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Sehwag fit to play against England

cricket Updated: Feb 26, 2011 17:28 IST
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Opener Virender Sehwag will play against England on Sunday despite suffering a bruised rib in the lead up to the Group B match.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said only pace bowler Ashish Nehra was not fully fit.

"Ashish Nehra will bowl with 80 pct intensity in the nets today. Apart from that everyone is available for selection," Dhoni told reporters on Saturday.

Sehwag turned up for practice on Saturday, a day after suffering an injury scare when he was struck on the left side of his ribs in the nets and collapsed to the ground requiring medical attention.

The 32-year-old opener hit a magnificent 175 in India's opening victory over Bangladesh in Dhaka but played a major part of his innings with a runner due to an old knee injury.

Despite fitness concerns, Sehwag has recently stated that he aims to carry his bat right through the innings and while Dhoni did not discourage that, he emphasised that the lightning pace at which Sehwag scores was his hallmark.

"His most important role is that of an aggressor (and) to give us a good start, give us the momentum on which the middle order can capitalise," Dhoni said, ahead of an afternoon practice session.

"At times when we needed him to bat more than 30 overs, he has done that for the side. But if he bats 50 overs I don't really have a problem with that."

Sehwag opted not exert himself too much on Saturday and fine-tuned his batting strokes for about 10 minutes before heading for a rest.

While Sachin Tendulkar picks himself to partner Sehwag, the battle for the middle order has been fierce as the in-form Virat Kohli and the explosive Yuvraj Singh fend off competition for their place in the side from Suresh Raina.

Dhoni said that while Kohli has been in tremendous form as of late and was suited to batting up the order, Yuvraj's abilities as a left-arm spin bowler gave him the extra edge over the others.

"What we need to see is that once all these three batsmen -- Virat, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, who has also been in good form -- start scoring then it's a fight for the slot that they need to bat on.

"So it will be more of a battle of slot rather than just the individuals."