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Bowlers have lost confidence after Karachi

I think if the bowlers don't do something extraordinary, it'll be tough to stop the flow of runs on any surface, writes Sourav Ganguly.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2004 18:03 IST
Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly

It was another close game in Pindi. It was not one of those wickets where 650 runs should have been possible but the way the momentum has gone in this series, I think if the bowlers don't do something extraordinary, it'll be tough to stop the flow of runs on any surface. The wicket had spin and it stopped and that's why I rate Sachin's 100 as one of the best I've seen from him in a long time. I think the Karachi game has taken a lot of confidence away from the bowlers, which showed on a Pindi wicket where I thought 270-280 would've been a big total. I was very happy with the way Ashish Nehra bowled. He's one of those unfortunate players who keep picking up injuries, and his cut in the webbing is bad news for the him and the team.

This game in Peshawar is the most important game of the series as it hangs in balance at 1-1. But the wicket here should just give a bit of help to our kind of bowling. They had to leave some grass on this wicket because the ground is not big enough to provide an opportunity to the groundsman to prepare the belter that was Karachi, or do what he probably will in Lahore.

We had a good five days in Islamabad, probably the most beautiful city in Pakistan. Peshawar though, seems years behind. It's the land of the Pathans and I remember that when I was a kid, I used to keep hearing stories of the gentle Kabuliwalas who would travel all the way to spend six months a year in Calcutta. They were portrayed as big, gentle, kind people. This is the reason I find it difficult to believe that this is one of the most troubled areas of Pakistan, where guns are as easily available as candy is in India.

Coming back to the game, I must say that although both teams have been much closer off the field than any two teams from the two countries have been in my entire career, there's lots at stake when the game begins on Friday.

I just get the feeling that it's going to be another high-scoring game!

After the two games in Karachi and Rawalpindi, we've had special sessions with the fast bowlers. Pathan has always been a bowler with a big heart, someone who will run in both at nets and matches, but I was happy to see Zaheer run in as before. His lay-off for nearly three months due to injury has made it difficult to get into rhythm but he is going to be the key man in the rest of the games. For us, for the game tomorrow, the onus will be on the three quicks.

On a different note, we also got the opportunity to meet Gen Musharraf. I had heard a lot about him and I found him to be a charming person. His knowledge about the game is immense and the way he spoke about every incident that has happened over the last two one-dayers shows that cricket fever has caught up with the General as well!

And that's why India-Pakistan games are different. And special.

First Published: Mar 18, 2004 23:58 IST