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The Rediff Cricket Interview / Kiran More
'Sehwag will do well in the World Cup'
March 13, 2007
Kiran More, the former Baroda and India wicketkeeper, was a key member of the national side in the 1987 World Cup in the subcontinent, and the following one in the Antipodes in 1992. He went on to become chairman of the national selection committee after calling it a day from first-class cricket.
Haresh Pandya spoke with him, at the Lukshmi Vilas Palace Estate, in Baroda, about Team India and its chances at the World Cup.
How hopeful are you of Team India performing well in this World Cup and living up to the huge expectations of its legion of fans?
I'm very, very hopeful that Team India will put up an outstanding performance. India should have a cakewalk in the group stage, but the Super Eight series is going to be very crucial because there the matches will be against the best sides. There won't be any pressure after that, I'm sure. The important thing is that if you are aiming at winning the World Cup; you've to win crucial games against big teams. I think we've a very good opportunity to win this World Cup.
Are you happy with the selection of the team?
I think the selectors have chosen the best possible team from the best talent we have. The selectors have done a fair job. You can't pick more than 15 players, howsoever good, so those who are left out shouldn't feel bad about it. This is really a very balanced side, picking the momentum at the right time. Expectations are really high of this team which, of course, isn't surprising. In 2003, nobody gave us any chance.
Don't you think the Indians have comparatively easier company in Group B, in which only Sri Lanka can truly test them?
Maybe you could say that, but don't forget cricket is a game of chance and anything can happen. It would be a serious mistake to underestimate even Bangladesh. But India should start off its World Cup on a brighter note. It's very important that we win our first match. We must win hands down against Bangladesh. It should be a very straight win. We should try to dominate that match. It would be a good morale booster for India as we progress further in the tournament. We shouldn't have any problem beating Sri Lanka either. What I mean to say is that if you don't win convincingly against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, you'll invite undue pressure on yourself.
How do you rate India's batting?
I must say India has one of the world's best and most formidable batting line-ups. I don't think I need to say anything more. The men adorning India's batting line-up are household names across the world. If our batting clicks, everything should be all right.
Don't you think this Indian team is lacking in all-rounders of the caliber of the ones we had in 1983?
I don't think so. Agreed we had Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Ravi Shastri, Roger Binny and Madan Lal in 1983. But if you look at the runs they scored, not too many of them contributed substantially with the bat save Kapil and Mohinder. It would be wrong to say this Indian team doesn't have all-rounders. Mahendra Singh Dhoni can be considered an all-rounder. In purely one-day cricket terms, Irfan Pathan, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh are all-rounders. But all these players will have to score very many runs to enable India put up a huge total when batting first or chasing a target. So we do have plenty of all-rounders. But even if we don't have all-rounders, we've batsmen and bowlers capable enough to win matches for us.
Sehwag's form is a bit of concern, isn't it?
It is. But just because Sehwag hasn't been doing well of late it doesn't mean that he is a bad cricketer. He is an outstanding cricketer. The selectors have full confidence in his ability and that's why he is in the team. He is a match-winner. It's my prediction that he'll do well in the World Cup.
Having been the chairman of selectors before Dilip Vengsarkar replaced you, do you think it's right on his part to tell the media, especially on the eve of such an important event, that Sehwag is in the World Cup team just because of Rahul Dravid?
I think it's an individual opinion. But it's always a chairman's call, not the captain's or anybody else's call. The chairman makes a call and the selectors make calls in the selection committee meeting. It's not that Rahul Dravid selects the team or Greg Chappell selects the team. The things are always discussed across the table and there is always a mutual understanding among everyone involved in the business of selection. As I said earlier, the selectors have done a fine job and picked the best possible team for the World Cup. It's a mix of youth and experience.
Who has the last say or word in a selection committee meeting?
Every meeting is chairman's, not anyone else's. If you are running a company, always the chairman makes a call. It's not that the manager or the general manager gives you advice or discusses plans with you. This has always been done by the chairman. It's always the chairman who signs the documents.
Which teams would you like to see in the semi-finals and final?
I wouldn't hazard a guess as to which teams will be in the semi-finals and final. Let's hope the four strong teams reach the semi-finals and the best two sides clash with each other in the final.
Do you think there is any dark horse in this World Cup?
I've a feeling that England may turn out to be the dark horse of the tournament.
The Cup: Complete Coverage