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Pak tour will be a tough one: Tendulkar

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said that both India and Pakistan have momentum going into their upcoming three-Test rubber which he predicted would be a great series.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2006 21:09 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday said that both India and Pakistan have momentum going into their upcoming three-Test rubber which he predicted would be a great series.

"We both have good momentum going into the series. Pakistan have done well against England and we have won at home (against Sri Lanka). It's going to be a tough and great series," the champion batsman told a press conference here.

Asked for his reaction to former Pakistan captain Imran Khan's comments that the Indians would struggle this time around because of wintry conditions, Tendulkar said these conditions were not new to his team.

"I come from Mumbai but I have played in such conditions. I have played with two or three pull-overs in England when playing for Yorkshire. And our fast bowlers have done well on the last tour," he retorted.

"Last year too, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Akhtar played against us. We don't want to focus on what they do. We want to concentrate on what we have to do and that's what we will be doing," he said further.

Tendulkar, however, agreed that the Pakistan team this time around looked better prepared than when they played at home last time against India.

"Last time we had the momentum after having done well in Australia where they had not done so well. This time they look a better prepared team," he said.

Tendulkar was speaking as chief guest at a function put up by his sponsors MRF to honour its Finnish driver Kussi Valimaki for winning the Asia Pacific Rally Championship under the company's banners with its tyres.

"Last time our fast bowlers did extremely well. Playing on fast pitches will help our bowlers too. Ultimately whichever team plays better will win the series," he said.

Asked about Indian vice-captain Virender Sehwag's comments that Pakistani batsmen lacked the technique to do well on fast pitches, Tendulkar said that there are players whose techniques are not considered to be good have succeeded at the highest level.

Tendulkar, who is set to leave for Pakistan along with the team on January 5, was not willing to comment on the decision of the Indian Cricket Board to ask four players chosen for the tour to delay their departure to Pakistan by a couple of days in order to play Ranji Trophy.

"That's a technical thing and I don't want to comment on it," he said on the BCCI move to ask Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble and Parthiv Patel to play for their respective Ranji Trophy teams in the sixth round matches of the national championship (from January 3) before leaving for Pakistan on Jan 7.

The world's leading Test ton scorer also expressed surprise when asked about his reaction to the decision of the Pakistan and Indian boards to keep their bilateral engagements to once in two years.

"That's news to me and if that decision has been taken they should stick to it," he said.

The champion batsmen felt that a single three-day warm-up game, commencing in Lahore on January 7, was sufficient to prepare the Indian team for the challening Test rubber.

"We are in the middle of the season and have played a lot. I feel one game is enough to get used to the feel of the balls (Kookaburra) that are going to be used in the Test series," he explained.

Tendulkar, who set a new benchmark of 35 Test tons in the last series against Sri Lanka, said he has had some practice with balls thrown at him by bowling machines as preparation for the tough tour of Pakistan.

"I have been practising with balls thrown from a bowling machine at a decent pace," he said.

The ace batsman, who missed much of the first part of the season that commenced in July because of tennis elbow, said that the year 2005 had been a particularly frustrating one for him.

"It's been a difficult year for me. The elbow injury tested my patience a lot. But people stood behind me and supported me. But it has been a year that I would like to forget," he said unmindful of the fact that he got past compatriot Sunil Gavaskar's 34-ton mark during 2005.

First Published: Jan 06, 2006 20:54 IST