Virender Sehwag might well have opened a can of worms as he engineered a proxy war against skipper MS Dhoni through the media. At a time when the team is struggling to get its act together, such a statement from a senior pro was both ill-advised and unhealthy for team-spirit.
Clearly, there's more to the rotation policy than what has been told so far by Dhoni and Sehwag. "We had a meeting and Gautam, Sachin and I chatted and we were explained that the team wants to give exposure to the youngsters here. We agreed," is what Sehwag told the media.
The question that needs to be asked is who came up with the idea of rotation policy? Was it Dhoni's idea? Or was the Indian captain acting on behalf of the selection committee, or BCCI? The team-management needs to be more transparent on this issue. On their part, the selectors too have not conducted themselves with grace post India's World Cup victory.
They first picked Rahul Dravid for the one-dayers against England when he had himself given up hopes of returning to the ODI squad. When Dravid objected, he was told that since he had not announced his retirement the selectors were right in picking him. Ironically, Dravid announced his ODI retirement on the day he was recalled to the ODI team in England. It was a slap on the faces of the selectors. Nobody then suggested that India would have been better off grooming a youngster.
Cut to Australia and the same bunch of selectors picked veterans Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in the squad. Once you pick a legend like Tendulkar, and even top guns like Sehwag and Gambhir, they are deemed as an automatic choice in the playing eleven.
There are murmurs that players on the fringes became uneasy the moment Tendulkar was picked to play the tri-series, the view being that since Tendulkar chose not to play in the West Indies, why play him here. Surely, this has not happened without support from some members within the team. And this is where the rift formula fits in.
On the flip side, four years is a long time in international cricket. There is no guarantee that most of the youngsters in the current side are certain to come back for the 2015 World Cup. And then, should Suresh Raina, who has played 141 ODIs, and Rohit Sharma, who has featured in 78 matches, come into the bracket of youngsters? Aren't they seasoned pros by now?
Clearly, what upset Sehwag and other seniors is the fact that Dhoni called them "slow fielders" even though the captain took pains to also suggest that they were safe fielders but the big grounds in Australia would test their ageing bodies.
To his credit, Sehwag did admit he had no problems if the captain drops him from the team due to poor form. "I am available for all the matches, so it depends on what eleven the captain and coach pick. If they tell me 'we are giving a chance to youngsters and you take a break', I'm happy with that."
By making his difference of opinion on the rotation policy, public, Sehwag has ensured that Dhoni will face some heat when he turns up for the press conference next time. "MS (Dhoni) will address you ahead of the next game and then you can ask him again."
One hopes that better sense prevails in the dressing room and the team management sorts out the issue to everyone's satisfaction, because washing dirty linen in public is the last thing expected of this Indian team even as it faces a must-win situation in its remaining two matches of the tri-series.