Believe in Gambhir and Sehwag

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 24, 2012 11:57 hrs

Wasim Akram feels India may not have a Plan B to replace the Delhi duo for the upcoming series against England, feels former Pakistan speedster.

We have come to the business end of the Karbonn Champions League T20 and Delhi Daredevils deserve to be in the last-four of the championship. As a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders team, I feel bad for not making the semi-finals, but generally, Indian teams could not perform as per their reputation.

Starting mid-November, India will have a long international calendar at home. They will play quality teams like England and Australia and hopefully, Pakistan will tour in the winter. I think this will give ample opportunity for men like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir to regain their form. Both showed glimpses of their touch in their last Champions League games and it's senseless to question their ability as international batsmen.

I don't think India will experiment much with their opening pair of Gambhir and Sehwag. On Indian wickets, they will exploit the home conditions well. Plus, I doubt India have a Plan B to replace them. With Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retiring, the middle order will be bereft of experience and under the circumstances, dislodging a time-tested combination at the top may not be very prudent.

The Champions League in South Africa has not been very kind to the Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings. Several key players came straight after the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and didn't get adequate time to adjust to the conditions. But that's hardly an excuse. The fact that there are two South African teams - Lions and Titans - in the semi-finals, the home condition factor surely does matter.

While the South Africans, with plenty of home-bred talent, will fancy their chance to win the tournament this time, Delhi will be a strong contender. Delhi have improved with every game and the fact that their top six batsmen are technically accomplished and truly international class will give them a lot of confidence.

Although this is T20 cricket, I still believe a batsman must be equipped to play on all conditions to excel. On this front, Delhi are blessed with men like David Warner, Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene and Ross Taylor. Plus, Sehwag looked good against Perth Scorchers. His 44-ball 52 will give him a lot of self-reliance. And, this is time for Sehwag to prove his critics wrong.

As for KKR, we have always been slow starters. We have almost often taken time to gel as a team and our results prove that. I am sure we will retain the core of our team for the IPL next year.

I wish all my readers a Happy Dusshera! Be safe and enjoy all the cricket coming up this week.

(Former Pakistan Test skipper Wasim Akram is an ESPN-STAR Sports expert analyst)

More from Sify: