Pressure, complacency and batting for your life
A look at what the newspapers are saying about the India-Pakistan series - March 1, 2004
Until the end of the Indian tour of Pakistan, we will be running a daily Paper Round of what newspapers in India and Pakistan, and from around the world, are saying about this series. This is what the media had to say today:
According to Imran Khan, past records and recent form will count for little when India and Pakistan go head-to-head. "On paper, India have an edge over Pakistan but that does not mean they will win the series only on account of being good on paper," he said. "For me the winner of both Tests and one-day series will be the team which sustains the pressure well."
He pointed to his own experiences to lend credence to the theory. "We lost to India on our tour there in 1979, despite being a better side, because we failed to sustain the pressure," he said. "But with a weaker team we beat India in 1986-87 just because we coped with pressure well."
Imran predicted that the outcome of the series could well depend on how Pakistan's exciting new-ball attack coped with the Indian batting. "Pakistan can win the Test series provided Shoaib and Sami remain fit," he said after spending an hour with the duo, passing on useful tips. "These are the two bowlers who can win Test matches for Pakistan."
He was under no illusion, however, that their task would be easy. "I think Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman know how to stay at the wicket, and Pakistani bowlers need to dislodge them as quickly as they can to restrict Indian totals but that would not be very easy," he said, before adding that he reckoned both Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag would pose a major threat in the one-day series.
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Raj Singh Dungarpur, former president of the BCCI, has warned India against complacency ahead of the tour of Pakistan. "The Indians should not become complacent and must concentrate on the game till the last ball is bowled," he said. "They should also not worry too much about the security as the Indian government will make sure that the players are well protected on and off the field."
Dungarpur said that Pakistan had a young, talented side, but doubted whether they had the experience to tackle India's top batsmen.
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Asif Iqbal, who captained Pakistan in the 1970s, feels that India's batsmen will produce consistently big totals in the Test series, though he doubted whether they had the bowlers to win games. "India has one of the finest batting line-ups but unfortunately they do not have the bowlers," he said. "It is batting that won them the Test in Australia."
He expected Pakistan to rely heavily on their quick bowlers. "Pakistan have the bowlers but not the batting," he said. "If I were to pick two players from the current Pakistan side who could be match-winners, it will be Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami."
He also pronounced himself a fan of Sourav Ganguly's captaincy. "Sourav has been given the opportunity and he has handled things well," he said. "Now he has grown in stature and is more confident. After the Australian tour, he has faith in not only himself but also in his team and knows how to get the best out of his players."
Iqbal also pooh-poohed suggestions that Sachin Tendulkar was not a match-winner. "If there is one batsman I will ask to bat for my life, it is Sachin Tendulkar," he said. "It is not true to say he is not a match-winner. It is difficult to compare players of the calibre of Sachin, Lara and Hayden."