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Sunday, November 04, 2007

India and Pakistan - a mouth-watering series

Everything is set for a fantastic series between the India and Pakistan teams. There are many viewers waiting for this for the last 1 year and they must be wondering how the current series will enact. If history of India-Pakistan series is to be considered, this one will also go to the wire. Both teams have many similarities that point to an even series.

The teams are undergoing a revamp, following a dismal World Cup (in the ODI series) where both exited very early in the tournament. The coaches were replaced (Pakistan's replacement was done in tragic circumstances whereas the Indian coach has been a temporary one all this while) and the teams made a comeback by making the finals in the T20 World Cup. Geoff Lawson has taken over the reins for Pakistan whereas India seems to have settled temporarily on Lalchand Rajput till it finalizes its chief coach.

There are 2 seniors in both the teams who are the stabilising factors for their batting lineup - Yousuf and Younis for Pakistan, Sachin and Sourav for India. They are surrounded by an array of strokemakers like Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir. The mercurial Shahid Afridi and Virender Sehwag can turn a match upside down on their day - though one cane be never sure which day it is!!! Salman Butt, Younis Khan must be waiting for the opportunity to play against the Indians since they have made merry in earlier series.

Inzamam-ul-Haq and Rahul Dravid will be missed by both teams, especially when the going gets tough. The stabilising factor that they used to provide to their teams, will be one that has to be provided by the other seniors in the team. While Inzy is not coming back, Rahul might make his presence in the team later in the series.

The captains seem to be cool customers - especially in the recent series that they played. By the end of this series, both of them would have learnt quite a bit of the art of captaincy. They are benefited by the fact that they played a stronger team in their previous series, Indians against the Champions (Australia) whereas the Pakistanis played the No.2 team (South Africa).

The bowling attack of Pakistan seems to be stronger on paper - with the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir leading the attack. Their middle-overs bowling might be a cause of concern for Malik as the Indian team can play spinners very well. The Indian bowlers might be juniors on experience, but their recent exploits (South Africa, England, Ireland) must give them hope to build their skills further. A good 10-day rest must have recharged their batteries to get ready for this series - hope their form has not disappeared.

The entire world is watching this series as it should be - this might overtake the Ashes series as the most famous, very soon. Who handles pressure better is the one who will turn up as victors. There will be lots of pressure on the home-side but the visitors wouldnt be able to escape it as well. Overall, there is not much to choose between the two. The Indians, with their new-found aggression, will be making all the right moves to prevent Pakistan from running away with the series.
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