Pakistan in India 2012-13 December 22, 2012

Pakistan Twenty20 squad leaves for India


The Pakistan Twenty20 squad, led by Mohammad Hafeez, has left Lahore for Delhi to play their first bilateral series against India since 2007. The players selected in the ODI squad - Misbah-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Wahab Riaz, Imran Farhat and Anwar Ali - will depart Pakistan on December 26.

"We are ready and prepared for the India challenge," Hafeez had said at the end of a training camp in Lahore. "We have trained so hard to get ready for the India series. India might be low at the moment [after losing to England in the Test series] but it's a new format and they have a very balanced T20 team.

"Nobody can deny the fact that a Pakistan-India series carries intense pressure. The contest is always full of pressure and full of expectations of people of both countries. We will try to express ourselves without any pressure."

Although it was Pakistan's turn to host a bilateral series, India were not keen to play at a neutral venue. There has been no international cricket in Pakistan since March 2009, when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus. Bilateral ties between the two countries, however, had been suspended even before that incident, because of the terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.

The longest gap in bilateral series between Pakistan and India was from 1962 to 1977, in the wake of wars in 1965 and 1971. The Kargil conflict in 1999 led to another break, until 2004. India's home ministry cleared the way for the upcoming series on October 30, four years after the Mumbai attacks.

"Cricket has always played its role in toning down the tensions," Shaharyar Khan, an ex-PCB chairman, told ESPNcricinfo. "There should have a series of Test matches as well but anyways its better to have something rather than nothing."

Shaharyar was the PCB chairman who brought India to Pakistan in 2004 for their first full series in 14 years. "Both countries have to play on regular basis," Shaharyar said. "No matter who wins, this cricket diplomacy will improve the relationship of both countries. It's a meaningless debate whose turn it was to host; the foremost intention was to revive the ties."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 24, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    @ Behind_the_Wicket just for your information in case if u have forgotten since the introduction of 2 new balls to be used per innings in ODIs , 250 has once again become a competitive score.Check the stats and workout the average scores since 2 new balls've been used . i guess you are one of those cricket fans who only like 4s and 6s . Against India especially you got to have experienced players who can absorb the pressure of jam packed crowed aswell. So for me "Tuk Tuk" will do .

  • Shahid on December 23, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    I think Pakistani T20 Team may can win a match but ODI team can't win a single match because Pakistan Crciket Board & Selectors are treating ODI like test match. All Slow & Tide Horses are included in team. Mr Tuk Tuk Senior Misbah ul Haq , Mr Tuk Tuk Joiner Younas Khan and Tuk Tuk of the Year Azhar are included.250+ is a big target for Pakistani Team in ODI.

  • Srinivas on December 23, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    All these bashers of T20I, please sit at home. I don't like golf. But I don't remember one occasion where I had to go to a golf forum and bash them. What's wrong with the guys that have this twisted logic that they don't like a format and still read what's happening in that format and worse even post comments there.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    yes, desihangama ,indeed t20 is circus , it is only tests, which is real ckt.

  • Jawwad on December 23, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    I think Pak team has no clue how to play an ODI innings considering how cricket is being revolutionized. They are good at T20 and Test. But then again ODI is on it's way out. However, I wonder if T20 will attain the status of World Cup and gauge a cricketer?. In words of Great Imran Khan, I still think its a gully cricket.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    when team captain is itself ,average batsman at best, what can one hope from this team ,he is the very reason of mr . Razaqq has been dropped ,it is so distuing , this medicore batsman will know his place in world ckt. When they will tour south africa when chin music will be on epitome,.?

  • gurinder on December 23, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    gud luck india, play like tigers and win the pak team like they are some minnow club level side, hope yuvi makes century and big sixes

  • Shakhawat on December 23, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Pakistan T20 team is good but i have doubte about ODI team while Younos khan, Shoib Malik and Misbah produce lot of dot balls, thats the real reason Pakistan always loose the ODI game

  • Asad on December 23, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    India has the upper hand in recent times, Pakistan's side has no player who can take the pressure and bat through the whole inning (except YK if he performs well) and no finisher who can finish the match in win, (dropping Razzaq will cost us) on the other hand Indian side has a lot of potential great players, who have delivered under pressure. Looking forward to Kohli and Raina.

    I am Pakistani but my money is on India. And guys take it as a game, the better team will win, grow up and stop the traditional indo-pak war in comments.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Happy with the revival of Indo-pak cricketing ties again ~ ! Whoever wins seldom matter as the pedigree of entertainment always stays tall in these series !!

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