India in Pakistan 2003-04 April 17, 2004

All the chatter

Wisden Cricinfo staff

It was a series full of emotions and expectations and there were no shortage of words expressing these. After it's all over, we cast a look back on all that was said, from the profound to the absurd.

Virender Sehwag was termed as "a player of paranormal ability" by Navjot Sidhu © AFP

"Considering the fact that Australia is the world's number one team, even if we play 60 per cent of our game, we will win the Pakistan series."
Sourav Ganguly gives a candid opinion on India's chances in the series (Feb 18)

"Why not? There is no room for him in the middle-order in Tests and he is too good a player to be kept out. So if he is willing to open, this could be his chance."
Ganguly, when asked about the prospects of Yuvraj Singh opening the batting in Tests (Feb 19)

"I am disappointed - the Indians should have been bold enough to play in Karachi which is the premier centre of the country."
Hanif Mohammad is saddened by India's decision (Feb 22)

"Any player not giving 200% will not be considered."
Javed Miandad lays down the parameters for selection to the Pakistan side (Feb 23)

"Your Irfan Pathans are in every gully and mohalla of Pakistan. We don't even bother to look at them."
Javed Miandad drops one of his pearls's in his attempts at mental disintegration (Feb 24)

"He's good ... But, when he takes guard for the first time, he is going to start on zero ... In fact, each innings will be a fresh beginning ... Whatever Dravid's reputation, he has to prove himself in Pakistan."
Miandad again ... (Feb 25)

"They have a good bowling department. But just being fast doesn't help. They should have quality. The present lot of Pakistani speedsters are not of the class of Wasim Akram who could swing the ball both ways. We have little to worry from them."
Ganguly provides the counter-punches from the Indian camp (Feb 26)

"To me they [India] are not the favourites for this series. Simply look at their recent record. They have not achieved anything notable in Test cricket and in one-day Internationals and they have choked in the big matches. Also, Inzamam-ul-Haq commands his place in the team on pure performances alone and not simply because he is the captain."
Rashid Latif joins in(Feb 26)

History means little to me. I know that India have never won a Test match in Pakistan. But I believe in the present. I am not going to carry excess baggage on out flight to Lahore. This time we will change history

"The way they played in Australia it was apparent they knew what the ball would do. It [reverse-swing] might still be a mystery for teams like England and South Africa. But that doesn't seem the case with the Indians."
Latif has a rethink a week later (Mar 6)

"History means little to me. I know that India have never won a Test match in Pakistan. But no Indian team had reached the World Cup final after 1983 till we did it last year. No Indian team had squared a Test series in Australia in the last two decades. I believe in the present. We are going to Pakistan tomorrow and we are going there to win. I am not going to carry excess baggage on out flight to Lahore. Neither will I allow the minds of our youngsters to be clouded by what happened in the past. This time we will change history."
Ganguly speaks his mind on the eve of leaving for the historic series (Mar 9)

"I promise the pitches will help create the excitement the fans seek from this series. All the pitches will be sporting, with equal chances for batsmen and bowlers."
Andy Atknison, the curator for the series, clears all the speculation about the nature of the pitches (Mar 9)

"It may be a goodwill series for some, but for the boys it's life and death. It's about their careers. The players need to win for the team as well as for themselves."
Kapil Dev attaches a metaphysical importance to the series (Mar 9)

"If they [Pakistan] lose, he [Miandad] will get very tough on the team. He is a bad loser and will start mouthing a lot of stuff. Ignore him. The madder he gets, the better for us."
Balwindar Sandhu, the former Indian swing bowler, has some sound advice for tackling Miandad (Mar 10)

"We will try and pull the chain and stop the train midway"
Sourav Ganguly reveals the exact manner in which his team plan to counter the Rawalpindi Express, aka Shoaib Akhtar (Mar 10)

"He [Inzamam] is a routine leader, who makes changes by rota. It is Moin Khan behind the stumps who has brains and actually effects changes."
Rashid Latif ... again (Mar 11)

"It is always a special motivation while playing before my own people, and this is a very special occasion. Probably the pressure is a bit more because the people expect a lot from me, but that will always keep me on my toes. I will be very happy if I can get runs here and inspire my team to win."
Inzamam-ul-Haq looks forward to the first Test in Multan, his home ground (Mar 26)

"Virender Sehwag is a player of paranormal ability."
Navjot Sidhu explains the secret of Sehwag's success (Mar 27)

"Whenever I made a mistake or played a false shot, he would tell me from the non-striker's end to just stick around and wait for the loose balls."
Virender Sehwag speaks about the influence that Sachin Tendulkar had on his epic triple-hundred (Mar 28)

Javed Miandad played a major role in the mental battles during the course of the series © AFP

"Well, we talked about not playing rash strokes. Of course, he hears me but I'm not sure if he ever listens."
Sachin Tendulkar's side of the story ... (Mar 29)

"It is disappointing not to have scored the double century. I was aware that the declaration was round the corner, but I was taken by surprise by the timing. At tea, we had a discussion in the dressing room and it was decided that we will play positively. I thought that we will give Pakistan a few overs to play late in the day. But I think they may have decided to do it a little earlier, so I was not aware."
Tendulkar expresses his disappointment after the team declared when he was 194 not out (Mar 29)

"If any of my player was in such a situation, I would have allowed him to get the double century."
Inzamam declares his position (Mar 29)

"One must take advantage of the home series and should prepare pitches that suit their players but it does not look so in case of the pitch prepared here for the first Test of the series against India."
Imran Khan is astonished at Pakistan's inability to make use of home advantage (Mar 29)

"If spinners don't bowl well, do we then need a spinning coach as well? How many coaches do we need? If a team doesn't perform well once or twice, it doesn't suddenly mean that we need all sorts of coaches."
Inzamam has had enough of the same question (Mar 30)

"It was magic. Players like Yuvraj Singh and Aakash Chopra, who took a great catch, are natural and worked hard."
John Wright in a rare burst of effusiveness after India's first Test win in Pakistan (Apr 1)

"The run-out of Inzamam-ul-Haq yesterday was very important. I wouldn't say that it was the turning point, but it showed how little things can win you a Test match."
Rahul Dravid talks of the crucial moments of the Multan Test (Apr 1)

"The pre-series hype about our pace bowling versus India's batting seems to have gone straight to their heads. They have forgotten how to bowl straight. Some former players have added to the hype by subscribing to this theory. In Multan, the hype balloon finally burst and all the hot air has escaped. Hopefully, it will bring my pacers down to earth, and they will be able to pick themselves up and perform to their potential for a change."
Inzamam speaks some home truths (Apr 2)

"Inzy asked me to shave it off."
Andy Atkinson takes a mighty dig at Inzamam when asked for the reasons of not sporting a moustache (Apr 3)

"I just pray that it doesn't happen."
Inzamam hopes that his team don't squander their strong position in the Lahore Test (Apr 5)

"I feel domestic cricket is tougher than international cricket. All you need to do is spend some time in the middle and runs will automatically come."
Asim Kamal shatters some cricketing myths after his fine 73 at Lahore (Apr 7)

"I am not an angel, I have my bad days and good days. I am still learning day by day."
Shoaib Akhtar tells us some basic truths after his devastating spell at Lahore (Apr 8)

"I picked up the stump to keep it as a souvenir but team-mates told me we need 40 runs to win."
Umar Gul explains the reason for uprooting the stump before the match was over at Lahore (Apr 8)

"The criticism has been intense and uncalled for. I feel similar to Javed [Miandad]. If it continues then it will become difficult for me to carry on as well. I am saying this now, after a victory, because I want to make it clear that it is difficult to work under this amount of pressure."
Inzamam, after the Lahore Test (Apr 8)

"Those who could not field properly in their days, are criticising me. It is high time they should also retire from commenting or writing."
Miandad has some sound advice for ex-players (Apr 10)

"There's no way Ganguly can claim he is fit for the match ... he could barely stand up after he fell awkwardly in the one-day match at Lahore. I just can't see how he can be fit so soon."
Rusi Surti, former Indian cricketer, is flabbergasted at Ganguly returning for the Rawalpindi Test (Apr 12)

"For me to get 400, you would have to play six days!"
Rahul Dravid jokes about taking a shot at Brian Lara's record (Apr 14)

"I didn't need to react. Sourav probably understands the importance of grounding is bat even more now."
John Wright reacts to Ganguly's run-out at Rawalpindi (Apr 15)

"What made the difference in the end was the way we bowled on the first morning of this Test. In the past we hadn't managed to bowl sides out cheaply in deciding matches and that was the difference here."
Ganguly speaks of the crucial aspect of the series decider (Apr 15)

"I wasn't expecting a catch at that moment. Sometimes you get so engrossed in watching batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar that you lose focus on your job."
Yasir Hameed explains dropping Dravid at Rawalpindi (Apr 16)