Pakistan news December 14, 2012

India series a 'tough one' - Whatmore


With India and Pakistan set to face-off in a bilateral series for the first time in five years, Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore is excited. On the opening day of Pakistan's preparatory camp in Lahore, he said he is 'very keen to play the series' and take on the challenge of playing India in India.

"India v Pakistan in India is not going to be an easy one, particularly with the added interest of the neighbours playing each other [for the first time in a while]," Whatmore said at the Gaddafi Stadium. "But it's fantastic. I can tell you players from both sides respect each other, we are fellow professionals. We understand the pressures that exist but sadly there are a number other people who build it up as something different … But that's the way it is. We are very keen to play our neighbours and we are looking forward to it very much."

The series, which begins with a Twenty20 in Bangalore on December 25, will be the first bilateral series between the two sides since Pakistan toured India in late 2007. They have since met in multinational tournaments, but bilateral ties between the two were put on hold following the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. India had withdrawn from their planned tour of Pakistan in 2009 and, after the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore that stalled international cricket in Pakistan, have not agreed to play a series at a neutral venue as has been the case with all Pakistan's 'home' series.

"It's a privilege to be involved in series like this," Whatmore said. "I've been involved in the odd match at ICC events and Asian Cricket Council events, but this will be first time we'll play more that two or three times in a small series.

"It will be an experience, particularly playing in India, where the fans are also very keen to come out and have a look and support their team."

Saeed Ajmal will be Pakistan's trump card, Whatmore said. "We will pick our group of bowlers depending on the conditions. You can't do that until you've had a look [at the conditions]. We feel we've enough boys in the group to satisfy the requirements of any conditions. But Saeed Ajmal will always remain a trump card for us, he will always remain a threat [for the opposition]."

Despite India's struggles during the ongoing England Test series, Whatmore refused to be complacent. "England are playing very well at the moment and India have a big job to square the series. But one Test series [results] doesn't necessarily mean that they are weak, we all know how good they have been over many years. I wouldn't read much into that."

Fifteen players of the 22 who will travel to India for the two* Twenty20s and three ODIs attended the inaugural day of the camp; Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq were absent due to various reasons.

*02.13GMT, December 15: The article had said 'three Twenty20s'. This has been corrected.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jimmy on December 17, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    India in India are formidable. Pakistan has a poorer batting line-up than even Bangladesh, absolutely gut-less. Selection is even more astonishing. You now have Misbah, Younis Khan and Asad ali for your middle order! So fans carry your sleeping bags for overs 20-40 of the pak innings. Good to have Inzi involved in some way but he won't be out in the middle, words can only do so much.

  • Cool on December 17, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    Ind will eat up Pakistan. come on dudes, the Indian lie in waiting.

  • D on December 16, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    Either Whatmore is trying too hard to pump up his players, or he has not been following our team's performance over the past year :-). At this point, it is hard to see how India can compete. Maybe Pakistanis will let us win out of sympathy before the upcoming Australian thrashing :-)

  • Rangarajan on December 16, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    No need to worry Pakistani bothers.. This is the worst team of recent times from India. If all the oldies continue to play for India, it will be cake walk for you. I am only afraid that your guys should not get carried away by their performance against this Indian team. All the best.

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Good one Pak must play aggressive and bowl good to challenge indian batting line up

  • Rahul on December 16, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    Whatmore is right in the sense that India will be tough to beat in India when it comes to ODIs and T20s (especially ODIs) but considering the present form, they will probably roll over to Ajmal in tests. I do expect Kohli and Pujara to shine at some point during the series though because they havent got a chance to relish a Pak-India series before.

  • Jay on December 16, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    Any Pakistani who thinks he can come to India and run down the home team is dreaming. It's a BRAND NEW series and that too ODI cricket where India are traditionally stronger than Pakistan. Still, that doesn't tell much until the series is over. As an Indian fan, I expect a good, tough series and a friendly one at that. India are a different cup of tea in coloured clothing. To underestimate them is like signing a suicide note.

  • Dummy4 on December 15, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Perhaps it is "tough" series for the coach, to survive beyond his tenure if Pakistan losses, given his poor track record in all bilateral series Pakistan has played under him. Poor, over-rated coach, no-where near great Bob Woolmer

  • romi on December 15, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    plenty of new faces in pak team. hop they get fair chance. some budy like haris sohail should have to get fair chance in int'l cricket. not just few games where he dosen't perform and get out of the team. i saw him bating in champion league. he is the special talent. wel its a tough tour for pak.. umar akmal needs to perform consistently. even though he is the best batsman in current squad from pak according to odi ranking, he lacks consistency. and also loking forward to see nasir jamshed. he bats so beautifully agnst ausis in uae. hop he comes with the same form and play innings of his life in india. he is the batsman having sound technique and temperament in pak squad who has a bright future. the way he bats remind me inzi. a pure class. Ahmed shadjad is another young batsman i m loking forward. he is just 21 with lot of talent. he just needs to hold his nerves and choose his short selection. pak well best of luck from nepali cricket lover..

  • Deepak on December 15, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    Should be a really good series. Pakistani fans should stop equating India's poor Test form to ODIs, for their own good :)

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