It’s India’s bats vs Pak bowlers
This series is what it has always been between the two archrivals -- India's batsmen vs Pakistan's bowlers, writes Ravi Shastri.india Updated: Nov 05, 2007 02:02 IST
It makes good copy that Pakistan would be looking to avenge their two close losses in the Twenty20 Cup. However, cricket is anything but that simple. Pakistan would be confronted with a hugely talented Indian batting line-up that no longer shakes in its boots at the sight of fast bowlers from across the border.
This series is what it has always been between the two archrivals -- India's batsmen vs Pakistan's bowlers. Both sides are without a key component -- Dravid for India and Asif for Pakistan. Shoaib Akhtar, Rao Iftikhar and Umar Gul are quality bowlers but they can find their teeth drawn here.
The new rules of change of ball after 35 overs don't help their reverse swing. This change-of-ball business is aimed specifically to give batsmen further leeway. Pakistan's pacemen, despite their obvious talent, wouldn't find it easy.
More so now that India appear to have a good mix of juniors and seniors. Pathan's return has lent a rare balance. Sooner than later he would also bat with wanted freedom to justify the number seven slot he occupies. Not Sachin and Sourav alone, even Yuvraj, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Zaheer and Pathan are seniors. New kids— Uthappa, Gambhir, RP and Sreesanth are no passovers.
It's the ability of batsmen to set or chase targets, which would matter the most.
The use of Afridi would be critical for Pakistan. He has had a certain hold on Indian bowlers, especially in one-dayers, and Pakistan could use him at the start as a pinch-hitter or lower down the order. I would gamble with the former if Pakistan have to shock India early.
Sometimes respect may have to be shelved for common sense and current form not to mention the current mental state of the player. India must bat to their potential for it is this factor on which would hinge their chances.