ICL: Indian Cricket League

Rao in, Rehman out as Malik looks to open


Facing a must-win situation, Pakistan were left weighing several options in their bid for a forceful comeback in the One-day International (ODI) series here at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium today.

After a training session under lights here, the Pakistanis had a team meeting and discussed the possibility of skipper Shoaib Malik opening the innings and rookie all-rounder Fawad Alam replacing Abdul Rehman.

But in the end they opted to bring back medium pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum in place of Rehman after noticing that the wicket might not provide much assistance to the slow bowlers. “There will be some uneven bounce and we believe that medium pacers should get some help from the wicket tomorrow,” team manager Talat Ali told ‘The News’ on Wednesday night.

Rao was dropped for the previous one-dayer after being thrashed by the Indian batsmen in the high-scoring thriller in Mohali. It was also decided that unless any unusual circumstances arise, Malik will open the innings with Salman Butt, one of Pakistan’s most successful batsmen in the ongoing series.

Pakistan have been found lacking in the bowling department in the last two matches of the series and are looking to take their game to a new level to make it 2-2. “We have no chance left in the series and need to win tomorrow’s game at any cost,” Malik told reporters on the eve of the crucial encounter which will be played on a batting-friendly wicket.

Pakistan lost the opener in Guwahati but bounced back with a vengeance by chasing 321 in Mohali. However, their performance dipped in Kanpur where they lost by 46 runs. “We will go all out and give it our best shot,” said Malik, who wants to avoid his second successive ODI series defeat as captain after having lost 2-3 to South Africa at home last month.

Pakistan will also persist with Kamran Akmal even though Sarfraz Ahmed, a backup wicket-keeper, joined the Pakistan team here on Wednesday. “Kamran is fully fit and will be playing tomorrow,” Talat said. “He got a three-day rest and we are confident he would give a better show tomorrow,” he added.

Akmal drew stinging criticism after dropping several catches in the series and at one stage was almost ruled out of the ODI series because of a ‘finger injury’. Team officials said that Akmal injured his left index finger and will need some time to recover.

For Pakistan, Akmal’s showing behind the stumps and with the bat will not be the only concern. They want their bowlers to put in a more disciplined performance and their batsmen to show more consistency.

India on the other hand are looking in a good position to seal the series. Their batsmen are in great touch the bowlers also clicked in the previous game. For them Sachin Tendulkar holds the key though in Yuvraj Singh, they have another dangerman. Yuvraj has scored 58, 34 and 77 in the last three one-dayers and Pakistan will have to get him early today.

Indian batsman Robin Uthappa declared his team was well-prepared to deliver the killer punch. “The team’s morale is pretty high and we are looking forward to the match tomorrow,” he said. “Our aim is to win the series. If we can finish the task here, it will be great,” he added.

Uthappa rejected the impression that the current series is lacking the sort of intensity that is a hallmark of Pakistan-India clashes. “I can promise that nothing has taken out the punch from an Indo-Pak series. It is still intense and still hostile as it used to be on the field. We still play it tough on the field,” he said.

Earlier, Malik said that it was a good sign that the players from either side have largely been behaving well in the series. “We (Pakistani and Indian players) are all friends and I believe that the credit for playing a smooth series goes to the players,” he said.

Squads — Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (captain), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wicket-keeper), Shoaib Akhtar, Rao Iftikhar, Umar Gul, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sohail Tanvir, Salman Butt.

India: Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain, wicket-keeper), Gautum Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh, Zaheer Khan, Murali Kartik.

Source:Cricket News

More on:, , , , ,

Thank you for reading this post. You can now Leave A Comment (0) or Leave A Trackback.

Post Info

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

Tagged with: , , , , ,

You can follow any responses to this entry through the Comments Feed. You can Leave A Comment, or A Trackback.

Previous Post: Afridi, Gambhir heavily fined for misbehaviour »
Next Post: I am going through a bad patch, says Pakistan skipper »

Read More

Related Reading:

    Subscribe without commenting

    Leave a Reply

    Note: Any comments are permitted only because the site owner is letting you post, and any comments could be removed for any reason at the absolute discretion of the site owner.