India must play Sehwag
This match takes me back to 2005, when Pakistan were touring India under my captaincy. As a team, we were no match for the strong Indian side and as expected, we were down and out on the fourth day of the first Test.
Having lost seven wickets, we expected the fifth day to be over quite early. But Kamran Akmal and Abdur Razzaq had other ideas.
They batted out the day and we saved the match. Their performance lifted the team’s spirit and suddenly, we started believing we could take on the Indians on their turf.
We ended up drawing the Test series and took the ODI series.
Similarly, Umar Gul’s effort with the bat against South Africa on Friday will have the team believing that nothing is impossible.
Pakistan have got the combination and balance right. Their spinners, including the young Raza Hasan, are doing well.
The batting was top heavy before the match against the Proteas but the lower order has shown it can stand up to situations.
The players are performing as a unit and this might be their best chance to beat India in a world cup for the first time.
What will help India is that they have never been beaten by Pakistan in a world cup game and in the recent past, their record against the archrivals has been terrific.
This is a high-pressure game for India but they've been in this situation before, and come out victorious.
Their win against Pakistan in the 2007 World T20 final in South Africa and in the 2011 World Cup semifinal in Mohali is testimony to that. This should give them confidence but the question is, can they do it again?
Dhoni will have to solve a few puzzles before this game. The question he'll have to ask himself is should he go in with five bowlers, and the answer is yes. Then, we come to the openers. India need a quality player at the top.
With due respect to Irfan Pathan, I feel he would be more useful at No. 7. His technique is good but not good enough to play the new ball and get a big score.
Scoring big runs is more than technique and one needs to have a habit of doing that. So, there is a strong possibility of getting Virender Sehwag at the top of the order or even getting Virat Kohli to open with Gautam Gambhir.
India and spectators around the world must remember it's not about combinations but execution on the field that matters. India have the team to go far and one bad day on the field doesn't make them a bad side. 360 C O R P O RAT E RELATIONS