New Delhi: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar has praised Sachin Tendulkar for hanging on to anchor the Indian innings to a challenging total though he might not have played one of his best innings in the high-voltage World Cup semifinal clash against Pakistan at Mohali.
Tendulkar got six reprieves in his 115-ball 85 to take India's score to 260 for nine which later turned out to be a winning total, and Gavaskar patted his contribution to the team's cause.
"He was not at his best but he kept on hanging around. He did not throw his wicket away. Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag gave the Indian innings a flying start, that also made the difference," Gavaskar said after India beat Pakistan by 29 runs on Wednesday.
"Had not for the quickfire opening stand, the score might have been 230 or so," he said, adding that initially after the Indian innings he thought the home side was 30 runs short.
Gavaskar said he also thought initially that India had committed a blunder by leaving out Ravichandran Ashwin and including Ashish Nehra instead in the playing eleven.
"I thought it was a mistake to include Nehra in place of Ashwin. I thought it was not right to include somebody who had been punished heavily in an earlier match (against South Africa)."
"But fortunately, Nehra did well today though he was lacking in confidence from what his body language showed. The important thing I thought was the beginning of the Pakistan run chase. Zaheer Khan and Nehra and later Munaf Patel did not allow them to start with a flourish," said Gavaskar.
Asked about who should be in the bowling attack in the summit clash against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on April 2, the former captain said the team management would have to take the call according the conditions at Wankhede Stadium.
"It will depend on the conditions there at the Wankhede though I normally say don't change the winning combination. From what I gathered the Wankhede looks like it will have some carry, so it could be Nehra there also instead of Ashwin."
"If India have to go with two pacers and two spinners, it should be Zaheer, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Ashwin. I definitely would prefer Munaf to Nehra. You need the left-right bowling combination of Zaheer and Munaf," he said.