The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sehwag will be back as opener
- India most likely to revert to seven-batsman formula
John Wright

London: Virender Sehwag, who batted at No. 4 in Sunday’s NatWest Challenge game, is going to return to an opener’s slot in the Champions Trophy which gets underway on Friday. The other opener will, of course, be Team India captain Sourav Ganguly.

“Yesterday was just a one-off (with V.V.S. Laxman being promoted)... Veeru hadn’t been getting runs, as an opener, and we felt he’s going to be better off in the middle-order... That a change was needed... Only, that won’t be repeated,” Sourav (MoM in the game) told The Telegraph on Monday evening.

Sehwag, who failed at No.4 too, himself said he wanted to continue as an opener. “Ek bad patch aa gaya hai, but there’s nothing I want to do more than open,” he pointed out during a brief interaction at the team hotel, the Victoria Park Plaza.

Seeming unfazed, Sehwag added: “This lack of runs hasn’t shattered me... This can happen to anybody and, indeed, may happen more than once in somebody’s career... I’m biding time and, hopefully, things will be fine in the Champions Trophy...”

Asked about handling the pressure associated with failure, Sehwag replied: “Main jyada nahin sochta hoon... Nor do I listen to everybody’s advice... I’ve been studying videos and, as I see it, longer and more intense nets could do the trick... There’s no point just looking back, though.”

Virender Sehwag

In a different context (Sunday’s win over England), Sourav feels much the same: “It’s good that we won... The sequence of defeats has ended but, then, much remains to be done... We must consistently play to potential and should strive to lift our game... The Champions Trophy is a huge tournament and we need to be spot-on throughout.”

Incidentally, Sourav indicated that fielding Dinesh Karthik (and playing with only six specialist batsmen) was also a one-off happening.

Joint-holders India have been clubbed with Pakistan and Kenya in the Champions Trophy and, eventually, one team alone is going to advance to the semi-finals from that group. For Sourav and Co. the tournament begins with the match against Kenya, in Southampton, on Saturday.

Inaugural ICC awards

Meanwhile, India’s Irfan Pathan is being seen by many as the hottest contender for the ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year award, to be presented on Tuesday. Laxman, of course, has got three nominations, while Rahul Dravid has made it in two categories. Both of them aren’t badly placed either — in fact, it won’t surprise if Dravid, in particular, bags one award.

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