Former India opener Virender Sehwag believes India should aim to replicate their Cricket World Cup success from 2011 and win the upcoming tournament for Virat Kohli.
India were crowned champions in 2011 on home turf, winning the final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Ahead of the tournament in 2011, it was widely believed that it
would be legendary batter Sachin Tendulkar’s final World Cup, with the team giving it all to lift the coveted trophy for the maestro in his sixth attempt.
Virat Kohli was a part of the squad in 2011 and lifted Sachin over his shoulders while the team embarked on a victory lap at the Wankhede Stadium after the win. Kohli has also successfully
taken over the mantle of leading India’s batting unit after Sachin’s retirement but is yet to taste
glory after 2011, with India tasting defeat on the semi-final stage in 2015 and 2019.
With the tournament returning to India, Sehwag believes the Indian team should give it their all
to win the World Cup for Kohli like the 2011 squad did for Sachin, the ICC reported.
Speaking at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 schedule launch event, Sehwag said, “We
played that World Cup for Tendulkar. If we won the World Cup, it would have been a great exit for Sachin paaji. Virat Kohli is the same now. Everybody will look to win the World Cup for him. He always gives more than 100 percent.”
“I think Virat Kohli is also looking to this World Cup. 100,000 people will watch you at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Virat knows how the pitches will behave. I am sure he will score a lot
of runs and he will do his best to win the World Cup for India,” he said.
One of the most anticipated fixtures of the tournament will be the clash between India and Pakistan on 15 October at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Sehwag pinpointed the game as the one he is most excited about in the tournament.
“Everybody wants to look forward to that India-Pakistan game. So even I am,” he stated.
When quipped about predicting the winner of the clash, Sehwag added, “I’m not sure what will happen that day, but the team that handles pressure well will win.”
Further elaborating on the pressure faced by the players during the fixture and why India holds the edge, Sehwag said, “I feel that now India handles the pressure that is why they win whereas Pakistan have a burden that they haven’t won against India. In the 1990s, they were good at dealing with pressure but after 2000, India soak it better. If any player says that they don’t feel pressure, I don’t think it’s right. We used to say it too but at the end of the day, we know it’s an India vs Pakistan game and emotions run high.”
Sehwag also believes India and Pakistan will be among the four teams to qualify for the sem-finals, alongside defending champions England and Australia. Making his semis predictions, Sehwag added, “If I have to pick four teams – Australia, England, India and Pakistan. These are the semi-finalists.”