We are on par with the Aussies, says Sehwag

Published: Thursday, June 17, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Australia may be at the top of their game but the flamboyant Virender Sehwag believes India are "on par" with the world champions and could beat them in the home Test series later this year.

Although Sehwag concedes that the Australian attack would be much stronger than what it was during their last visit to Australia with the inclusion of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, he says the Indian batsmen were capable of pulling it off provided they were at the top of their form.

"Definitely we are on par with them. If we can go there and beat them on their home ground, definitely we are up there," Sehwag, India's only triple centurion, said.

"To beat a team like Australia, we have to battle it out for all the five days of a Test. And that's what we did when we beat them in Adelaide. We hope that we can put up a similar fight when they come here and win the series," the 25-year-old opener said.

But Sehwag, whose cracking 309 against Pakistan in Multan early this year broke the triple- century drought in Indian Test history, said there were other series to be played before India took on Australia in the four-Test series and it would be difficult to predict what form his teammates and he would be in, four months from now.

"We are playing the Asia Cup, a tri-series in Holland and the Champions Trophy. I would like to take it series by series. Who knows what form I will be when they come here," Sehwag said.

"If you ask me about their bowling strength as such, yes, it would definitely be a lot better than what they had in the last series in Australia with four good bowlers in Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Shane Warne.

"Against such high quality bowling, scoring runs will be a worry. But it would depend very much on what form the batsman is at that time. If the batsman is in good form, it does not matter what the bowling attack is," the Nawab of Najafgarh said.

Sehwag put down India's losses to the three-time World Champions in One-day cricket to bad luck, and denied that the Aussies enjoyed a psychological hold on India.

"One-day cricket is a difficult game, the result is achieved inside a day. So, it is not as if our performance was poor. But in One-day cricket, there is always this fear, tension, as to what's going to happen and when. But I don't think they have any psychological hold over us. Maybe they are a better team, and a better team always wins."

Sehwag, who has been playing for his employers ONGC in local matches to get some match practice in the off season, looked back at his marathon knock in Multan with a sense of happiness and self-contentment.

"It feels good but the feeling was the same as that I have upon reaching any other milestone. Very few cricketers manage to come even close to the300-mark, so I am happy to have that figure to my name."

Sehwag was quick to point out that although many felt his batting was 'not so technically sound', he did have a "good technique" with which he was "comfortable".

"To make 300, you need to stay very long at the crease and for that you need patience, dedication and technique too. In my case, I kept attacking. Maybe I was lucky too, I had my chances before crossing 300. So luck is important too."

"But technique is essential, without that you can't survive, at least for such a long time (as I did). Many say that I am not technically sound but as far as Iam concerned I am comfortable with my technique, good technique, which was why I was able to make 300."

Sehwag's ability to play his natural game even when the chips are down was there to be seen in his first knock in Test cricket when he carved out a century on debut against South Africa at Bloemfontein in 2001.

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