Captains hold the batting key
India and Pakistan play a one-off ODI at Glasgow on Tuesday. The two teams last met in a two-match series in 2006 at Abu Dhabi, with both teams winning a match apiece.
Since 2003, the teams have played 23 ODI matches, with both sides claiming almost an equal share. However, the overall record favours Pakistan, having emerged victorious in 64 of the 108 encounters between the two teams, with four matches ending in no-results.
India will go into this match with one advantage, having beaten South Africa at Belfast to win the Future Cup series. Pakistan lack match practice, their game against Scotland on Sunday was washed out.
For the Indians, the highest run-getters in the Future Cup were Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh. But captain Rahul Dravid leads the run-chart for India against Pakistan since 2003. A good sign is that four of the Indian batsmen in the current line-up average over 40 in recent encounters against Pakistan, with three besides Dravid having a strike-rate of over 90. India's vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a phenomenal record, averaging over 60 and scoring at more than a run-a-ball.
The Indian batsmen would also take heart from the fact that the Pakistan squad doesn't feature Naved ul-Hasan, the most successful Pakistan bowler against India since 2003. In 15 matches against India, Naved ul-Hasan has taken 31 wickets at an average of 23.67. Although his economy rate of 5.70 might look expensive, he has picked up a wicket every 25 balls against India.
The rest of the bowling comes a cropper against India, with speedster Shoaib Akhtar topping the averages at 31.31.
Although Sourav Ganguly has not enjoyed great batting form against Pakistan of late (he averages only 22 in the 14 matches since 2003), he does possess the best bowling average for this Indian squad (minimum 10 wickets). The other bowler who's done well against Pakistan is left-armer RP Singh, who has taken 8 wickets in his three matches against the side in 2006.
In fact, bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad could pass on a bit of advice to his likely opening bowlers Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan, who have little to boast of. Prasad, along with Ganguly, Tendulkar and Arshad Ayub, are the only Indian bowlers to have picked five-fors against Pakistan.
Pakistan's new captain Shoaib Malik will be hoping to lead from the front with the bat. Malik is the only batsman apart from his counterpart Dravid to register more than 1000 runs in India-Pakistan matches since 2003, and also averages over 45. Another batsman who averages over 45 is his deputy Salman Butt. The stylish left-hand batsman has scored three match-winning centuries against India.
Interestingly, both captain and deputy also pair well against India, having been involved in three century partnerships. The only other pair to do so is that of Inzamam ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf. Butt and Malik also average over 70 in partnerships against India, the highest for any Pakistan pair having played alongside each other in more than five innings.
|Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik||6||429||71.50||3||0|
|Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik||13||658||59.81||1||5|
|Ijaz Ahmed, Saeed Anwar||12||674||56.16||2||2|
|Inzamam ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf||16||817||54.46||3||2|
|Inzamam ul-Haq, Moin Khan||9||326||54.33||0||2|
For India, captain Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Kaif are the only players to be involved in three partnerships of hundred or more against Pakistan. Although Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have amassed over 1000 runs in tandem against Pakistan, no current pair figures in the best five partnership averages.
|Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar||8||456||76.00||2||2|
|Navjot Sidhu, Sachin Tendulkar||7||482||68.85||1||2|
|Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Kaif||8||465||66.42||3||0|
|Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar||6||187||62.33||0||1|
|Sourav Ganguly, Robin Singh||8||473||59.12||1||2|
Mathew Varghese is an editorial assistant with cricinfo.com