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No room for complacency for Team India

How the Indians missed out on putting Malik on the mat when the Pakistani was clearly infringing the law of obstructing the fielder, writes Bishan Singh Bedi.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 19:01 IST

There is seldom anything called blessing in disguise in any form of cricket. You either pluck fruits of your efforts or perish with your deeds. Inzamam's decision to bat first was no gamble. It was a move based on the calculation that not many teams have chased anything above 250 at Rawalpindi. With comfort, to Inzy's discomfort, Rahul Dravid's team was slightly more determined in squaring the one-day series.

In full potential, Indians are definitely more worthy than their hosts. By naming Powar as super-sub, Rahul had made his intentions clear of fielding first. Inzy simply fell into a trap of his own making much to the glee of the tourists. Pakistan minus a couple of illegal trundlers are not quite a match winning attack. Certainly not when Sachin and Sehwag are willing to bat sensibly.

Just about everything fell in place for Rahul and his lads. Let me assure you it was not all chance. There were some concentrated efforts from Dravid, Yuvraj and Pathan. If five of the main nucleaous click, more than half the job is done. Dravid is very good at finishing the job and in Yuvraj he found an ever improving youngster.

In the end winning by seven wickets was far more convincing than D-L loss in Peshawar. There is no reason for the visitors to get carried away. A couple of lacunas still persist— lose cricket by Agarkar and Zaheer. The fielding in Pindi was better.

How the Indians missed out on putting Malik on the mat when the Pakistani was clearly infringing the law of obstructing the fielder. Perhaps the entire Indian team was too impressed with Gen Musharraf's cool remarks on sportsmanship. There is no doubt in my mind that Malik was a greater culprit than the lazy and burly Inzamam.

Much has been said of Sachin's present and future with Indian cricket. It is really his prerogative to decide for himself when he has had enough. But as long as Sachin is donning Indian colours, he must make sure that no Tom, Dick or Harry can pouch his valuable wicket. In other words, Sachin must put a heavy price tag on his dismissal which is bound to help the team morale many fold.

The series is delicately poised with the home team in a bit of a quandry. Two day-night matches in Lahore will be significant purely from the role of the dew effect. Somehow, I cannot figure out why Inzamam is allergic to a bit of green on the playing surface. Actually most batsmen have similar mentality. If the hard work for the bowler becomes a shade cumbersome, so be it. It is really amazing that Pakistan's batting strength should be shy of mild swing of Pathan and Sreesanth. I really hope that Ramesh Powar gets a couple of games before returning home. He deserves a good look in. I would be happier to see Kumble back in the scheme of things. A more committed cricketer than Kumble would be hard to find.

More importantly Kumble can guide Rahul at crucial moments on the field when the Indian captain looks anything but confident. The panic on his face gives it away. If Rahul has batted well himself then his handling of his bowlers can be inspiring. Otherwise Rahul becomes a bit of loner on the field. Doesn't lose his cool though simply gives the impression of lack of ideas at times. Two bowlers— Sachin and Sehwag — must bowl a lot in the nets to give Rahul solid options. Why even Yuvraj rolls his arms to sharpen the over-rate. I am afraid this power play and super-sub is a nauseating experience. Yestreday it was 11 Indians vs 12 Pakistanis.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 19:01 IST