Johannesburg: Fast bowling legend Michael Holding thinks it is not right to compare batting genius Sachin Tendulkar to his look-alike Virender Sehwag and says the current World Cup has exposed the stark difference between the two Indian stars."Look, you can't even begin to compare Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. One is right up there and the other is down here," Holding, nicknamed the 'Whispering Death' in his hey days, said.
"When the West Indians were touring India last October, there was a lot of talk about Sehwag being the next Sachin and I said right then that the two are like chalk and cheese. "The World Cup has completely exposed the difference between the two," the West Indian legend was quoted as saying on the official World Cup website on Monday. Sehwag has climbed the popularity charts in the past couple of years with his aggressive style of play resembling that of Tendulkar. Promoted as an opener last year, Sehwag has had explosive knocks to his credit but the dashing right-hander is still struggling to get the big scores in the World Cup.
Tendulkar, on the other hand, has dazzled and outshone Sehwag, emerging as the highest run-getter in the premier event so far. Holding, who scalped 249 wickets from 60 Tests at an average of 23.68, also felt Saurav Ganguly had "improved" as a captain over the last one year. "Ganguly is improving as a captain. When the team was in the West Indies last May, the way he would glare at the bowlers was just not right. It must have been very discouraging to the young guys but I think he is improving.
"There is a vast difference between last year and now. Presently, I could not see anybody else replacing him as captain," Holding said. Reflecting on West Indies' early exit from the World Cup, Holding said it was a mistake to ignore in-form Marlon Samuels at the cost of batting superstar Brian Lara."Well I said (before West Indies' first match against South Africa) that he (Lara) should not have played the first game. Lara did score a hundred in that game but what did he do after that? I really believe that Marlon Samuels could have collectively contributed more than Lara.
"Unfortunately, Marlon was injured and unavailable for the first game and after that the team management just could not seem to find a place for him in the squad," Holding said. The former fast bowler also felt that Australia, unbeaten in its seven World Cup games so far, was not invincible."Let's just say that they're not invincible. I think New Zealand has challenged it in recent times when it toured Australia and it is definitely capable of doing it in the World Cup," Holding said.
The trick to beat Australia would be to not lose early wickets, he said. "Australia's plan is simple - get rid of the top two, three, even four wickets. "By the time part-time bowlers like Darren Lehmann come on to bowl, they are not bowling at the best batsmen so they just automatically become more effective. But if you can keep wickets, may be lose just one in the first 12 or 13 overs, you stand a good chance against them," the former cricketer said. Holding gave full marks to the frontline batsmen for performing up to expectations and among the bowlers he was all praise for Sri Lanka's Chaminda Vaas and India's Ashish Nehra.
"As far as the batting is concerned, all the big names have fired - Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Adam Gilchrist - all the guys you would expect to perform have performed. As far as the bowling is concerned, I would say that Chaminda Vaas and Ashish Nehra have bowled really well. "Nehra impressed me when he came to the West Indies last May and he has improved considerably since then in pace," he said. PTI