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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Cricket Columns

India playing five regular bowlers proved decisive
Inzamam Ul-Haq
January 08, 2013
First Published: 01:03 IST(8/1/2013)
Last Updated: 01:04 IST(8/1/2013)

I had predicted the possibility of the series ending 2-1 instead of 3-0 for Pakistan, and ultimately it happened that way.

India played hard cricket while Pakistan failed to withstand the pressure when it mattered most. People might wonder why there should be pressure on Pakistan.

The pressure, as far the conditions were concerned, was to be on India, as they were fighting to prevent a whitewash by Pakistan on home soil.

But I believe the pressure was on Pakistan as well because they also had to deliver the final punch.

India-Pakistan clashes test a cricketer's nerve and that was evident in abundance in this series too, and I will not hesitate to say that the man who came on top was the India captain, MS Dhoni.

Even in the final match, and in tough conditions, Dhoni held his nerve while batting to get crucial runs in a low-scoring game and that did play a part in making the difference.

Regular bowlers
After this match, I hope India realise the importance of playing five regular bowlers. They didn't have to utilise the services of any part-time bowler as the three seamers and two spinners bowled to their captain's plan.

If India had utilised any of the part-timers, Pakistan might have cut loose and it would have been difficult for the regulars to come back and re-group.

That was the marked difference in India's approach in the ODI series. This will surely help the team management plan well before the England series though their batting still needs to be sorted out.

I am supposed to take up the job as batting coach of the Pakistan team and once I go back, I will sit with the board officials to finalise it.

Having watched the boys closely in this tough series, I am sure I will not need to work on the basics of batting but rather on the mental aspect of the boys. When you chase a big total, you need to plan it.

Similarly, when you chase a small total you need to plan as well and that was not evident in Delhi. The biggest positive for Pakistan on this tour has been their new ball bowling.

Pakistan has always been known and feared for their great fast bowlers delivering knock-out punches with the old ball, from the great Imran Khan to Shoaib Akhtar.

But the likes of Irfan and Junaid are terrific with the new ball, and if they continue giving break-throughs early, then the likes of Ajmal and Hafeez will create chaos amongst the opponent batting.

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The writer is former Pakistan skipper


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