Pak series a big challenge: Sehwag

Published: Monday, December 27, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Dhaka:Dashing opener Virender Sehwag says pressure would be on India when they take on Pakistan at home early next year and stopping the arch-rivals, who have held the upper hand in recent matches, would be a big challenge.

"We are all looking forward to playing Pakistan. The pressure is going to be on us. People will expect us to win both the Test matches and the one-dayers because we won both the series in Pakistan earlier this year," Sehwag said in an interview.

"It is going to be a big challenge for us because Pakistan's recent record against us is very good. They have beaten us in the last five one-dayers. Hopefully we will do well as we did when we played on their soil."

The Delhi batsman said he was looking to continue his domination of Pakistan bowlers but refused to predict whether there would be a repeat of his Multan magic. "I will try and do my best. I have played them in the past, so I know their bowlers well both the seamers and the spinners," said the player who notched up a record 309 in the first Test on India's tour to Pakistan in March-April this year.

It was the first triple century and also the highest individual score by an Indian in Test cricket.

Sehwag said it would help that the relations between the two countries had improved in recent time.

"I don't think there will that much hype this time as there was last time when we played them after so many years.

"The series should be a good one, considering the relation between the two countries has improved a lot."

He did not have any grouse that he might not get to play the Pakistanis in his home ground of Feroze Shah Kotla which is under renovation. "I don't think about such things. If Kotla is ready, very well."

It has been a mixed year for Sehwag who has been scoring prolifically in Test cricket but has failed to play to his potential in the shorter version of the game.

"This year has been a good one for me in Test cricket but not in one-day cricket. I went through a rough patch, I was out of form for a long time in one-dayers. I got one 50 against Pakistan (in the BCCI Platinum Jubilee match in Kolkata) but otherwise it has been a very bad one."

Sehwag chose to look back at the series against Australia at home, which was one of the biggest series for him and his teammates, with pragmatism.

He said if the team had succeeded in getting a good start, the result of the series would have been different.

"The bad form in the one-dayers at the start of the season spilled over into the Test series. We could not get big scores as we did when we beat them in Australia and also against Pakistan in Pakistan," he said.

"This time we started with a defeat in Bangalore, and then there was rain in Chennai. If we had pulled off that first match in Bangalore, things would have been different," said Sehwag.

" The problem as we all know was that all our batsmen were out of form at the same time, so the different team combinations we tried did not work. Our planning, fielding and other aspects of the game were still good."

He disagreed that the players were complacent after winning in Pakistan last season.

"I don't think so. I don't think any player can ever be over-confident. Cricket is not an easy game, if you are over-confident, your cricket will go down," he said.

"I think we competed hard, everyone did his individual preparation well. We faced a tough challenge from Australia. It all came down to runs but we were not successful. Also, we needed a good start. If only we had saved the first match as we did in Australia or against South Africa that followed this season, things could have been different."

Sehwag said the team could have avoided trying out certain combinations but the fact that the team was on a downslide did not help things.

"Yes, certain combinations we could have avoided. But when a team keeps losing, that forces you to make changes. As I said, the bad form in one-dayers was the reason. There were so many defeats, it did not help."

Sehwag said now that the Australian series was behind them, the team had its focus set on the World Cup three years from now.

"The 2007 World Cup is the next big challenge for us. We have started doing some preparations for that already. Some new players are coming in, we are all very keen."

Sehwag agreed that Australia have raced further away from the rest of the teams.

"Yes, the gap has widened. We have suffered regular defeats this season and our rating has come down from what it was after the World Cup last year."

Sehwag refused to be drawn into a debate over who should replace John Wright if and when he stepped down as the team coach.

"He has been a fantastic coach and motivator. Importantly, he has given the Indian team a direction, shown us the way our cricket should go. I personally would love to continue with Wright. If somebody is going to replace him, I don't have an opinion about whether he should be an Indian or a foreigner. It is not my job."

The inimitable hard hitting opener said batsmen would not be at a disadvantage if the new proposal to allow bowlers to bend their arm up to 15 degrees is made into a law.

"I can't say. It is a matter of the ICC. As for me, I have to face the red ball or white ball. It doesn't matter whether the bowler is bending his arm 15 degrees or 30 degrees."

Write Comments