Giving youngsters a chance: Sehwag
Perth, Feb 7: Opener Virender Sehwag confirmed that all the India players were fit and ready to play ahead of the second ODI, against Sri Lanka, at Perth. The opener said that the Indian team were keen to give the youngsters a chance keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand. Accordingly, the seniors would be played in rotation. In the pre-match press-conference Sehwag also said that the team was praying for Yuvraj Singh’s speedy recovery and hoped that he would be back in the reckoning soon.
Excerpts from the media interaction:
On the strategy for the second ODI at Perth
The team strategy I cannot [disclose] but we are doing well and practicing hard. We had a very good net session and we are confident that we will come out and play good cricket. […]
On whether he would play the second ODI
They will decide tomorrow because we are giving breaks to the top three batsmen; I think tomorrow will be somebody else’s turn. Either Gautam [Gambhir] or [Sachin] Tendulkar will take a break and then maybe I can play.
On playing the ODIs after a string of losses and only one win
One-day [cricket] is a totally different ball game. Any team can beat anybody else on their day; especially in this triangular, all three teams are good so if you play well on that day, you can beat any side. We have done that a couple of times. The last time that we came here we won the series and hopefully we will do well tomorrow also. We are pretty confident.
On whether there was an issue with the balance of the side
We want to give a chance to our youngsters because the next World Cup is [to be played] here. We want to make sure that all the youngsters can play here [and] get used [to the conditions] for when they come to play in the next World Cup. It is good thinking.
On the bowling combination
We were clear from Day 1 that we were going to play two spinners if the wicket was dry. [Ravindra] Jadeja is an all-rounder who can bowl and bat, so I think we are pretty good at the moment.
On the conditions
Tomorrow we can see the wicket. The captain will see the wicket and take the decision. Perth is different so maybe we can play three or four fast bowlers here.
On the side’s fielding
We are working hard on fielding [so it] depends on the day. You take great catches, [but] sometimes you can drop easy ones. We are working hard on that. The youngsters are very energetic and good at stopping good balls, especially on the ground. Hopefully [we] will field well tomorrow.
On the bowling combination
It is the captain, coach and team management’s strategy. We [sometimes] play with two spinners, especially in [grounds like] Melbourne where there is a big boundary. The wicket was dry and the ball was maybe stopping and coming on to the bat. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. […]. We have played two spinners in India too. [Ravichandran] Ashwin and Harbhajan [Singh] played in the quarterfinal against Australia [in the World Cup].
On Yuvraj Singh
[…] Yuvraj I heard is taking chemotherapy but I am hoping that he will be fine and he will come back soon. We all pray that Yuvraj will be fit soon and come out of whatever he is suffering from and play as soon as possible.
On whether it was good to take a break
Sometimes it is good. You are playing continuously; four Test matches and [two] T20Is and then you play one-day [matches]. If you get a break then the body [rids itself of] fatigue and the mental break is also good for the players. That’s why we decided that the top players can be given a break. Tendulkar, Gambhir and Sehwag can be rotated and the youngsters can play because they have just arrived.
On whether everyone, including Zaheer Khan, was match-fit
Yes, everyone is available. Zaheer has bowled in the nets. He is available.
On his batting
In the Adelaide Test match I scored 60 in 50 balls, so that was not defensive. It was attacking. […] I tried to play a little differently in Perth because the ball was doing something. It didn’t work so I [have decided] to go back to my old style. Hopefully I will play well in the one-dayers because in [this format] you have only fifty overs […]. My role is to just go there and give [the team] a good start.
On whether he plans to bat a little differently
Not really. Just give a little respect to the new ball [and] then when it gets old, go after the bowling. It depends on who is bowling. If somebody is bowling well you have to give respect to him.
On the future of one-day cricket
I have always been a fan of Test cricket and one-day cricket because these two formats will stay longer [than the shortest format]. Twenty20 is growing fast […] In Twenty20 anyone can go and smash the ball but in one-day and Test cricket, it is difficult to smash the ball throughout […]. The fifty-over game is more challenging and Test cricket even more. […]
On the youngsters in the Sri Lankan side picked after the World Cup
I haven’t seen them. […] It’s good […] we can put more pressure on youngsters. When our youngsters are playing they are under pressure when they go to bat […]
On how sees the new players in the side keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup (fast bowlers v spinners)
We have young fast bowlers Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar and Varun Aaron. They are still young and they can play the next World Cup. Rahul Sharma and Ashwin [are] also 23-, 24-year-olds; even [Ravindra] Jadeja. We have good youngsters.
On the youngsters’ preparation
They have to play more one-dayers […] Our aim is to give more chances to the youngsters so when the World Cup [arrives], they [will have] played at least 75-100 ODIs and will be ready […]