Pakistan is reserving its best for India, says Youhana

Published: Friday, February 28, 2003, 1:28 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Key Pakistan player Yousuf Youhana issued a veiled threat to India ahead of two teams' high-voltage showdown on Saturday saying his side has reserved its best for its archrival.

"... Because we play India after nearly three years in our next game, it should bring out the best in us," Youhana said. "Playing against India should bring us closer together and make us fight harder," the swashbuckling batsman said. Pakistan is struggling to qualify for the Super Sixes with two defeats and as many wins so far. But Youhana was confident the team would shrug off its indifferent form and bounce back against India.

"No one in the team believes that (Pakistan's campaign was grinding to a disappointing end). We all know we can do it and qualify for the Super Sixes. Hopefully against India we will fight to the end. "We just need to have one good match and this mental block and pressure will be removed," Youhana was quoted as saying in a Pakistan daily. The batsman, who was awarded the man-of-the-match in Pakistan's previous encounter against Namibia, attributed the team's poor show to a combination of bad luck and a sort of mental block.

"Believe me we are all in fine form at the nets and we are all timing and stroking well... it is just that we have all faced bad luck and nothing is going right for us." "I can say we are facing a combination of bad luck and a sort of mental block. And this has meant a severe loss of confidence for the batsmen. When we go into bat we are all shaky and afraid to play our natural game for fear of failing again and that is only adding to the pressure and undermining our confidence," he said. Youhana, who is one of Pakistan's most consistent players accumulating 4292 runs in 125 matches with eight hundreds and 24 half centuries in one-day internationals, said he was hopeful that the batsmen will strike good in do-or-die situation against India.

"The way I look at it, someone like Inzamam is bound to explode in such a pressure game. Everyone knows he is a quality player and he will soon start getting runs again." Youhana said the spirit and atmosphere in the team was the best he had seen in a long, long time. "We are all seniors and we discuss everything together and do what is best for the team. There is nothing wrong in the team and there are no problems at all. It is just that we are looking for that one elusive good match to bring our confidence back. Everyone knows what this team is really capable of when it plays to its true potential."

The stylish batsman admitted that the players found it hard to adjust to the extra bounce on South African pitches. "Look, when the ball swings and seams around a lot I don't think there is any team which is comfortable playing in those conditions. Same is the case with us." "Against England if we had fielded second at Newlands in those conditions under lights, I can say with a guarantee that our bowlers would also have skittled them out for a low score. It was amazing the way the conditions improved for the bowlers under lights," he said.

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