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ICC World Twenty20: Tendulkar, Ganguly want Rahane to replace Yuvraj for semi-final

India Today logo India Today 31-03-2016

Even as reports of differences in opinion emerged between Team India director Ravi Shastri and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni over who should replace the injured Yuvraj Singh for the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final against West Indies tomorrow, the legendary duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly tried to settle the debate with some straight talking.

According to sources, Shastri wanted the solid Ajinkya Rahane to come in place of Yuvraj while Dhoni has been gunning for bowling all-rounder Pawan Negi. Dhoni has in the past spoken up on why he does not see Rahane in the scheme of things in limited-overs cricket.

India also have the option of picking Manish Pandey, who was called up as a replacement for Yuvraj in the squad after the stylish southpaw was ruled out following the injury he sustained in the emotionally charged game against Australia in Mohali on Sunday.

Tendulkar said India should go ahead with Rahane for the semi-final tomorrow because he knows the conditions there really well.

"I think Rahane should replace Yuvraj. It is his home ground and he has scored lots of runs here. He knows what to expect here and that's an advantage for us," Tendulkar told Aaj Tak in an exclusive interview.

Dhoni maybe keen on Negi because he offers what Yuvraj did - more options with the ball. However, Tendulkar said Yuvraj might not have made a big impact with the ball on a flat Wankhede pitch.

"This pitch will help seamers. The ball will come on to the bat nicely. There is no question about his class as a batsman but I don't think Yuvraj would have played a role with the ball," Tendulkar said.

Ganguly, agreed with his former opening partner and hoped Dhoni would go in with Rahane.

"It's (Yuvraj injury) a huge blow for India. India will miss his bowling. There is a difference in opinion between Negi and Rahane. It also depends on the pitch tomorrow," Ganguly told India Today.

"I don't think Negi should play in place of Yuvraj. It will make the batting weak. Rahane has the experience and the ability to play well in the big matches. Make him bat at No. 4. He may not be a hard-hitting T20 player but he will do the job. If Dhoni feels the pitch will turn, he should drop Hardik Pandya and play Negi."

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, who has been backing Rahane, said the Mumbai batsman should get a game tomorrow and urged Dhoni to bat up the order because he has been the best batsman on show for India after Virat Kohli.

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