India in Pakistan 2003-04 March 28, 2004

Contrasting styles

Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag may not get as much credit as some of their more accomplished team-mates, but the role they play at the top of the order is a vital one. They have been the foundation stone on which India's recent Test successes have been built. John Wright, the coach, knows how important they are. "Aakash and Veeru have a critical job in this series. Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami are quality bowlers and they [the Indian openers] will need to see them through, get the ball old. In fact, a lot of what Rahul [Dravid] Laxman and Sachin achieved in Australia was thanks to these two," said Wright just before the start of the first Test. Chopra and Sehwag had their own different opinions.

Virender Sehwag

On playing in Australia
Playing in Australia was a very different situation. This is completely new, a different set of bowlers, new conditions even if they are somewhat like we have at home. And it will be double the amount of pressure playing Pakistan here.

On the confidence the team has got from the one-day series win
First of all, we are very happy at the way things have gone so far. We fought well in every match of the one-day series and that has given us confidence for the Test matches. What we will have to deal with now is a new set of conditions because the bowlers have fewer restrictions, we can expect the red ball to reverse-swing more and the Pakistanis are good at that. Basically, what we will do is concentrate on our game plan, our approach, and not worry too much about theirs.

Aakash Chopra

On playing in Australia
Australia was very good for both of us but we will have to start all over again here. The attack there was very different, the pitches, the fielding ... all were of a very high standard.

On opening with Sehwag
Though we have very contrasting styles, we complement each other well. Also we have known each other for a very long time and that has helped in our communication on the field. That is one reason our running between the wickets is so good. There is good understanding between us and we keep talking between balls or overs and that helps keep off the pressure. Also, with the way Veeru bats, I can concentrate on my job and that is to try and keep my wicket. Our opposing styles has an impact on the bowlers too, Veeru can smash them even in a Test match and that knocks them off line and length. It's almost like bowling to a left-right combination.

On making starts but not getting to three figures
It's funny because each time I have played myself in, I have got out to a good ball, rarely to a bad shot. But I'm not too worried. I have a job to do which I am doing and by continuing to do that, the big ones will come.