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Success against SL to win WC berth for Viru

Sehwag is a certainty for the Lanka ODI series as the selectors are keen to assess his form before the WC squad is announced.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2007 13:17 IST

Virender Sehwag is almost certain to be included in the Indian team for the first two matches of the one-day series against Sri Lanka with the national selectors keen to assess his form before the World Cup squad is announced.

The swashbuckling opener was dropped from the squad for the series against the West Indies after a prolonged form slump but the selectors want to give him one more opportunity to regain his batting touch.

The 15-member World Cup squad has to be submitted to the International Cricket Council by February 13, which means the selectors have just two matches against Sri Lanka to assess the form of the players before finalising the squad in Mumbai on February 12.

"Sehwag is almost certain to be in the team for the series against Sri Lanka. If he performs well he will be a certainty in the World Cup squad," one of the selectors told PTI on condition of anonymity.

"Everybody knows that Sehwag is a match winner. It is his form which has been a worrying factor. If that is sorted out, there should be no problem," he said.

The selectors are willing to try out all the options possible before finalising the composition for the March-April mega event. The team for the series against Sri Lanka will be announced on Saturday.

"We are also looking at the option of making Sehwag play in the middle order. If he is selected it would be up to the team management to decide his batting order," the selector added.

The 28-year-old Sehwag, regarded as one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, was asked by Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar to "sort out his batting problems" in the nets while being rested for the West Indies series.

The decision to include Sehwag in the team would mean that one of the middle order batsmen -- Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Kaarthick -- would have to be rested.

The series against Sri Lanka would begin at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on February 8 while Rajkot (Feb 11), Goa (Feb 14) and Visakhapatnam (Feb 17) will stage the three other matches.

While most of the berths in the World Cup squad have been more or less decided, there are still a couple of slots which need to be finalised.

He also said that Irfan Pathan would be given more opportunities to regain his form as the selectors feel that he would be a "key member" of the team.

The selector also said that spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were certainties, considering the slow tracks in the Caribbean.

V B Chandrasekhar, a member of the previous selection committee, said to pick Sehwag for the World Cup would "require a lot of guts".

First Published: Feb 01, 2007 16:40 IST