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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

The stand-in Indian captain is either arrogant or very dumb, writes Crowe

Saturday, March 28, 2022
Sehwag not a captaincy material

There is something very strange going on with Mr Sehwag. Given the situation that he is the captain he is either very arrogant or very dumb. And how you can have who is brilliant as that and as irresponsible as that as your vice-captain is quite baffling.

When you consider that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is such a versatile cricketer and can adapt to all sorts of situations, you can understand why he is a true leader. But to then have a vice-captain who can't adapt at all to a situation completely derails India.

So it would be my suggestion that the selectors look for a new vice-captain. Rahul and Sachin clearly don't want to do it, so my pick would be VVS Laxman given that he picks himself. He is an intelligent person.

So that's been kind of surprise of the day, has been the way Sehwag has not adapted and not responded to the crisis that India find themselves in by being asked to follow-on. India have obviously through Rahul and VVS tried hard to create a partnership to alleviate the pressure.

But one mistake and all of a sudden its exposed Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik as two men who just haven't settled into Test cricket as well as they should have.

For New Zealand to have bowled out India for less than half of their total was a great achievement for them. But it was also a shock because the conditions were good at any time of the match.

New Zealand deserve all the credit because they came out with the right intensity, the right attitude. Daniel Vettori rotated his bowlers at regular intervals. The fielding was superb, the catching was outstanding and the seamers came into the game because they got their lengths right. They got it to bowl fuller and that induced three drives into the slips cordon.

Jeetan Patel was terrific in the way he removed Tendulkar. He just maintained his poise and his line and length. That was an important blow before lunch.

New Zealand just showed, as they did on Day 1 and Day 2, that they have the attitude and the desire and hunger to compete. Now they believe they can win the Test match.

That's a great testimony to them. They are a struggling side, they are ranked last in the world, very inexperienced. They have just tried their guts out and that's what you admire about sportspersons.

Rahul tried his guts out for a long period, but just lost his concentration when Jesse the man came on.

But I still can't believe the response from Sehwag towards the end of the day. Sehwag has an image of being carefree and of doing things his own way.

That's fine, but you cannot have a leader with that attitude. Then how can you ask someone to do something that is disciplined and show adaptability, if you can't show yourself that you care, if you can't lead by example.

I don't have a problem with how Sehwag plays, but you cannot have him as the leader of your team or as vice-captain who might in any situation be required to be the leader. That's my point.

I am not criticising him as a human being or as a cricketer. I love watching Sehwag bat. But as captain of India in this situation, there is something very misplaced.

I think it was a fair call from India's selectors to have Dhoni become the captain from among India's next generation. Sehwag may have missed out after being the vice-captain to Rahul. Sehwag and maybe even Yuvraj may have felt like they have missed out. It's now been dispelled.

Leadership is a very important part of sport, captaincy on the field, the ability to adapt, to communicate, to ask players to get out of their comfort zones and do things.

That's what Dhoni has done with his team all the time. He promotes himself up the order, he says I will do it. That's what true leadership is about. Yuvraj and Sehwag they are just better off playing their way.

Sehwag maybe suited to captaining Delhi in the IPL where Daredevil play is what the game is about, but captaining your country in a Test is the last place for Sehwag's carefree approach.

Twenty20 cricket is a very different format. I am talking purely on the basis of Test cricket. I have already said a lot about Dhoni as a great leader. I think he's just magnificent. Sehwag is the complete opposite as a captain, as shown by his efforts on the field. As captain and opening batsman he should have shown some restraint. The shot against Jeetan Patel was a combination of arrogance and of a dumb shot and little bit disrespectful of the situation.

It once again puts India under the cauche going into Day 4. They will have to play unbelievably well to save the game, considering their mindsets been elsewhere.