Worries in both camps

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Thursday, March 18, 2004, 16:11 [IST]
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India and Pakistan are now even on the ODI matches and both of them were thrillers right to the end. But surely both teams would feel that they could have won the one they lost. However, there are other things to worry about at this time.

As I had written in one of my earlier columns, India would be calling in reinforcements to their team. This has already happened with the unfortunate incident with the hero of both games, Ashish Nehra.

Poor fellow! Seems like accidents just follow him wherever he goes. I for one thought he was pretty much washed up when his ankle swelled up after the first ODI where his last over heroics won India the match. However, he bounced back to effect a run out and took 3 wickets in a polished bowling performance in the second ODI. Wouldn't you know it, just when it looked like Ashish was getting it together; he tears the webbing in his bowling hand!

Sure as the sun rising, the Indian contingent had to call for reinforcement in the form of Amit Bhandari. He has a few scores to settle against the Pakistanis who gave him a nightmare of a debut in Sharjah by hammering him for 75 runs for his 2 wickets. Hopefully the idea of revenge won't dominate Amit's thinking process and adversely affect his bowling. Here is Amit's golden chance to make a mark for himself in the Indian side.

Sachin clobbered 141 and it looked like the match was in India's pocket. However, his teammates and the Pakistanis had different ideas. Sachin does not need stuff like this where he gives his all and the rest crumble. That is not a record that Sachin deserves, i.e., losing more ODIs where he has scored a hundred than winning them!

Come on Indians, when you see Sachin on fire like that don't bring out the water hose! Stoke the fire! Don't shoot him in his foot! He already has a lot on his shoulders, don't add to that burden! I'm sure Inzi is not feeling so bad now for his 100 that went in vain in the first ODI.

Shoaib's bowling actions is once again beginning to stir controversies. In a tour that's been so long in the waiting, things like this should not ruin it. The PCB needs to do something quick about Shoaib before he is barred from playing cricket. If his action is still suspect, correct it and do so quickly!

Remember, even though India may not stir the ICC pot over this, there is no guarantee that cry-babies like the Aussies and the Brits won't. Pakistan cricket does not need this when they are trying to rebuild a team after the Akram/Younis era.

There are still a lot of more things to contest over in this series. Both teams need to correct their respective problems quickly before they get buried under an avalanche of complaints and/or failures. Meanwhile, the Indian team should remember that they are not only guests in Pakistan but also ambassadors. They should not stir contentions by making any off the cuff remarks. Both teams need to behave and just play cricket!

Then there is Jacques Kallis who it seems cannot do anything wrong. Here's wishing him all the best on his quest to equal the great Don and score a century in his sixth consecutive Test.

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