'No favourites for Indo-Pak clash'

PTI | ByKris Srikkant
Sep 18, 2004 10:45 AM IST

The key will be who focuses better on the basics. No point going out with a score of 300 in mind, the teams would do well to remember that this is England in Sept, writes Kris Srikkanth.

The big day is nearly upon us. An India-Pakistan clash, wherever in the world, they may be playing, brings out the best in both teams and rarely serves up a disappointment. I was told that the tickets for the match were sold out within an hour or so of going on sale and the statement didn't surprise me one bit. 

There is no favourite when it comes to contests between these two nations. It is so much of a mental game each time, that past results, current form, none of these matter. There might be those who feel that Pakistan, having won their last two encounters against the Indians, will start with more confidence on Sunday but I have news for them. When it comes to the big ones, like the last three World Cups for example, it is the Indians who have come out on top. 

Actually, both teams are quite evenly balanced. If India are the stronger side when it comes to batting, Pakistan have that slight edge in bowling. However, the one genuine cause for worry for India is the form of Sehwag. I feel he must open the innings and something tells me he is going to fire. It is important that he does as Indian teams, right from my time till now, depends a lot on good starts.

A good opening partnership is almost imperative if they have to succeed. 

This being the second half of September should also help the Indian seamers.

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