Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~Cool heads~~ fume on match-fixing charges

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 19:55 [IST]
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Lahore:The cool and affable Pakistani captain Inzamam-ul-Haq reacted with uncharacteristic anger as did India's vice-captain Rahul Dravid when told of speculation that bookies might have influenced the 2-2 score in the One-day cricket series between the two countries.

'Gentle Giant' Inzamam bluntly told a reporter, who raised the question at the post-match press conference after India had levelled the series last night, to "shut up".

India's 'Mr Cool', who had led the successful victory charge for his team, at a separate interaction with reporters, was furious at a similar question and thundered, "will someone take this man out of the room".

Betting and match-fixing allegations pop up in Pakistani cricket in particular from time to time and International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit has deployed four officials to keep an eye on the current high-voltage Indo-Pak series, which has been played in a tremendous sporting spirit.

Dravid said he was determined to stay till the end and take India home in the crucial match. "I wanted to make sure that I was there till the end. The guys at the top of the order set a scorching pace. It was just a question of batting through till the end.

The Indian vice-captain was full of praise for Mohammad Kaif, who struck an unbeaten 71, and was with him till the end to steer India to a five-wicket victory.

"We lost one wicket too many, but it was great batting with Kaif. He kept rotating the strike and it suited my game," he said.

Dravid felt that Pakistan gave up the fight when India needed just 20-25 runs more. "I thought they gave up the fight when 20 to 25 runs were left. They tried hard, but once they bowled out their strike bowlers and we saw that phase through without any damage, they knew we had to make the mistakes to make them have a chance."

Inzamam hoped that his bowlers deliver the goods in the series-decider on Wednesday. "The coach and myself have been working with the bowlers. But they have to be a little more responsible also." Dravid said the Indians were now looking ahead to the decider and said the players would be keen to play to their full potential in the crunch game.

"In the World Cup final and the tri-series final in Australia, we did not play anywhere near our potential. If we play good cricket, winning and losing will take care of itself. I hope we can pick ourselves for Wednesday's game". On his batting position, Dravid said, "I enjoy the role of batting at number five. I had a different role at number three, but this is a new thing. The fact that Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) and Kaif bat behind me has helped me a lot. They run well between the wickets that suit my game. "

Dravid was also not daunted by the fact that the Pakistani fast bowlers have been generating a fair amount of pace in the last couple of matches. "It is a good bowling attack, but pace alone will not be much of a problem. You have to put the ball in the right areas, it's not how quickly you bowl," he said.

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