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Anand Vasu in Rawalpindi
March 16, 2004
Shoaib Akhtar may have thrilled his home crowd with a vigorous bowling performance in his 100th one-dayer, but he will not enjoy reading what Sourav Ganguly had to say. When asked whether all of Shoaib Akhtar's deliveries were legal, Ganguly said, "What do you think, watching on TV? I think we all know the answer, don't we?" Despite India's 12-run loss Ganguly was as belligerent as ever when he spoke to the press soon after the second one-dayer.
On the pitch: The pitch was not as good as it was in Karachi, but still with the way the two sides batted this didn't show. But it was not an easy wicket to bat on.
On the turning point in the match: In such close games you can't say what the turning point is. You have to fight till the end. So it is very difficult for me to say what the turning point was.
On the big scores in the series so far: They way this one-day series is going it will be very difficult for any side to contain the opposition between 275 and 300. Whichever side is bowling first or second should make sure that they don't give more than 280 runs. Once the score gets to 330 it's very difficult for the side batting second. Unless something drastic happens this is going to be a series of big scores.
On how the series will go: It's been tight so far. I cannot predict [the result], but the way it's going, [it] looks like it's going to be a tight series.
On the fact that after Tendulkar, extras was the next highest scorer: Well, I think it's a question of having partnerships. Me and Sachin had a partnership of 70 runs, Sachin and Rahul had a partnership of 100 runs. That's how this game goes. When somebody gets in and makes a big one. It doesn't happen that all eleven score runs. If that happened the tally would be 1000. It was Sachin's day and he made a big one. I hope it's Sachin's day in the next game as well.
On Ashish Nehra's injury: We're getting a replacement for him because he's split his webbing. He's had two stitches and it will take him two weeks to get fit.
On whether the team had asked for a replacement: It was difficult during the match so we'll sit now and decide about the replacement. We haven't asked anything yet.
On the fact that Nehra played despite Rahul Dravid saying yesterday that Nehra would not be considered for selection: His ankle was swollen yesterday so I was a bit surprised that he said that he would not play today. But obviously with all the treatment he got he recovered. His ankle responded well and he was able to play today. It was good for us because he bowled outstandingly. I did not know when Rahul made the announcement yesterday. I was not there. You also have to realize that some injuries may heal up or improve overnight. So it's not always possible to make the right statement at the right time. To be honest Ashish had a lot of swelling yesterday and we pushed him this morning because it was an important match and he won the game for us in the last game. When he ran in this morning he felt good, so we had to go ahead with him. Sometimes these things happen in sport.
On the fact that he has not made a hundred in a while: I'm also batting at No. 4. I've scored my hundreds opening. I can't remember how many games I've not scored a 100. Obviously when you play as a frontline batsman it's important to score hundreds. The thing is also that batting at No. 4 means [that] I now don't get the extra overs early on that I used to get.
On Ramesh Powar: I think he showed a lot of courage. It's not easy to come straight from first-class cricket and face bowling at 150 kilometres per hour. He scored runs against pace so it's a good sign for him and the team.
When asked to summarise his career from the last Pakistan tour to this one: To let you know what has happened all the way is a bit difficult. I'm happy to be here and to become the first Indian to score a hundred in ODI cricket in Pakistan. I didn't know about my 13,000 runs, so thank you so much for letting me know.
On scoring a hundred and ending up on the losing side: I've always said that a century has greater value when the team wins. Scoring a hundred is nice. It's a good feeling but when the side ends up winning it's a greater feeling.
On the suggestion that he is not a great finisher: Well, you've got to go back and have a look at the scorebook.
On the pitch: I thought it was a difficult track to bat on. As Sourav said, the ball was stopping and coming. So we had to take our time before playing big shots. We had to be a little more selective. I thought they bowled pretty well. They did not give us enough time in the air to decide what to do. They pushed the ball through quicker and made our lives a bit more difficult.
As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history