The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Srikkanth wants Sachin as opener

Mumbai: Former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth said Thursday that Sachin Tendulkar should open the batting with Virender Sehwag in the World Cup starting next month.

“I don’t believe in the left-hand-right-hand combination theory. I had said before and am saying now that the best batsman in the side should open the innings. Without doubt Sachin is the best batsman in the world and he should be opening,” said the former opener.

Skipper Sourav Ganguly, who is not in the best of form at the moment, should push himself down the order and once he gets back his confidence he should come in at No. 3, followed by Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif, Srikkanth opined.

However, former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, present along with Srikkanth at a function here to name TV commentators for the World Cup, felt Dravid should open with Sehwag.

“Both Sachin and Sourav should come down the order and Dravid, who is technically correct, should open. To be successful in World Cup matches, the two most experienced batsmen in the side should take up the fourth and fifth positions.”

“Aravinda de Silva and I used to come in No. 4 and 5 and performed without much pressure during the 1996 World Cup which we won,” Ranatunga said.

Asked to pick his favourite team, Ranatunga said: “I would back underdogs New Zealand though Australia and South Africa are the favourites.”

On why he was not backing Sri Lanka, Ranatunga reasoned: “They don’t have a good attack and are not playing like a unit in the on-going one-day series in Australia. However, if they improve in bowling and play like a well-knit team they can do better.

“On the other hand, if Chris Cairns is fully fit, the Kiwis would be hard to beat as the Aussies and the South Africans can crumble under sustained pressure like the Englishmen showed in the fifth Test against the Aussies.”

Stating that spinners would play a big part in the World Cup, Ranatunga said Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Muthiah Muralidharan, Saqlain Mushtaq and Daniel Vettori will contribute to the success of their teams.

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