance from the tour of England in 2002, when he first opened in Test cricket for India, but his former teammate Rahul Dravid, who used to bat at No. 3, had already padded up, probably sensing that Sehwag won’t last long. However, Sehwag did and succeeded with scores of 84 at Lord’s and 106 at Trent Bridge.
“I remember when I opened for India in Tests for the first time, I was getting ready to out and saw that Rahul Dravid is already padded up and getting ready for his turn. So, I told him ‘I’m yet to go out’. He told me ‘I know that you won’t give me the time to even put my pads on’. But after the first match, he probably realised that it’s not like that. I will give him chances. I scored 84 and then when I hit a century, he was pretty sure. Then he always used to put his pads on after me,” Sehwag recalled.