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'India-Pakistan match will be a final before the final'

Source: PTI
February 03, 2015 18:53 IST
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'India should not have left Sehwag and Yuvraj out of their World Cup squad'

Former Pakistan leg-spin legend Abdul Qadir says he would have also liked to see leg-spinners like Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla in the team since India does not have intimidating pace bowlers.

Virat Kohli congratulates Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq during a match. Photograph: Getty Images

Former Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir says India’s selectors "committed a blunder" by ignoring Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh for the upcoming 50-overs-a-side World Cup.

Their presence in the squad, the 59-year-old said, would have given the team the liberty to play with four regular bowlers, .

"I was surprised to see that, but Asian teams have this habit of committing blunders.

"If you have players like Sehwag and Yuvraj in the team it not only pressurises the opposition bowlers but also gives the option of playing with four regular bowlers," Qadir told PTI Bhasha.

While Sehwag set the tone for India's triumphant march to the title in the 2011 World Cup with a scintillating century in the tournament opener against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Yuvraj was adjudged man of the tournament for his all-round display.

- Schedule: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

'Having players like Sehwag and Yuvraj in the team give you options'

India's Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh (right) during a practice session. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

"Yuvraj had bowled brilliantly in the last World Cup where he was also the player of the tournament.

"I would have also liked to see leg-spinners like Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla in the team since India does not have intimidating pace bowlers," said the former Pakistan chief selector.

He feels only one Asian team will make the semi-finals of the quadrennial extravaganza.

Grouped in Pool B, India and Pakistan open their campaign when they meet each other on February 15.

"I think that Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will reach the last four and the last team will be from the Asian subcontinent, provided England does not give them serious competition," Qadir said.

He said the much-anticipated match between the arch-rivals will be the most crucial of the tournament.

"The outcome of the India-Pakistan match will decide their future in the tournament. It will boost the morale of the winning team and give an additional edge as well. It will surely be a final before the final," he added.

Qadir dismissed suggestions that India will have the upper hand over Pakistan considering past record.

"It will be a new match and new tournament and both the teams have equal chance. Chasing will be an advantage at Adelaide and whoever wins the toss will enjoy that advantage," he said.

'Dhoni cannot defend the title alone'

India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters

Talking about the Indian team, he said it will be tired after the long Australia tour.

"Australia tour was beneficial as far as conditioning is concerned as they have got a chance to play at almost all the venues, but Australia tour is always tiresome. Indian players will be tired and they are also away from home for so long. They must be missing home.

"They should have been sent back home for a short break after the tri-series so that they can start afresh."

Former Pakistan cricketers like Inzamam-ul Haq and Shoaib Akhtar might believe that having Mahendra Singh Dhoni as leader is a big factor for the Indian team, but Qadir feels the captain is as good as the team.

"There is no doubt that Dhoni is one of the best captains today but he cannot defend the title alone. The other 10 players also have to give their best. I was watching a match in the tri-series and was disappointed to see the way Kohli and Raina got out. Match-winners like them should perform better," he said.

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