The big-match men and the non-performers
Only 5 players have been able to rise above the arch-rivals, writes Rajneesh Gupta.india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 11:33 IST
The India-Pakistan encounters have always been high intensity games full of on-field drama, tension and charged atmosphere taking the games to the wire most often than not.
With yet another Indo-Pak enthralling contest on the cards -– this time in the abbreviated form of the game -- it will be interesting to segregate the players with a penchant for the big occasions from the ones unable to handle the pressure of India-Pakistan encounters.
When it comes to playing against each other, the Pakistani batsmen play better while Indians under-perform.
Of all the players named in the two squads, only five have been able to raise their games while playing against the arch-rivals, with as many as four from Pakistan.
Imran Farhat's name is on the top in the list of non-performers, but his failure may be attributed to the indifferent form he had in his two outings against India, where he made 24 in one and a blob in the other to end up with an average of 12 -– a drop of more than 22 points from what he has managed in his career.
It is interesting to find Younis Khan's name in the list of non-performers since Younis has enjoyed tremendous success against India in Test cricket, but he has so far failed miserably in the shorter version of the game.
In fact he is yet to score a fifty against India despite playing 15 innings!
Kamran Akmal follows him with a drop of 10.25 points in his batting average.
Among Indians Mohammad Kaif has suffered most with a drop of 9.80 points.
Even little master Sachin Tendulkar has found the going tough while playing against Pakistan. Tendulkar, in fact, is the biggest casualty in Indian squad after Mohammad Kaif.
Salman Butt emerges on the top in the short list of big-match men. Butt has had a pretty ordinary ODI career, but when it comes to playing against India, he is second to none. Shoaib Malik, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi are the other beneficiaries.
For India,only Irfan Pathan has managed to lift his game.
Big match men
On the bowling front, things are quite close though.
Both Indians and Pakistanis tend to raise their games and under-perform almost in the same numbers.
Murali Kartik seems to enjoy pressure cooker situation most as he concedes just over 31 runs for his every wicket against Pakistan- almost 17 runs less than what he has conceded in his ODI career.
For Pakistan, Arshad Khan is the biggest beneficiary. Yuvraj Singh and Naved-ul-Hasan are the other big-occasion men.
At the other end of the scale, Harbhajan Singh has a rather disappointing career against Pakistan, so much so that the Sardar has managed to pick only four wickets in eight games against Pakistan at an average of 89.75 -– 58 points more than what he has conceded for his every wicket in ODIs.
Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Virender Sehwag are the other Indians, who have suffered the most.
Among the Pakistanis Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq have under-performed.