Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~Fear of losing may lead to defensive tactics~~

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
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Lahore:The fear of losing may lead to a defensive approach by both India and Pakistan and spoil the Test series between the two great cricketing nations, says former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammad.

"There remains a pressure on both the teams that if they lose they may receive a backlash and if this pressure dominates I fear that the coming series will be spoiled," said Mushtaq, one of four legendary Mohammad brothers who played for Pakistan.

As a 17-year-old Mushtaq featured in a boring series in India in 1960-61 in which all five Tests petered into draws due to defensive strategy of both the teams.

The portly built Mushtaq scored his maiden hundred in the Delhi Test and held the record of being the youngest to score his first hundred, a record finally broken by Bangladesh's Mohammad Ashraful who hit a debut ton against Sri Lanka in 2001-02.

"I was amazed at the defensive approach of both the captains and it looked that both did not want to win," said Mushtaq, whose 57 Tests yielded 3643 runs and 79 wickets as leg-spinner.

Prior to that series, the two countries also played a resultless five-match series in Pakistan in the 1954-55 series.

"I hope that both Sourav Ganguly and Inzamam-ul Haq adopt positive approach because people now want to see results in Test matches and the best team should win," said Mushtaq, who led Pakistan to 2-0 win over India at home in 1977-78.

"We adopted an aggressive approach in that series and that is why we were able to win Tests in Lahore and Karachi after we transformed the Test into a One-day," Mushtaq said. Mushtaq agreed the Test series would be a contest between Indian batsmen and Pakistani bowlers.

"Pakistan has world class and match winning bowlers in Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami and if they remain fit and Shoaib does not fall a prey to his antics then Pakistan has edge in Tests because bowlers win you Tests."

Mushtaq, who also held post of Pakistan coach on two counts, praised the Indian team's coach John Wright.

"I have seen Wright play and I have seen him coach Kent and India. He is a wise man of few words and has transformed the Indian team into a good unit, he is a no-nonsense man and knows his job."

Mushtaq, now a full time coach in the Middle East after retiring from Pakistan International Airlines, said he had come to Pakistan to witness the series.

"I have come specially to watch this series and hope that both teams play well so that we all can see some good and positive cricket."

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