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Dravid forced Sehwag's inclusion
March 03, 2007 16:55 IST
An out of form Virender Sehwag was selected in India's World Cup squad only because captain Rahul Dravid insisted on his inclusion, chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar disclosed.
Vengsarkar said the selectors had initially decided to leave out Sehwag but Dravid insisted on having the hard-hitting batsman in the ranks and they eventually agreed.
"I would always back the captain. When I was leading India, I never got the team I wanted and I didn't want Rahul to go through the same. He insisted on having Sehwag and that made the difference", he told CNN-IBN in a programme to be telecast on Sunday.
Vengsarkar admitted Sehwag did not feature in the initial scheme of things for his prolonged run-drought but enjoyed backing from some quarters in the team.
"It was a bit of gamble [to have him in the side]. But I think he has done extremely well in the past. Besides, he has won a lot of matches for India. We are hoping that he would do well in the World Cup," he added.
Since taking over from Kiran More, Vengsarkar's tenure so far has seen return of the old guards and the former India captain insisted experience could not be done away with.
"It's important to have fresh legs in the field but the fact of the matter is that you need to win also. And for that you need experience," he explained.
Also shedding light on Irfan Pathan's selection, Vengsarkar said, "Both Irfan and Sehwag have fantastic records and they have done extremely well in the past. But again form is important as well. But they have experience, which makes a lot of difference. If there are tight games, experience can win you matches."
He also justified the decision to appoint Sachin Tendulkar as the vice captain of the side.
"Rahul is an experienced player, so is Sachin. If something happens to Dravid, God forbid, Sachin can lead," he reasoned.
The issue was not discussed with Dravid, he said.
On Greg Chappell, Vengsarkar said the Australian has done "reasonably" well as India's coach and felt he should continue with the team even after the World Cup.
"He has been around for two years and I think he has done reasonably well. We won quite a few matches under him. It's upto the BCCI to decide but I would like to see him continue even after the World Cup," he said.
He also reposed full faith in the Indian team and said they should reach the semi-finals first and take it from there.
"We have the best batting order in the world and if they can go to the last four stage, it's anybody's game. I would be very, very disappointed if they don't reach the semi-finals.
"They just have to believe in themselves and think that they are the best in the world. I hope...I'm sure they will do well," he added.
Vengsarkar admitted off-spinner Ramesh Powar was unfortunate to miss a berth but felt Mohammad Kaif did not score enough to demand a place in the side.
"In fact he was unfortunate. Harbhajan [Singh] is doing well and [Anil] Kumble is a very experienced spinner...We could pick only two spinners. It's really bad luck. However, there are lot of matches after the World Cup and I'm sure he will get back," he said.
On Kaif, Vengsarkar said, "If you see his form, he has not scored too many runs. Just good fielding is not enough, you have to bat well too."
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