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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We want to win WC for Gary, for Tendulkar, for Team India, for the one billion people of India.: Virender Sehwag


If you think Virender Sehwag’s batting is only about fours and sixes, then think again! The India opener tells DNA that he does a lot of planning before going out to the middle. Excerpts…

Has the preparation for the World Cup been the way you wanted? Yes.

So what was the preparation like? I’m practising hard. I’m going through my fitness routine. I’m looking forward to the World Cup. I’m ready for it. It is happening in India and I’m very excited about it.

Has there been any World Cup-specific preparation? Nothing specific or different. I have prepared the way I would prepare for any bilateral ODI series. I’m working hard on my fitness. I’m ready for the World Cup.

How has the team shaped up? Very well. We know the expectations are very high. We’re confident of doing well. We’re having our camp from February 9 (today). We’ll have to work hard at the camp, discuss a lot of things. The plan is to win each and every game. But the key is to execute the plan.

What kind of planning do you do? We plan for each team’s strengths and weaknesses —how to exploit their weaknesses and counter their strengths. If a side has a good batting line-up, we will plan for their batsmen and there would be plans for a good bowling attack as well. Sometimes, the plan clicks, sometimes it doesn’t. The planning has been very vigorous and robust for the last couple of years. If the results have been very good in the last few years, it is because of our planning and perfect execution.

Any particular area you think India should improve upon? Not really. We’ve done well in all areas, but fielding is one area we can improve. We need to create run-out chances like we did to get Ricky Ponting out in the Nagpur Test last year. That dismissal changed the course of the game. We can do it well enough, I think.

Was the preparation different before the 2007 World Cup? It was the same. We played two good ODI series — against Sri Lanka and the West Indies — before the last World Cup. We played well, but did not fare well in the World Cup. This time, it could be different because we’ll be playing in familiar conditions. I never thought that we would be knocked out so early in 2007. We were hoping to make the semifinals, at least.

How do you rate India’s chances this time around? We’ve very good side with perfect balance. We’re capable of beating any side in the world. I must tell you that we have to play well on that particular day. In ODIs, success is not guaranteed. We’ve to click in all departments.

Which are the other sides that can challenge India? It is difficult to say because any side can be beaten in ODIs.

Have India decided to go into the World Cup with a spin-centric attack? It is something we will decide when we meet in Bangalore. It is difficult to say that at this stage, but we have quality spinners. We have variety in the spin department.

Every international team seems to have a plan for you. What do you do to outthink them? It doesn’t worry me. They are doing their job and I’m doing mine. My focus will be to score runs. I’ve heard many teams saying they have a plan to stop me. I think I have largely succeeded in spoiling those plans. Patience is the key, I guess. Some teams try to bowl on my body or on the leg-stump. I’m not exactly worried. And it is not that I just go out there and bat. I, too, do my planning. I know what to expect from different sides. There are no easy fours out there. International cricket is quite challenging. Even Kenya and Zimbabwe can surprise you. After all, a batsman needs one ball to get out. It’s a challenge and I’m prepared for every challenge.

Do you get flattered when legends praise you. Recently, Imran Khan toldDNA that you are the most destructive batsman in the world. It’s a great compliment from Imran Khan. I feel honoured when I hear such things.

Every Indian player says he wants to win it for Sachin Tendulkar as it could be his last World Cup. Who knows? He is so fit and plays so well. I can’t say it would be Sachin’s last World Cup. We want to win the World Cup for Team India.

This could be coach Gary Kirsten’s last assignment. Is that a motivating factor too? The World Cup is a motivation in itself. But yes, we are all emotional people and we are attached to Gary, who did a wonderful job. Yes, we want to do it for him, for Tendulkar, for Team India, for the one billion people of India.

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