Virender Sehwag has claimed that Mahendra Singh Dhoni should be a part of India's 2019 World Cup squad since the Men in Blue are yet to find a proper replacement for him. Sehwag also added that he would want to see a seasoned player like Yuvraj Singh or Suresh Raina in the World Cup squad as well.
The jury is in a dilemma regarding MS Dhoni’s presence in the 2019 World Cup squad but Virender Sehwag insisted that the Indian team hasn’t found the apt replacement of the former skipper yet which makes his place in the team unquestionable.
"I don't think anyone can replace Dhoni at this point of time. Rishabh Pant is good but he would also need time to replace him. But that can only happen after 2019. It's then when we should think about Dhoni's replacement. Till then let Pant gain experience," said Sehwag to PTI.
Virender Sehwag is currently a part of Star Sports panel for the upcoming limited overs series against Australia.
"We should not worry about whether Dhoni is scoring runs or not. We should only pray that MS Dhoni is fit till 2019 World Cup. The experience that he has in the middle and the lower middle order, no one has that," he added.
Sehwag, who was a part of the successful 2011 World Cup squad that was captained by Dhoni, came up with an interesting 'cycle of life' analogy for his former captain's career.
"Like life, the beauty of sports is that no two periods are identical. You will have to deal with it. There are days when you make runs and there will be a dry spell. Like in business, every year you don't make profits," he said.
Recently, MK Prasad asserted that Dhoni was not an automatic pick in the team anymore while others suggested that KL Rahul could take up the role behind the stumps as his namesake Dravid had more than a decade ago. However, Sehwag was quick to dismiss the idea stating that not having a "natural keeper" was detrimental to the team's cause.
"I would never want a guy, who is not a natural 'keeper. It's not keeping 20 overs in Indian Premier League. During a 50-over match, one missed stumping or missed catch can change the course of the match. It's not a risk worth taking," said Sehwag.
Moreover, the Nawab of Najafgarh wants to give more chances to middle-order batsmen so that everyone has an experience of nearly 100 matches by the time World Cup begins. Sehwag added that the core team should be fixed no less than a year before the World Cup.
"The middle-order that would play in the World Cup along with the bowlers should be given enough opportunities, so by the time of World Cup, they should have played close to 100 ODIs each. They should be ready to handle each and every challenging situation thrown at them," Sehwag said.
"Experience always enables you to handle pressure better. They can then win you matches in crunch situations. If they are not given that many chances, they could be the weak link. Next 3-6 months, I hope that the core is set," he added.
Even though the Indian team a core that played in the previous edition of the World Cup in Australia, Sehwag was adamant that the selection of a veteran in the team could do wonders in England. While Yuvraj Singh was in the squad for the Champions Trophy earlier this year, Sehwag threw in the game of former teammate Suresh Raina into the mix as well.
"Let one of the middle-order slots be given to one of them while the other slot may be rotated between Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey. In that way, you also have given these guys experience while one seasoned player is also there in the set-up," he stated.
When asked about Ravichandran Ashwin’s rest and his decision to play for Worcestershire in County cricket, Sehwag affirmed that he should have been rested after the three Tests against Sri Lanka when he bowled close to 200 overs.
"I thought that he was being given a break as he has bowled a lot in the Test series. Ideally, he should have been given rest but then it's a decision that Ashwin and team management needed to take. I don't know what's in their minds. May be they are focussing on winning the Test series in England next year and if that's the case, then so be it," he said.
Talking on the subject of the upcoming limited overs series against Australia, Sehwag assumed that it is going to be a hard-hitting series taking into consideration the quality of the opposition.
"Australia always gives a tough fight and that's why every player wants to perform against Australia. When you perform against Australia, England, and South Africa, you automatically earn more respect. I expect players to be charged up," said Sehwag signing off.