Colombo: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has defended Virender Sehwag's omission in India's first Super Eight match against Australia on Friday, saying the team needs 'horses for courses' in tournaments like the ICC World Twenty20. Australia eventually thrashed India by nine wickets, which raised questions over Sehwag's omission.
"Regarding why Sehwag [was left out], we had only two options [in terms of players]; I don't like to take individual names. I think in such tournaments, we should go horses for courses," Dhoni said. "To exactly justify why a particular player was dropped is difficult," the skipper added.
Dhoni's India and Chennai Super Kings team-mate Suresh Raina, however, said Sehwag's presence is important if India need to progress to the semi-finals. "For me, I think Virender Sehwag can be very dangerous. I hope he'll play the next two games. I think it won't be easy to play the next two games without him," Raina said in an interview to the BBC.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen said Australia must have been happy to see Sehwag not in the XI, indicating India made a mistake by leaving their regular opener on the bench for the second match in a row. "I feel sorry for Viru," Pietersen said. "I know Australia would rather face an Indian side without Sehwag in it," he added.
India, who opted to bat first and opened with Irfan Pathan, scored a paltry 140, which was overhauled by the Aussies in 14.5 overs for the loss of just one wicket. Shane Watson and his opening partner David Warner led the way with a century stand. Both scored blistering half-centuries, before Watson was dismissed by Yuvraj.