Don't be surprised if Pakistan are more at home than India in Mohali when they clash on Wednesday. If India's home advantage is neutralised, then Pakistan may have their manager Intikhab Alam to thank. The former Test skipper and leg spinner knows the venue like the back of his hand, having spent two years in Mohali as Punjab's Ranji coach back in 2005 and 2006.
“His knowledge of the venue and the local conditions is indeed going to be a big positive for Pakistan,” said Dinesh Mongia, who was the Punjab skipper during Intikhab’s stint.
It’s not just his experience of the local conditions that could give Pakistan a big boost in the high-pressure game, feels Mongia.
“His man management skills are just too good. I have seen and heard about many coaches, but how he dealt with players, especially when they were passing through rough phases, was amazing,” said Mongia, a member of the side that reached the 2003 World Cup final.
His best trait as a coach, said Mongia, was his temperament. “He would always stay calm, irrespective of what happened on the field.”
One can't emphasise enough the calm and composure his team would need ahead of the nail-biting semi-final.