Playing Pakistan is special, says Robin
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Playing Pakistan is special, says Robin

"I don't think we need to prepare specially for Shoaib. He is their frontline bowler but that's about it...," says Robin Uthappa.

cricket Updated: Oct 31, 2007 18:15 IST

Shoaib Akhtar's intimidating comeback may be seen as a major threat to India's chances against Pakistan in the upcoming ODI series but hard-hitting batsman Robin Uthappa feels the mercurial pacer's return is hardly a concern for the hosts.

"I don't think we need to prepare specially for Shoaib. He is their frontline bowler but that's about it. I am not too worried about him. We just need to play our natural game," Uthappa told PTI on the sidelines of a felicitation function for the Twenty20 World Cup winning Indian team held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Shoaib took four wickets on his return to international cricket after being suspended for his brawl with fellow pacer Mohammad Asif before the Twenty20 World Cup.

The speedster has been included in the team for next week's five-match ODI series against India as well but Uthappa said he would be his usual attacking self against Shoaib.

"I try to play my natural game against all the bowlers and he is no different. Seriously, I am not too concerned about his return," he said.

On the series as a whole, Uthappa said the only difference between playing against Pakistan and playing against any other team is the amount of pressure on the players.

"Playing against Pakistan is special because it puts you under a bit more pressure. Otherwise it is like playing against any other country. But ultimately it is all about giving your best for the country no matter which opponent you are facing," he said.

India is coming into the series on the back of an ODI series loss to Australia but Uthappa feels it hardly makes a difference.

"We lost the series but I think we played well against Australia. They are the best in the world but we have been getting the better of them in Twenty20. So that has given our confidence a boost," he said.

"I don't think the ODI series loss to Australia would have any bearing on this series. We will do really well against Pakistan," he assured.

Looking back at his fine show in the Twenty20 World Cup, Uthappa said he enjoyed the pressure of performing at the biggest stage.

"Playing in such a huge tournament always puts you under pressure but I enjoy that. It helps bring out the best in me. I feel, a little bit of pressure is always needed for good performance," he said.

First Published: Oct 31, 2007 14:58 IST