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Sehwag’s absence a chance for Gen-X

India were absolutely clinical in their victory over Ireland. One noticeable absentee though against the West Indies will be Virender Sehwag. Matthew Hayden writes.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2009 01:19 IST

The action is starting to hot up, and as the competition moves to the SuperEights stage, we are bound to witness some breathtaking cricket.

India were absolutely clinical in their victory over Ireland. One noticeable absentee though against the West Indies will be Virender Sehwag. I’m a huge Sehwag fan, and his batting will certainly be missed. However, this is a huge opportunity for the next generation like Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, and Yusuf Pathan to be counted.

Rohit is doing a brilliant job as the stand-in opener. Zaheer Khan seems to have hit the right straps with his performance against Ireland. He has always been a difficult proposition in England, and his performance will be crucial.

There seems to be some concern about Irfan Pathan, and on how he seems to have lost that extra bit of pace that he could generate. I feel that he is a fine bowler, and people tend to forget that he contributes as a batsman and fine fielder.

The West Indies have a solid batting line-up with players like Gayle and Andre Fletcher, and the experience of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The captain always leads from the front, and Gayle’s positive sentiments on T20 cricket will rub off on his team-mates, which will make the unit stronger.

The other SuperEight teams — Pakistan showed what an unpredictable side they are, with the decimation of the Dutch.

But I back my money on Sri Lanka, as they seem to be a better balanced side with hard hitting batsman and quality spinners, and may prove tough to beat for Pakistan. Muthiah Muralitharan still manages to baffle batsman even in this day and age, and Sri Lanka will look to him and Ajantha Mendis to keep the Pakistan batsman quiet.