'Over the last 10-12 years, India have improved and certainly gone ahead': Inzamam on why Pakistan are 'lagging behind'
Inzamam-ul-Haq belonged to an era where the competition between his Pakistan team and the Indian team was fierce. From the 1980s to the late 2000s, the India vs Pakistan matches were intense but have become a lot more one-sided in the last decade with the two-time World Cup winners winning more matches. Besides getting the better of Pakistan in World Cups – 50-over and T20 tournaments alike, India have won more matches between the two.
Inzamam, the former Pakistan captain, threw light on the lopsidedness of the matches between the two countries, saying the reason India have soared ahead is because of the attention it has paid at different levels of cricket in their country. From the IPL to a strong domestic structure, Inzamam credited the cricketing system in India as the reason behind the incredible strength displayed by India in terms of both performance and a solid bench strength.
"Until 2010, there was intense competition among these three teams. But over the last 10-12 years, India has improved its game immensely and has certainly gone ahead of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The credit goes to the IPL for sure, but I must admit that India has focused a lot on its first-class cricket structure and that has played a huge role in its development," Inzamam told Sportstar.
"The associations have got money and the players have got world-class facilities - in terms of training. India is reaping benefits of its robust domestic structure, whereas Pakistan and Sri Lanka have not been able to develop their first-class cricket that much."
The biggest example of it, as given by Inzamam, is what India accomplished during its tour Down Under in Australia, when an injury-plagued team, in the absence of its star players, got together and beat Australia 2-1 on their home soil. The series saw the emergence of the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant to name a few as India, against all odds, handed Australia their first defeat at the Gabba since 1988.
"Some 15 years ago, when a youngster came into the scene, he would get a few years' time to settle down, but now, there is no breathing space. The moment one enters the scene, we expect performances from him," Inzamam added.
"Earlier, touring sides struggled against the Australian team despite having top cricketers in their ranks. It was nearly impossible to beat Australia at home, but a bunch of youngsters from India actually did an incredible job by defeating the Aussies in their backyard. And that’s why, your first-class structure needs to be top notch - because it prepares you well. That is one area where Sri Lanka and Pakistan are slightly lagging behind."