We are wary of India's ability to bounce back
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We are wary of India's ability to bounce back

There is no complacency in our ranks although the Karachi win has lifted the confidence level of my boys, writes Inzamam-ul Haq.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 13:44 IST

The Test series is now history and both the teams must be eagerly waiting for the one-day series to commence. After all, plenty is at stake— Pakistan looking forward to further stamp their authority over India while the Men in Blue hoping to restore their pride and confidence of their fan club by avenging the Test loss. Therefore, I have all the reasons to believe that it is going to be a cracker of a series, probably as good as the one we had a couple of years back, if not better.

We are and have always been wary of India's strength and ability to bounce back. So, there is no complacency in our ranks although the Karachi win has lifted the confidence level of my boys while bringing down the pressure. But the pressure of international cricket always exists and we know that in one-day cricket, the margin of error is minimum.

If we managed to recover from 0-3 and then 39-6 in Karachi to win by 341 runs, it is not necessary that we will always be able to repeat those heroics in a one-day game. Therefore, perfection through the day would be the key to success.

In my books, the foursome are the most devastating and multi-dimensional players in world cricket today and they have exhibited their talent, worth and prowess time and again against different oppositions and in different conditions.

As captain, I feel more comfortable when I have resources like these because they give me more bowling options, provide me the luxury of changing gears at any time while batting first and at the same time keeping hopes alive of chasing any target.

I don't like player-to-player comparisons and respect every Indian player for the simple reason that he is on tour because he deserves. But certainly, Virender Sehwag is a player any opposition would like to see back in the dressing room as early as possible and I am no different. He has this natural ability to destroy any bowling attack and his presence in the centre not only keeps the scoreboard moving, but also unsettles the game plans of the captains and bowlers.

We planned well against him in Faisalabad and Karachi, and would like to carry the same momentum in the one-dayers. But it is difficult, probably next to impossible, to keep him quite throughout the series. He will have his good and bad days in the series, so lets hope the bad days are more than the good days!

We have Kamran Akmal to open the innings with Salman Butt, and myself, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Rana Naved to bat in the middle-order, and Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif to be specialist bowlers.

Now it is to be decided if Younis would bat at 3 or Malik would bat at 6. I understand that we might not always be able to utilise the talent of Razzaq at No 8, but we have to play according to our strength and ensure that the team wins. Razzaq understands that and he has responded excellently even at No 8.

I am not a big fan of this Super-Sub law for the simple reason that it gives huge advantage to the captain winning the toss. Either the ICC should allow both the captains to announce their Super-Sub after the toss or they should scrap this law. I would like to see the law is scrapped because it is becoming more complicated for the followers of the game and even more difficult for the captains.

This one-day series also launches our preparations for next year's World Cup. But I want to make it very clear that there will not be many chopping and changing. I have a pool of 16 to 18 players in my mind and only they would be tried in different positions unless some excel.

There has also been some confusion regarding my participation is all matches in view of my back injury. What I meant was that I will play most of the matches and will only sit out in games that are of academic interest. And this policy is not only for me but also for all the players who deserve rest because we need to protect them from complete burn-out.

If the players are not given calculated rests, how will the new faces get a chance to show us what they are capable of. But everything will depend on the situation.

Reverting to the forthcoming series, I believe there will be more tall scoring games because the pitches in this part of the world suit the batsmen more than the bowlers. Nevertheless, since there will be early starts in three of the five games, the captain winning the toss might opt to bowl first to extract the early moisture and juice that lay beneath the surface.

But even that assistance for the bowlers would not be for more than the first 15 overs and after that it will be the show of the batsmen. Regards a safe score, I believe no score is safe score nowadays because of the laws and the improvisations that have taken place over the years. But yes, I would consider job half done if the team batting first scores 300 or more.

So followers, hold your breath as we resume our rivalry and start the battle for supremacy in one-day cricket.

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 12:36 IST