Unsure Pakistan gear for must-win battle
Match factsWednesday, July 2, 2008
Start time 16.00 (local), 10.00 (GMT)
Big PicturePakistan's floundering Asia Cup campaign wasn't made any better by Geoff Lawson's heated press conference after Sunday's defeat to Sri Lanka. However, on the eve of the match, the focus was on Shoaib Malik, the captain. Malik, who is suffering from dehydration, looked a doubtful starter but has declared himself fit for the match. The hosts, already without a strike bowler in Umar Gul, need to win both the remaining games to stay in contention for a spot in the final.
India, on the other hand, need just one point from their two games to secure their place in the final and are boosted by the return of allrounder Irfan Pathan from injury. A listless bowling performance against Bangladesh was attributed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni to playing three matches in four days and they should be back to their best after three days' rest.
Form guide(Last five ODIs; most recent first)
Watch out for ...
Pakistan: 1 Salman Butt, 2 Shoaib Malik (capt), 3 Younis Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Sohail Tanvir, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Abdur Rauf, 10 Iftikhar Anjum, 11 Saeed Ajmal.
India are likely to bring back Virender Sehwag and Praveen Kumar while Irfan could find a place ahead of elder brother Yusuf Pathan, who has a minor viral infection. Either Robin Uthappa or Rohit Sharma might miss out and fast bowlers Manpreet Gony and Ishant Sharma could also find themselves on the sidelines.
India (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Rohit Sharma/Robin Uthappa, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 RP Singh, 10 Praveen Kumar, 11 Pragyan Ojha.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"His hotel room is like a hospital ward and when he came off the field against Sri Lanka he was very ill. Only the doctors will decide whether he can play against India or not."
Geoff Lawson confirms Malik is struggling to be fit in time for the match.
"He is a star of the future. We will continue to work on his game and give him options in terms of what he can do on a cricket field."
Gary Kirsten gives Rohit Sharma a vote of confidence
Siddarth Ravindran is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo