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Osman Samiuddin and Dileep Premachandran in Rawalpindi
April 12, 2004
Inzamam-ul-Haq turned up for the briefest of press conferences on the eve of the Rawalpindi Test. Sourav Ganguly, meanwhile, revealed India's playing XI, and also indicated that he and Yuvraj Singh were the contenders to open the batting.
On the importance of the decider
Obviously the decider is extremely important. The boys have been working very hard and they are confident after the way they played at Lahore. We want a repeat performance here from them.
On the pitch
The pitch looks good for bowling and it seems like it will help them throughout. Our bowlers performed well in the last match and they are confident of doing well on this wicket also.
On the Pakistan squad
The only one we have omitted from the list of 17 is Abdur Rauf. We just want to keep our options open. Nothing has been confirmed yet - all the boys are working hard. Whoever performs well in practice will give themselves a chance of playing.
On Mohammad Sami
His name has been announced in the squad of 16, which means that he is fit to play.
On the importance of the toss
It will be a good toss to win, and I think bowling first is probably the best option given the nature of the pitch.
On Sourav Ganguly's return
He will obviously make a difference. His captaincy in the ODIs was very good, so that will help them. But he has missed a couple of matches now and might be rusty.
On playing four fast bowlers
It is an option but we will confirm it tomorrow.
On team composition
Ajit [Agarkar], Aakash [Chopra], [Murali] Kartik, Ramesh [Powar] and [Mohammad] Kaif won't be playing.
On who will open the batting with Virender Sehwag
It's a tough call. It will be either myself or Yuvraj. When we picked Yuvraj ahead of [Sadagoppan] Ramesh in the squad, he had agreed to open if required. This is a one-off situation, and the question is, what is best for the team. At the end of the day, I'm not an opener. But it's also difficult shifting a guy [Yuvraj] from his position when he's done well there. But in the long run, Yuvraj has to consider himself as an opener.
On the pitch
It's become a little browner since yesterday because of the sunshine. But if there's a lot of grass left on it, that will help the bowlers on both sides. But it could be a lot like Lahore where there was initial movement, but it then settled down to be a good batting track. As for bowling first on winning the toss, it will depend on how much moisture there is in the pitch.
On dropping Chopra
It's hard on Aakash, but it's also difficult to ask a batsman to sit out after he has made a Test hundred. He [Aakash] is definitely part of the team, and will get his place back. This is a one-off, and we don't play our next Test for six months. But it was certainly among the more difficult decisions I have had to make as captain.
On India's failure to close out Test series abroad
It will be a motivation for us. We have come close on several occasions. Hopefully, we can make it here. But we have to focus on the game. It's when you start looking too far ahead, thinking of victory and defeat, that you start taking wrong decisions.
On what areas the Indians need to work on
I said before the series that how we batted would determine the result. When we batted well in Multan, we won. We didn't bat so well in Lahore.
On some of the Pakistani bowlers being unknown quantities
We played Naved [ul-Hasan] in Karachi. And anyway, I believe it's the ball that matters, not who bowls it. You saw how Umar Gul did when he came into the side.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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