Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Pak media accuses India of playing mind games

Published: Saturday, October 19, 2002, 0:08 [IST]
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Rawalpindi:Jubilant over the home team's series levelling victory in the second One-day International at Rawalpindi, the Pakistan media on Wednesday turned the heat on the Indian team by accusing them of playing "mind games" over the fitness of strike bowler Ashish Nehra, to spring a last minute surprise.

"Fired up Pakistan avenge Karachi defeat" was how local daily, 'The News', headlined its story, highlighting how Sachin Tendulkar's century failed to save India from defeat.

Interestingly, the newspaper raked up a controversy over India's decision to play Nehra in Tuesday's match after the bowler was ruled out for the match by vice-captain Rahul Dravid a day earlier.

"India playing mind games" read the headline of a separate story in the newspaper. The scribes were surprised to see Nehra figuring in the final eleven half an hour before the match.

"One wonders what kind of medicine Indian team has invented that saw Nehra getting fit in hours rather than days," it said. "Obviously, Nehra was in a position to play the second One-dayer and declaring him unfit a day earlier was just a stunt that aims at playing with the minds of opponents.

Indian camp must have wanted to add an element of surprise as a tool to trap the opponents off guard," it said adding that such tactics would give a "cheap" impression about the Indian team, which was here to play friendly series.

'The News' also said that the Pakistan team should mentally prepare for more of such "misguided missiles" from the Indian camp to gain "psychological edge."

The newspaper's ire was directed on Nehra's inclusion since he has emerged as the strike bowler for the Indians. "Nehra is the only bowler of some substance in the Indian side. He proved that in first One-dayer at Karachi and here in Rawalpindi. He has the ability to keep a check on the batsmen and the Indian camp definitely picked the right man to play with the nerves of the opponents," it said.

Nehra's spell was "devastating" as he removed captain Inzamam and Moin Khan in successive deliveries. The left-arm speedster ended up with three-wickets for 44.

Another newspaper, 'The Nation' said the "Indian trick turns into reality as Nehra was out for a week." Claiming that the "trick" has back-fired, the newspaper said "the Indian team had poor fate as they might lose Nehra for a week after he was hit on his left hand while fielding on his own delivery in his last over."

Barring the barbs over Nehra issue, the newspaper displayed pictures of fans carrying India-Pakistan friendship banners and carried comments of Inzamam praising Tendulkar as the "greatest" batsman.

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