One of the most explosive batsmen the game has produced, Virender Sehwag believes that this is the best chance for India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to lift his third global title after clinching the 2007 World Twenty20 and 2011 World Cup crowns.
Asked if this is Dhoni’s best chance of winning his third World title, the former India opener said, “Of course. With the composition and combination we have and keeping in mind the way we are playing right now, India are the favourites for World Twenty20. We have a good chance of winning the tournament.”
The World Twenty20 will be played across seven Indian cities from March 15 to April 3 with Eden Gardens in Kolkata scheduled to host the final.
“It also depends on how we play on match-days; where we play, what kind of wickets we get; these things will matter a lot. India playing at home definitely makes them favourites. If we perform well in all three departments, no one can stop India from winning the World T20,” said the 37-year-old, Virender Sehwag.
The Delhi born and bred explained that the overall combination of the team makes India the “best in the world”, but obviously predicting is one thing and delivering it another.
“Our team is playing very well. Each department is performing whether it is batting, bowling or fielding in comparison to other teams. Our pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra and Hardik Pandya are doing well. So are our spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja,” said Sehwag, who is the only Indian to score two triple centuries in Test cricket.
“Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina can also bowl spin. Plus, we also bat deep. After Dhoni, Ashwin and Pandya can also bat. Hence, overall the combination is the best in the world. But then anyone can predict. India have to play well to make our predictions come true.”
Sehwag, who has played 104 Tests and 251 One-Day Internationals (ODI), further said that Rohit Sharma and statemate Shikhar Dhawan have developed into a solid opening pair, hoping that they will come good in the world event which starts next month.
“For the last few years, Rohit and Shikhar have been opening in limited overs cricket for India and they have developed into a good pair. I hope they perform well in World T20 and give good starts,” Virender Sehwag opined.
“If an opener bats for 6-8 overs, he can give such a start that when the middle-order comes out, they can start going for the shots right from the first ball. With a good start, a team can always give their opposition a challenging target of 180-190. In the end, what matters is what kind of a start an opener gives you.”
Sehwag, who scored 38 international hundreds in a career ranging from 1999 to 2013, also expressed happiness for old friend Ashish Nehra, who recently made a comeback to the Indian team at the ripe age of 36.
“He has been called back because of his very good show in the Indian Premier League (IPL). It has taken a lot of time… almost a year. This is a good sign which shows that whosoever performs, irrespective of the age, that person has a chance to play for India,” said Sehwag.
“I wish that he performs well in World T20 and helps India win the event like he did in 2011. He is a very good bowler. He is regularly getting wickets for India in the first couple of overs.”