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No need to make changes in the side

India have to play five bowlers if they want to give themselves a chance to win the series, writes Javagal Srinath.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 13:46 IST

Fresh from defeating England at home, Pakistan not only read little too much into their own bowling but also miscalculated the strength of Indian batting, if not underestimated it. No doubt, flat wickets are playing heavily on Indian bowlers. At the same time, the Indian batsmen are also making the Pakistan bowlers toil equally hard on these pitches.

The cricketing fraternities of both the countries share the same feeling that it is high time to witness a true Test match on a good sporting wicket.

Inzamam, himself a doubtful starter for the decider at Karachi, only strengthen my belief that the pitch for the final Test will not be anything different from those on previous venues.

It will be a daring decision in case the hosts decide to go for a lively pitch. It is the attitude of the hosts, which will really matter. If Pakistan remains as negative as it was in the previous two Tests, it runs the risk of losing this Test.

In a decider like this one, the teams got to think in an extremely positive manner. When pushed to the corner for results, usually the host team does not want to lose the series and prefers another placid track. As it is, the Karachi wicket is better known to be a bowler-friendly track with some reverse swing and spin aiding the bowlers.

A befitting reply from the Indian batsmen was commendable in the last two Tests. While it was Sehwag who was the torch-bearer in the first Test, the real thorn in the flesh for Pakistan was skipper Rahul Dravid.

Rahul derives inspiration from so many sources. It could be reading books written by great personalities, or talking to people with invaluable experiences in their own walks of life or even from the themes of some of the good movies he watches.

Any well-written book on sports will invariably land in his shelves. His reading habits ranges from autobiographies of great personalities from diverse field to great achievers in sports. It is not an easy exercise to appreciate and practice other people's values and ideas.

Rahul is not the one who wants to be different from the rest of the world. He is all eyes and ears to learn from people with proven abilities. This eclectic approach towards his profession has enabled him to engage with the game critically.

I have noticed a very rare characteristic in Rahul of late. He spends a lot of time introspecting about his batting on and off the field. Even off the field at leisure, one can notice him playing an involuntary shadow practice shots with bare hands at regular intervals. It could be a delicate glance or a rock solid defence. One can feel that that all this while his mind is totally engrossed in his batting.

Now, captaincy comes with heightened exposure, be it for good or for bad. Lot of time is required to run the side right from selecting the team till deciding the playing eleven. The strategies and game plan is just not for him but for all individual batsmen and bowlers and the team as well.

The worst is when one is drawn into controversies and forced to ride on it till it loses momentum. I was afraid that Rahul would have to sacrifice some of his batting bandwidth somewhere. But to my astonishment, I found his focus is much more intense than what it used to be earlier.

That literally proves that captaincy is no burden for him and leadership comes pretty naturally to him. If Rahul can connect with half the intensity of his batting to the captaincy, I am sure he can turn this team around completely. Rahul certainly raises the hopes of doing well abroad but will those hopes be translated is what needs to be seen.

Indian would not want to change the side at Karachi as they have done well with the five-bowler combination. The little doubt of looking for a sixth batsman was answered in the form of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan's stint at the wicket. Pakistan are hit hard by injuries and it might make way for some much inexperienced players to come in.

That opens another opportunity for India to win the series.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 13:46 IST