Zaheer, RP and Bhajji rested for today's tie
The hosts are looking ahead for some experimentation at Jaipur, reports S Rajta.cricket Updated: Nov 18, 2007 12:37 IST
Agreed the series is already decided and the match in Jaipur on Sunday would make no difference to it. Yet, there is lot more to it than just the customary rhetoric of the vanquished team playing to salvage some pride and the triumphant using it as an opportunity to field their bench strength.
For Pakistan, it's the last chance to get some momentum going their way ahead of the ensuing Test series. They have been completely outplayed by the hosts so far and it would make them feel a lot better if they manage to put it across India here on Sunday.
Besides, the out-of-form Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik would be looking forward to the game to regain some touch. He has looked completely out of depths in the entire series — both as a batsman and the skipper.
If he manages to sort out his personal form, it will have positive effect on his captaincy as well. And that will go a long way in lifting the entire team, for a struggling and low-on-confidence skipper is a luxury that few teams can afford.
Then the bowlers, too, would for once look to check and rein in the rampaging Indian batting. They have been treated with disdain by the Indian batsmen throughout the series and, further, they didn't help their own cause by being too erratic most of the time. Hence, a chance for them as well to get into better rhythm.
And last but not the least, a 3-2 score line would look far more respectable than 4-1. So, Pakistan have all the reasons in the world to give it their all.
India, on the other hand, is looking ahead for some experimentation and resting some of their key players. The Indian management has decided their 12, leaving out bowling spearheads Zaheer Khan, RP Singh and Harbhajan Singh. "We would decide the final XI in the morning," said Rajput, leaving enough room for speculation over the fourth available slot.
But no matter whoever plays, India can't afford to be complacent for sure. They know how a couple of victories towards the end of the Australian series lifted their morale; and they certainly wouldn't like to offer that chance to Pakistan ahead of the Test series, at least on a platter.
And then there is the ever-enthusiastic crowd looking forward to the game as anxiously as people elsewhere had been. It matters little to them that series has always been decided; they would come in as huge numbers to see India win.