Pakistan fans have been wondering for over a year about what happened to the legendary cornered tiger spirit? The Twenty20 World Cup offered a brief reminder of what it was meant to be like but ever since Shoaib Malik's team has been cornered and cowering. The captain has faced criticism for his unwillingness to bare his teeth and his fellow tigers have barely raised a growl.
Encouraging performances have been sporadic and insufficient to revitalise Pakistan's tigers, young of age but weary of soul. As if a loss of spirit wasn't enough, the physical health of Malik's shrinking violets means that they are barely able to field a team in Kolkata. A psychiatrist would be examining the likelihood of psychosomatic illness.
Unfortunately for Pakistan it is the bowlers who are afflicted. By some margin they have been the better half of Malik's team, and it is the batsmen, who failed so miserably in the second innings of the first test, who must now carry the battle to India.
I hate to say this but Pakistan's best bet in Kolkata must be a draw. With the bowling attack that they are rumoured to be able to muster, India's batsmen must sense a kill. The cornered tigers face extinction. This is a battle for survival. Pakistan fans will want to know their team has the stomach for it.
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here