Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~Contest is between teams, not individuals~~

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
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Mumbai:Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar played down his personal duel with Shoaib Akhtar during the upcoming tour of Pakistan and said the series was going to be a contest between two teams and not between individuals.

"India vs Pakistan or India vs Australia series one factor is common and that is two countries playing against each other and not two individuals," Tendulkar said after a practice session at the MIG Club.

Tendulkar, who is expected to play a key role in India's fortunes in the five One-dayers and the three Tests, said he was looking forward to an exciting contest between the two teams during the 40-day tour.

"Personally, I am excited about going to Pakistan and it is a great feeling as I am going there after a long time. I have been practicing in Mumbai for some time and I feel totally fit and am looking forward to the series," said Tendulkar, who incidentally made his debut during India's last tour of Pakistan in 1989-90.

"Pakistan is a very good side with some extremely talented players. The competition is going to be very tough. It is a big tour for us. There could be some good days and a few bad days. But we will be playing to win," he said.

Tendulkar said India should carry forward their fine showings in Australia to Pakistan and play with a positive mindset. "We played very positively during the recent Australian tour and if we play with the same positive attitude we can win matches in Pakistan."

Speaking on the injury worries to some of the bowlers, Tendulkar said they were part of a cricketer's life. "You have to leave all injuries behind and fight hard. Players learn to deal with that and they are used to carry niggles and fight.

"Our batting looks very good but some of our bowlers had injury problems but are now fit and we are ready to put up a good fight and win," he said.

With all eyes focussed on the outcome of the historic tour, taking place after a gap of nearly 15 years, Tendulkar requested the fans and media not to go overboard.

"All should take responsibility. Not just players, but spectators and the media too. Whatever anyone speaks or writes should be well thought out," he said. "Just as players are trying their best, so that they can play a good game, everyone should try to enjoy the game. I want to tell the people to keep a balanced mind."

Tendulkar shrugged off security concerns on the tour and said, "we are going to Pakistan to play cricket and I don't think there will be any security concern."

The batsman also replied in negative when asked whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to allow the players' families to travel with the team would have any bearing on the performance of the Indians.

"Whether the family is with you or not is not going to make much of a difference as we are going there to play cricket and one has to concentrate hard on the job," Tendulkar said.

"However, in Pakistan it might be a welcome change to have your family with you as we are confined to our rooms most of the time when we are not playing."

Speaking about the pressure playing in Pakistan, he said, "Indo-Pak series has always been a big thing and there is bound to be pressure. Hence, the responsibility to reduce pressure should be shared between players, the media and even the fans.

"Only thing the general public should understand is that no team likes to lose and everyone plays to win," he said. When asked why he was not bowling as much as he used to in the past, Tendulkar, said, "I would love to bowl given a chance as I enjoy bowling as much as I enjoy batting or fielding."

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