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The Rediff Cricket Interview / Jaywant Lele
'Dhoni and Sehwag will dominate the World Cup'
March 16, 2007
Jaywant Lele, the loquacious, controversial former secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, is among many who strongly believe that Rahul Dravid's men have all that is required to win the World Cup.
In an exclusive interview with Haresh Pandya, the brutally outspoken, but essentially frank, Lele explains why he is so confident about India's chances in the West Indies.
What is your prediction for India in the ongoing World Cup?
India will reach the final, believe me.
Won't it win the World Cup?
I haven't any doubt that India will reach the final without much ado. But I can't say whether we'll win the World Cup. Besides India, there'll be another best team of the World Cup in the final. Obviously, the better of the two will be the champion.
Who do you think will be the other finalist?
I can't say, simply because there aren't just one or two teams which can reach the final. It could be Australia or South Africa; it could be New Zealand or Sri Lanka; it could also be Pakistan or West Indies. But all I'm sure about is that India will be in the final.
Who can prevent the Indians from reaching the final?
Maybe the Indian players themselves! I mean they ought to reach the final without any difficulty. They've the talent and if they show a bit of consistency, it would be damn easy for them to be there in the final. If our players strike collectively and show the kind of consistency required in a longer-duration tournament like the World Cup, no team can stop them. But our players themselves will stop themselves from reaching the final if they don't do justice to their own skills and perform dismally.
What makes you so confident about Team India?
The amazing talents of our batsmen. We've one of the strongest batting line-ups in the world.
Are you happy with the selection of the Indian team?
Yes, but I strongly believe Ramesh Powar should have been among the 15. He would have been an ideal spinner on the slower West Indies wickets.
Which Indian batsmen do you think will dominate the World Cup?
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag? Hasn't he been wretchedly out of form of late?
So what? Remember my words, Dhoni and Sehwag will be two of the most outstanding players of the World Cup. They're explosive batsmen and can murder any attack on their day. All Sehwag needs is just one morale-boosting innings. He isn't an ordinary batsman. He can't remain out for form for too long.
But Sehwag is in the team against the wishes of many, including Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of the national selection committee�
I don't understand why people are after Sehwag? How can they so easily forget his immense contribution in some of our famous wins, in Tests as well as ODIs, in the recent past? I'm sure he'll silence his detractors in the same manner in which he hits the bowlers.
Would you like to make any comment on Vengsarkar's statement that Sehwag is in the team only because Dravid pressed for his inclusion?
Vengsarkar shouldn't have made such a statement. He hasn't done a right thing. How can he make such an irresponsible statement as the chairman of selectors? When I was the BCCI secretary, there were so many selection and other meetings, but we -- secretary, captain, coach, chairman of selectors, etc -- never used to disclose the things that used to take place in those meetings. Selection committee meetings are highly confidential meetings, where views are expressed and discussed freely and frankly. You can't go out and make public statements about what happened in the selection committee meetings or who said what about certain players.
The Cup: Complete Coverage