NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels that the absence of India's opening batsman Virender Sehwag in the first two Test matches in England will be an advantage for the hosts.

Sehwag, who is yet to recover from a shoulder injury, has been included in the 17-member Test squad but will miss the first two Tests at Lord's (July 21-25) and Trent Bridge (July 29-August 2).

"The absence of an explosive batsman like Sehwag at top of the order is a disadvantage for Team India going into this big series. I don't think there is any other impact player like him in world cricket currently," said Akram.

"Besides, Sehwag has forged a great opening combination with Gautam Gambhir over the last three years. Apart from hitting the boundaries, they are adept at pinching those quick singles due to the great understanding they share. They have scored runs all over the world in difficult conditions," said Akram.

Sehwag has scored only 527 runs from 11 Tests against England at an average of 31.

Akram said the selection committee, headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, has done a smart job by picking Shewag for the tour.

"He may not play the first two matches but the fact is Sehwag will still get a chance to acclimatise himself to the conditions in England with some useful practice during the net sessions.

"This experience will come in handy once he recovers fully from his injury and is ready to play. I, therefore, think this is a very smart move by the Indian selectors," said Akram.

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