Rajput dodges ~~Sehwag effect~~ in the side

Published: Saturday, November 3, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Kolkata: While admitting that there was no questioning Virender Sehwag's class as a cricketer, Team India manager Lalchand Rajput today said his position in the side is not clear as yet.

Talking at the customary press meet after Team India's nets at the Eden Gardens today, Rajput said, ''Viru (Virender Sehwag) is undoubtedly a great player. He is an asset to the team. But we have not given a thought about his position in the side.

''We will have a team meeting here this afternoon and then in Guwahati also. We will take it from there,'' he said.

Sehwag, who came to the city today, arrived for the nets 90 minutes after the morning session started and did some batting.

There is already a raging controversy about Virender Sehwag's inclusion into the side at the cost of Rahul Dravid. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Kaarthik who had shown sublime form during the Challengers have also been kept in the wings and Sehwag selected though he looked erratic. Former cricketers have stoked the fire further by expressing both shock and dismay at the selection procedure.

Talking about the Australia series, Rajput said, ''Against Australia we played really well in the last two matches in Mumbai.

The way we recovered and won the last one-dayer gave us a lot of momentum. We just need to carry that mometum forward.'' But he added in the same breath that the Indo-Pakistan series was much bigger than anything else. He in fact voiced Jeff Lawson's comment that it was 'bigger than the Ashes'.

''Matches between the two sides are always very tight and close.

All the matches are crunch games and it's a crucial series for both the sides. Whoever keeps their nerve on the given day will win,'' he said.

About the role of seniors, the Indian team manager said, ''Sachin and Sourav together bring in a lot of experience. The junior boys are always picking up something new every now and then from them on and off the field.''

On India's new-found aggression, Rajput quipped, ''There is a very thin line between aggression and over aggression. We have to maintain that balance.'' On whether Pakistan are going to miss Mohammad Asif and Inzamam-ul-Haq, he said, ''No doubt they are great players. But all the rest are also up there at the top.

Everything will depend on that particular day. They have match winners in their side and on their day they can beat anybody.'' ''And if you are saying they are minus Mohammad Asif, I will look into it as that they are plus Shoaib Akhtar. So do we need to counterbalance,'' he said.

Lalchand Rajput was happy with the efforts put in by the ground staff and officials of the CAB to make Eden ready for India team's practice.

''Considering all the rains that lashed Kolkata, the people involved did a great job. We had a decent outing and I am happy with the progress we have made. Our fielding sessions were really helpful and I am sure all the boys had a good knockout.''


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