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September 23, 2007
Virender Sehwag, nursing a groin injury, will have to clear a fitness test tomorrow before he can play in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 against Pakistan. Sehwag sustained the injury while batting in the semi-final against Australia, after which he had to use a runner.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's captain, said the injury had cast a cloud of doubt over the opener's prospect of playing in the final but was confident that the he would clear the fitness test. "Hopefully he should be fine. His fitness will be assessed on the morning of the match," Dhoni said.
Yuvraj Singh, who came back from a bout of tendonitis in the left arm to steer India to the final of the tournament with a 30-ball 70 against Australia, admitted that he could still feel the pain. "It's still bit sore but as long as we are winning, it's fine with me."
About Yuvraj Singh's magical form, Dhoni said: "Yuvi is in real good form. His determination, the will to do well stand out. He is the main batsman in the side and has the experience and the responsibility to carry the team. And he has done that really well."
Dhoni also said any match against Pakistan was always special where past performance counts for little. "India versus Pakistan is always special. And this is a World Cup final, so this ought to be special too. As far as history is concerned, it has got nothing to do with cricket. There's always a first time. So if we start believing that just because we have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup we are going to sail through, that is not going to happen.
"We have to go out and play well. We know it's another do-or-die game and we've got to give our best. We've got to keep it simple and do the basics right. It will be a tough game so we can't take too much pressure. Thinking about it as a big stage, and a World Cup final or else it will affect our performance."
However, Dhoni said that no one needed to cross the line and Sreesanth was a shining example of what exactly one should not be doing in the heat of the moment. "As a skipper I have to take responsibility for Sreesanth," said Dhoni about Sreesanth, who was fined for excessive appealing during the semi-final. "He has to understand that it's international cricket and you've got to play by the rules. He's a good cricketer and he's got the skills to perform well at the highest level. Getting banned for four of five games won't help him or the team. So either he learns it the soft way or the hard way; it is up to him. But he will learn."
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?