India TV exclusive: Sehwag picks India, S Africa, Australia, NZ as World Cup semifinalists
New Delhi: Former Team India opener Virender Sehwag has picked India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as probable semifinalists in the World Cup tournament that began today.
India is to face archrivals Pakistan in its crucial opening pool match in Adelaide tomorrow.
Speaking to noted anchor Mandira Bedi in India TV’s cricket show “Phir Bano Champion” telecast this evening, Sehwag said:
“Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India may reach the semifinals, but it depends on which team plays whom in the quarterfinals. If India plays New Zealand in quarterfinal, then only one can go to the semifinal, similarly if India plays Australia in quarterfinal, the same will apply.”
On Team India’s prospects against Pakistan in its opening pool match on Sunday, Sehwag said, “India’s prospects will seem better, going by past records. Team India has already played in Australia, and the players are used to playing in the conditions there.
However, whenever India-Pakistan match takes place, conditions do not matter, pressure does not matter. But I want India to win.”
“We have three fast bowlers, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma. We’ll have better chances if all three fast bowlers play. The best among them will definitely take 3 to 4 wickets.”
Asked whether Team India misses Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, Sehwag said: “They are surely missed, but our bowlers know the conditions well there, and know which line and length they have to bowl. In Australia recently, our batsmen disappointed us.”
Asked about spinner Ashwin’s role, Sehwag said: “Normally spinners do not dominate in Australian conditions. If Ashwin plays, he should ensure that he does not give way many runs in his allotted 10 overs.”
On opener Shikhar Dhawan’s role, Sehwag said: “Shikhar Dhawan does not appear to be in form, though he made 50 runs in the warm-up game. I hope he makes a big score tomorrow against Pakistan. On the other hand, Rohit Sharma takes his time.
He first makes 20 runs off 40 balls, then 50 runs off 70 balls, and then moves fast. But Shikhar Dhawan is one opener, who attacks right from the beginning.
I have many expectations from Dhawan.”
On Virat Kohli’s role, Sehwag said: “He is a fine player. It does not matter whether one pins expectations on him or not. He has always this hunger for runs. It would be better, if he makes runs.”
Sehwag said, Ajinkya Rahane had been making good scores in Australia. “His batting has improved a lot and he is in form. He can control the middle order. Suresh Raina is one player, who tries to make more runs from fewer balls, but he must play carefully in World Cup. The responsibility is more on him this time.” Asked about Captain M S Dhoni, Sehwag said: “Dhoni is the most experienced player in Team India. He can control the game. He knows how to carry on with the game. He should come up in the batting order, at either number 4 or 5.
If our two opening wickets fall, he can exercise control over the game.”
Asked about his preference for Team India’s batting order tomorrow, Sehwag said: “Shikhar and Rohit Sharma should open, with Virat at number 3. Either Rahane or Dhoni should take up at number 4. Suresh Raina should play at number 6, the all-rounder must play at number 7, and the four bowlers in the lower order.”
Sehwag pointed out that Team India would surely miss all-rounder Yuvraj Singh the most. “In the last 2011 World Cup, he emerged as the best all rounder both with the bat and ball.
His role was very crucial in taking wickets. There were six batsmen and four bowlers then in Team India, and the eleventh was Yuvraj. It is very difficult to say who will take Yuvraj’s position this time.”
Asked about Pakistan team’s preparedness, Sehwag said: “Pakistan recently chased more than 250 runs against England and won. They were 20th time lucky, after failing 19 times while chasing big scores.
Tomorrow’s match will depend on how much confident their batsmen are. Their lower middle order is quite strong with Misbahul Haq, Masood and Shahid Afridi. Pakistan has the stamina to beat any team.”