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Sehwag fits in at No. 5

There have been complaints about the length of this World Cup. While it can be said that it has been a long and laborious process to the final, no one should complain about the two teams that have finally made that journey.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2003 00:07 IST

There have been a few complaints about the length of this World Cup. While it can be said that it has been a fairly long and laborious process to the final, no one should complain about the two teams that have finally made that journey.

Australia and India have played by far the better cricket and hopefully will be at their very best on Sunday to give this tournament a befitting finale. This will be their second meeting as they met earlier on Feb 15 at Centurion Park, not very far from the Wanderers Cricket Ground, the venue for this most important clash.

Throughout this tournament, Australia's game plan has been fairly constant in the field -- unleash the pace ace Brett Lee with support from the immaculate Glenn McGrath and the previously unheralded Andy Bichel at the top order batsmen, and force them into submission.

So far it has worked and the Aussies haven't had too testing a time when batting second. When they have batted first and haven't posted a large score on the board, the same plan has been successful in defending the small total.

India's bowling has been performing wonderfully well so far. There should be no need to tinker with that aspect of their game, but they would do well to have a look at their batting. There should be no need to change the actual personnel in the team but they could have a look at the order at which they walk to the crease.

For one, the top of the order should be changed. Sehwag has not had anywhere near the success that they were hoping for. He hasn't suddenly gone off the boil. But playing against the best opening bowlers in the world with this brand new white ball that -- irrespective of what the manufacturers may say -- does a bit more than the red ball on these hard bouncy South African pitches, has not allowed Sehwag to be at his best.

Everyone knows his technique is not that of an opener and he will not be as successful outside of India. It's time for a change.

Sachin Tendulkar should remain at the top of the order where he is happiest. He can totally demoralise any bowling attack. but he should be joined by someone able to blunt the opening attack and see off the new ball. That could be Dinesh Mongia, who has opened in the past or Rahul Dravid whose technique cannot be faulted.

That would leave Sehwag to come in probably at number 5, depending on how the team progresses, to run riot when the ball is not as hard and certainly doing less off the seam. (TCM)

First Published: Mar 23, 2003 00:07 IST