In­dia must play Se­hwag

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - FRONT PAGE - IN­ZA­MAM-UL HAQ

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

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