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Beating Pakistan would be a big confidence booster for India at World Cup: Sehwag

By Manu Shankar
Last updated on: February 02, 2015 20:52 IST
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- 'I'm sure India will make it to the semis. I don't think the team will be much-affected by their recent performances'

Virender Sehwag discussed India's chances at the upcoming World Cup in Delhi on Monday. Manu Shankar/Rediff.com reports.

 
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) with Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq at the toss during an ODI match in Chennai in December 2012. Photograph: BCCI

Notwithstanding the poor show in the just-concluded ODI tri-series, India discard Virender Sehwag is still hopeful of the team making it to the final of the upcoming World Cup Down Under.

- Schedule: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The swashbuckling opener is of the view that come the tournament the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led squad will sort out its gray areas and the poor recent performances, among which was failing to make it to the fnial of the tri-series tournament, will not be a factor in India’s Cup campaign.

"I’m sure India will make it to the semis. I don’t think the team will be much-affected by their recent performances. Everyone will give their 100 per cent effort during the World Cup,” said Sehwag, on the sidelines of an event in Delhi on Monday.

- Meet India's 15-member World Cup squad

India lost the four-Test series against Australia 2-0 and failed to win a single match in the ODI tri-series, also involving Australia and England, that followed.

Virender SehwagSehwag recalled how the team faced a similar crisis going into the 2003 World Cup before recovering and making it to the final against Australia.

"Just before the 2003 World Cup India had a disastrous tour of New Zealand and everyone thought that we won't do well in South Africa, but we ended up making it to the final," he said, adding it is good that India plays Pakistan in their opening World Cup game on February 15.

“If you can win your first match, you don't feel any pressure. Once you beat a big team in the first one or two games you know you can handle the other sides during the league stage.

“If India can beat Pakistan in their tournament opener it would a big confidence-booster for them.

"I always used to prepare myself for a match against Pakistan as the most important game. I considered it to be our final before the final.”

He said the team that won the World Cup in 2011 was better than the current squad largely because of the home conditions it played under then.

“In 2011 we played in the subcontinent. So, obviously, the conditions factor will come into play. Pitches are different in Australia and New Zealand and, therefore, their part-time bowlers will struggle, especially with the recent ODI rule changes.

“With five fielders in the ring it's very hard to play a part-timer. So that might be a disadvantage for our team. So selection of the 11th player in the side becomes very important.

“In that sense Yuvraj (Singh) did a great job for us in the last World Cup as a fifth bowler. Hopefully, (Stuart) Binny or (Ravindra) Jadeja can replicate the same for us this time,” added the 36-year-old.

Quizzed about the possible semi-finalists in the World Cup, Sehwag said, “Besides India, I think, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have a good chance to make it to the semis.”

 

 

Image: Virender Sehwag during a promotional event in New Delhi.

Photograph: PTI

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