India will be facing South Africa in the first ODI on 1st February. Virender Sehwag things that presence of MS Dhoni will help Virat Kohli leading the Indian side.
As per Sehwag, the win in Johannesburg has helped the team in lifting morale. "The win in the last Test match at Johannesburg has definitely lifted the morale of the team,” Sehwag told India TV during the show ‘Cricket Ki Baat’ on Wednesday
“After losing the first two Tests, people were thinking that India might lose it 3-0 but Virat Kohli and his team made a brilliant comeback. The bowlers made a big contribution to the win. There are only a handful of instances where the bowlers have successfully defended a small total. You need to give credit to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami,” Shewag added.
Talking about Dhoni's presence, Sehwag said, “In ODI cricket, Kohli also have MS Dhoni, who is always there to point out his flaws unlike in Test cricket. You will see Dhoni giving suggestions to Kohli, you will see him set the field... this is definitely a benefit."
Earlier, the 39-year-old had opined that Kohli needs some players who can point out flaws in his on-field decisions. "I think, Virat Kohli needs some players who can point out his mistakes on the field. Every team has four-five players, who advise the skipper and help him avoid mistakes on-field. I don't see that in the current Indian squad, " he said.
AB de Villiers is ruled out of the first three matches because of finger injury. According to Sehwag, De Villiers’ absence will result in India’s favour. “This is great news from the Indian perspective that AB de Villiers will not play the first three ODIs because he is one such player who can change the course of the game anytime. India have a good chance to capitalise on this and win at least two of the first three matches.”
“Durban has always been a challenging wicket for India. The onus will be on openers - Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. They need to give a good start to the team and set a platform for the middle order,” Sehwag added.
Suggesting a playing eleven for the Durban ODI, Sehwag said middle-order batsman Manish Pandey should get more changes ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup.
“My playing XI will be Rohit, Shikhar, Kohli, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami, Bumrah and Chahal. It will be better if you give more chances to Pandey before the 2019 World Cup. Manish Pandey is a good player and should be given more chances,” he said.
Sehwag thinks a positive start to the series is key. “It is very important to win the first match because it gives you the right momentum for the rest of the series. If you lose the first match, you are under pressure. If India play like they did in Johannesburg, they might create history,” he concluded.