Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has said his team will take the field for the Test series opener here at the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium on Thursday with a renewed zeal after clinching a consolation 31-run triumph over India in the final one-dayer in Jaipur on Sunday.
Malik, who excelled with both the bat and ball in what he termed as a ‘morale-boosting win’ said the result has pumped up his players who are now looking forward to avenge the One-day International (ODI) series defeat in the Tests.
“The victory in Jaipur has lifted our morale and the dressing-room mood is upbeat. Though we lost the ODI series, we would go into the Tests at par with India,” said Malik, who topscored for Pakistan in the final one-dayer with 89 and also took three wickets.
It was a timely return to form for the Pakistan captain who had struggled to score runs in the previous game of the one-day series and had also flopped as a bowler. Though his best show of the series came in an inconsequential game as India had already clinched the series after taking a 3-1 lead following a crushing win Gwalior last week, Malik pointed out that the result could prove to be the turning point of the tour for the Pakistanis.
“A good result can really help you ahead of an important series and I’m sure we would give a better show in the Tests,” he explained. Malik was happy with his own form and promised that he would inspire his team to give its best in the Test series starting from November 22. “My form is now alright and that’s good for the team. I’m confident that it will help Pakistan in the Tests,” he continued.
The all-rounder, who has been criticised for failing to lead from the front in the ODI series, said he is looking towards his senior players to play a major role in the Tests.
“Players like (Mohammad) Yousuf and Younis (Khan) are thankfully in great form and Salman Butt has also been batting well. I believe Shoaib Akhtar is also finding his rhythm and I hope that these guys will click in the Test series because it is very important for us to do well in it after having lost the one-day series,” he said.
Malik was pleased with the performance of his young Turks — Fawad Alam and debutant stumper Sarfraz Ahmed — in the Jaipur game. “The way Fawad and Sarfraz played in the match is really heartening for all of us,” he said.
Malik is hoping that a change of guard in the Indian team may work in Pakistan’s favour. “India will have a new captain for the Tests and such a change can at times help the opposing team,” he said referring to India’s decision to have veteran spinner Anil Kumble as their skipper for the Test series against Pakistan instead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is their captain for one-dayers and T20 internationals
“But Anil is a very experienced player and we are expecting to face some tough cricket from India in the Tests,” he expressed. Dhoni, meanwhile, has played down concerns over an ankle injury that dogged him the final one-dayer. “My foot is okay. There is not much swelling, and I hope it should heal before the start of the (first) Test,” he said.
Dhoni twisted his ankle while taking a run during the match and needed a runner. The Indian captain believes the home team lost the final ODI because it lost wickets at regular intervals. “We lost too many wickets early on in the innings and that really hurt us. When the opposition scores more than 300, you need to maintain the run-rate for a successful chase. Pakistan’s pacers did a fine job,” he said.
Dhoni also conceded that some of his players’ shot selection also didn’t help India’s cause. “On a normal day we would not have played the kind of shots that we played today,” he expressed.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:India, Pakistan, Pakistan in India 2007, Shoaib Malik
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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