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‘Pak not as tough as they used to be’

"This team is certainly not as aggressive as the ones we have played in the past," says MS Dhoni. Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: Nov 17, 2007 02:48 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times

Younis khan had a simple suggestion to his captain at the start of the series. He said Shoaib Malik needed to enjoy captaining the side if the team and he himself were to taste success. Clearly, the young skipper didn't take the advice as had been evident by his body language, his personal form and the lack of collective effort on the part of the team right through the lost series.

The vanquished skipper, though, was brave enough to state that he was 'enjoying' it and he just needed to forget the bad days, learn the lessons and move ahead. But it would certainly be easier said than done, for he seems to lack initiative and aggression, at least in this series.

"He hasn't been proactive. He shied away from walking ahead and taking control of the situation. Instead, he waited for things to happen on their own which obviously didn't help," remarked former skipper Aamir Sohail.

<b1>Sohail’s observation stand justified in the light of the manner in which Indians ran away with couple of games, especially the one at Guwahati and the other here last night. Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni took India home without breaking a sweat on both occasions, although some pressure from Pakistan could have made things tougher for the dynamic duo.

He also didn't look assertive and aggressive on the field. "This Pakistan team is certainly not as aggressive as the ones we have played in the past," said Dhoni, before going to the extent of calling it a weaker side than the one they played in the past. Malik, though, didn't agree with Dhoni's judgement, saying they had been aggressive enough. "We are being aggressive in our own way, but aggression doesn't mean that you go and snatch the bat from batsman," he said.

But then, as Malik himself said, the shortcomings appear starker when the team is losing. And then leading Pakistan has never been easy as Aamir Sohail admitted. "It's a tough job. And it became tougher for Malik as he isn't leading the settled side like Dhoni. The individuals in this squad are playing for their positions, which makes his job tough and unenviable," said Sohail.

"Dhoni has a very settled side at his disposal. He has a great bunch of seniors and youngsters in the side which must be taking off huge pressure from his shoulder. But it's not the case with Malik," he said, adding that Malik has to learn.

And learn fast, for those back home wouldn't take the loss to India very kindly.

First Published: Nov 17, 2007 00:58 IST