The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Any team would love to have Sehwag: Bari
- ‘If catches won’t be taken, there’s no saying how far the Indians will go...’

Multan: “Any team would love to have (Virender) Sehwag in its XI... He’s got so much time and his hand-eye co-ordination is excellent,” is how Pakistan’s chief selector Wasim Bari lauded India’s highest individual run-getter (309) in Tests.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Tuesday afternoon, Bari added: “He’s on the job from the very first delivery, but it’s a mistake if people see him as a slogger... He’s anything but that, though he will run into problems once the hand-eye co-ordination becomes slow.”

Asked whether wickets such as the one at the Multan Cricket Stadium were actually conducive to competitive cricket, Bari replied guardedly: “It certainly wasn’t made to suit our strength, which is fast bowling... I hope the wickets for the last two Tests are going to be different.”

Incidentally, according to reports in the local Media, Pakistan vice-captain Yousuf Youhana is the ‘culprit’. Apparently, he’s the one who began a “shave-the-grass” campaign, largely because of “fears” over the Team India attack.

The chief selector didn’t wish to comment on that, but did say: “Beginning with the toss, everything went India’s way... Even Sehwag got four lives... If catches won’t be taken, there’s no saying how far the Indians will go...”

Bari, bracketed with the very best wicketkeepers during his playing days, said he was “impressed” by young Parthiv Patel, but made two points: “Having watched him quite a bit on the TV, I’ve noticed he occasionally rises too soon to the spinners and, once in a while, isn’t clear about the swinging ball... But, he’s bound to improve.”

In Bari’s opinion, India hasn’t produced a better wicketkeeper than Syed Kirmani. “Brilliant,” is how he described his contemporary.

The chief selector agreed that Pakistan’s biggest problem is holding the catches. “I accept it’s an old ‘ailment’... But, then, to improve as a catcher you need to work very hard. It’s sad, but I doubt if today’s lot puts in even 25 per cent of the effort I made during training.”

Bari maintained it was “too early” to talk about possible changes for the second Test, in Lahore, from April 4. Having climbed the ladder at PIA, he is now director, administration.

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