हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Lone Shoaib v/s pack of lions

Written by: Vineesh Krishnan
Published: Sunday, April 11, 2004, 16:19 [IST]
 
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Indians know what stuck them in Lahore. It was the Pakistani fast bowlers who were ridiculed, cruelly lynched by the Pakistani media, and not sure of their place in the team behind the Pak victory.

Shoaib Akhtar, whose head was on the chopping table along with Sami made a come back with sheer force making the John Wright say 'if only we had a Shoaib' in an interview. The one over in the morning of the third day showed how bloodthirsty he was after the clubbing he got from Indian batters in the One-dayers and in the first Test. He summoned all his speed and did not allow Pathan and Sehwag to settle down. He beat both of them with speed and literally threw them away.

Even though 'Man of the Match' Umar Gul's show eclipsed Akhtar and Sami, it appears it was his accurate harpooning of Indian batsmen that inspired the seniors to get their confidence back. Fared badly at the hands of critics, a hapless Shoaib had only one way out and he chose it.

It appears Indians thought Pakistani pacers will not fight back, as they treated them like club bowlers and paid the price. It was reported that Akhtar told his coach and captain that he will sit out of the second Test as a penalty for his bad show in the series. He was the very picture of Pakistani despondency as the young man tried to cope with the barrage of criticism that was heaved against him.

It appears as if he has hooked them for a sixer, as Pakistani skipper Inzamam got the chance to whip the critics after the victory. He threatened to quit and accused some reputed columnists of unhealthy criticism. After all this is his series, and he has the right to pass judgment on critics more than any one in the Pakistan team. He performed better than most of the famed Indian batting line-up with the bat and lead Pakistan from the front.

But there are many positives for India from the second Test. The professionalism they displayed at the face of a flurry of umpiring errors is a model for any kid in India or Pakistan to follow. Cricket, especially Test cricket requires more of mental strength than physical strength. The body language of Indians even when Pakistan was just 40 runs away from victory showed they have lots of it.

Even though they lost the second Test, Indians are still considered favourites for the third Test. It is partly because of injuries to Pak pacers Sami and Gul and partly due to the professionalism of 'Team India'. Javed Miandad told his team at the start of the series, that these are not the regular Indians. They have proved they are not chokers beyond doubt.

Shoaib has a tough job in his hands at Rawalpindi. He is not likely to have the services of his co-hunters Gul and Sami. An Indian batting line-up, which is eager for revenge, must be his nightmare. Any of them, could hammer the nails on the coffin of any bowler in the world, when he is in smooth flow. When denied runs in a match, they become even more dangerous.

Beware Shoaib, it is a pack of hungry lions on the prowl for you!

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