Sehwag can dent Pakistan more than anyone else

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 30, 2012 05:15 hrs

​So are India brilliant or horrid? Is the problem one of plenty or of scarcity? Are seven batsmen too many or too few? So many questions and the most crucial one of them all: why can't we, armed as we are with hindsight, be selector, captain and coach? Oh, those poor pathetic souls who are not allowed to know the result before deciding what to do!

India's matches against England and against Australia have only confirmed what we already knew about Indian cricket and about ourselves. The truth, and it has been that way since I started covering cricket, is that India are never as good as they seem after a win and are hardly ever as bad as they do after a defeat.

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Look at Piyush Chawla and Harbhajan Singh; hurtling along from a sensational return to a performance undeserving of a place in the space of three overs! Surely the truth has got to be somewhere in between.

India were never favourites to win this tournament and that hasn't changed; either after England or after Australia. And the major reason is the bowling. Much to my joy, we are increasingly discovering that T20 can be a bowler's game too. Lost amidst the Warner-Watson carnage was the fact that Australia bowled brilliantly to keep India down to a score that would not allow them to come back into the game after that start.

India now take on one of the pre-tournament favourites who, given our common ancestry, are just as unpredictable; if anything even more so. But Pakistan bowl better and have batsmen with relatively smaller reputations to defend. Their biggest strength is that they play fearlessly; a quality that will be tested when they play India.

That is where India's opportunity will lie. That is why Sehwag will play in this game for he, more than anyone else, can dent that fearlessness. And so, Irfan Pathan won't open the batting, which is already a good outcome!

Of the two contests within the match, India's batting vs. Pakistan's bowling will be the more riveting for there is extraordinary skill on display there. But if that is a draw the lesser of the two contests, Pakistan's batting vs. India's bowling could well determine who wins.

I think Pakistan have the edge because they are the better all-round side but India won't be as bad as they were against Australia; wet ball or dry.

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