Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Akhtar~~s action suspect? You know it: Ganguly

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 18:30 [IST]
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Rawalpindi:Pakistan's tearaway fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar may have put in a fiery performance in front of his home crowd in his 100th One-day international yesterday but Indian captain Sourav Ganguly's comments on his bowling action may leave him fuming.

The 'Rawalpindi Express' generated a lot of pace to return with figures of 9-1-49-3 to help Pakistan win the second One-dayer against India by a slender 12-run margin but his bowling action again came up for discussion.

Asked whether he felt that all of Akhtar's deliveries were legal, Ganguly said, "What do you think, watching on TV? I think we all know the answer, don't we?"

Although Ganguly left it to the media to make its own judgement, it was bound to fuel yet another debate on Akhtar's controversial bowling action.

The Indian captain said the five-match one-day series would turn out to be a very high-scoring and closely fought contest on such batting-friendly tracks.

"It will be very difficult for any side to contain the opposition between 275 and 300," he said.

"The way this One-day series is going, it will be very difficult for any side to contain the opposition between 275 and 300. Whichever side is bowling first or second should make sure that they don't give more than 280 runs.

"Once the score gets to 330 it's very difficult for the side batting second. Unless something drastic happens this is going to be a series of big scores," Ganguly said.

On what was the turning point of the match, the Indian skipper said it was difficult to pin point the turning point in such a close match. "You can't say what the turning point is. You have to fight till the very end. But it was not an easy track to bat on".

"It's been tight so far. I cannot predict, but the way it's going, looks like it's going to be a tight series".

When reminded that extras were the second highest scorer in India's innings after Sachin Tendulkar's masterly 141, he said, "I think it's a question of having partnerships. Me and Sachin had a partnership of 70 runs, Sachin and Rahul had a partnership of 100 runs. That's how this game goes".

"When somebody gets in and makes a big one. It doesn't happen that all eleven score runs. If that happened the tally would be 1000. It was Sachin's day and he made a big one. I hope it's Sachin's day in the next game as well".

Ganguly also cleared the confusion over Ashish Nehra's availability for the second one-dayer after vice-captain Dravid said that he would not play because of a swollen left ankle.

"His ankle was swollen the day before the match so I was a bit surprised that he said that he would not play. But obviously with all the treatment he recovered. His ankle responded well and he was able to play," he said.

"It was good for us because he bowled outstandingly. I did not know when Rahul made the announcement yesterday. I was not there. You also have to realise that some injuries may heal up or improve overnight. So it's not always possible to make the right statement at the right time," he said.

Ganguly also said that a One-day century has eluded him mainly because of the fact that he was batting lower in the order, which deprived him of the few extra overs.

"I'm batting at No. 4 these days. I've scored my hundreds opening. I can't remember how many games I've not scored a 100. Obviously when you play as a frontline batsman it's important to score hundreds. The thing is also that batting at No. 4 means you don't get the extra overs early on which I used to get," he said.

Ganguly was also impressed with the performance of debutant Ramesh Powar saying that he showed a lot of courage.

"I think he showed a lot of courage. It's not easy to come straight from first-class cricket and face bowling at 150 kilometres per hour. He scored runs against pace so it's a good sign for him and the team."

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