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Sehwag gets vote of confidence from Wright

Ashish Shukla | December 02, 2003 16:08 IST

The repeated failures of Virender Sehwag may inspire little confidence among cricket fans, but the Delhi opener has received a vote of confidence from India coach John Wright ahead of the first Test against Australia.

"We back Sehwag and respect his enormous ability. He is very strong and bright. The way he plays his game on fast and true pitches, he could give us a rousing start," said Wright, suggesting that the swashbuckling batsman would still come out to open the Indian innings in the Gabba Test, starting on Thursday.

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Sehwag had scores of 20, 23, 6 and 5 in the four innings on the tour so far, and back home he was not too successful against Australia in the TVS Cup. But Wright felt he had the ability to come good, provided he recaptures his form quickly.

"We still rate him well but he obviously needs to find better form," he said.

"Opening is a critical part of our success overseas. We hope we can improve in that area. If we can get through the first period, the middle order would have a chance. It is hugely important to us," the New Zealander, who took over the coaching job after India's last tour to Australia in 1999, said.

Wright admitted that the form of his bowlers has suffered because of a surfeit of one-day games in recent times and said it affected the spinners in particular.

"This year in particular we have been playing a lot of one-day games. We have played only two Tests and it does affect bowlers, more so the spinners," Wright said.

The coach also remembered that Sachin Tendulkar had helped India win the Kolkata Test in 2001 with his leg-spin bowling and hinted that the master batsman might be asked to turn his arm over more in the upcoming series.

"He could be the third spinner of the side. I agree that it is a resource we need to encourage. More so on this tour as it would balance our attack. My mind goes back to the 2-3 wickets he took in Kolkata and created an opening for us to win.

"When it's working for him and pitching for him, it works great. We have talked about that with him and that is a possibility with us," he said.

Wright said the first day of the series is extremely important for the team.

"We have certainly come here to win cricket matches. I know what this side is capable of doing on this tour. Surely, the first day of the series will be very important."

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