India hopes to set overseas record straight

Published: Sunday, April 4, 2004, 20:37 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Lahore:Rival captains Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan and Rahul Dravid of India begin the second Test in Lahore under contrasting pressures amid growing focus on the greenish wicket.

Pakistan, who lost the first Test at Multan by an innings and 52 runs last week, need a win to stay in contention for winning the high-profile three-match series.

And India hope to overcome their tendency of squandering the lead in overseas series, as they have done in Zimbabwe, the West Indies and Australia over the last three years.

"There is a lot of pressure on us," Inzamam conceded. "You come under tremendous pressure when you are playing at home and not performing well. It is a very difficult situation for us, but I think the wicket in Lahore will help us bounce back as long as the bowlers do their bit."

The rock-hard centre-strip at the Gaddafi stadium, which sports a tinge of grass, is expected to aid Pakistan's pace attack led by Shoaib Akhtar.

But Dravid, leading India in the absence of the injured Sourav Ganguly for the second Test in a row, was confident his team could perform as well as the rivals.

"Any wicket is the same for both teams," he said. "It all depends on how you take advantage of it. If the pitch has been prepared for Pakistan's fast bowlers, I think our seamers are equally capable of exploiting the conditions if they put the ball in the right areas."

Dravid said India, looking to win their first overseas series since beating Sri Lanka in 1993, were determined to set the record straight.

"It's been a long time we won a series outside the country so it will be great to do that," he said. "It is good to know the areas where we are weak and improve on them.

"We have been on a high like this before so I won't say that this is the best opportunity to do it.

"We just want to stick to the basics. History was not on our minds when we came here, but if we can achieve it I will be very happy."

Dravid named a short-list of 13 that excludes spinner Romesh Powar and batsman Mohammad Kaif, putting seamers Ajit Agarkar, Laxmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra in line to take the two available berths behind Irfan Pathan.

"Whoever plays will make it a very handy attack," Dravid said. "It will not be an easy choice, but we will have another look at the wicket on Monday morning before deciding the line-up."

Pakistan, meanwhile, confirmed that wicketkeeper Moin Khan will miss the Test due to a groin injury.

Moin's place will be taken by 22-year-old Kamran Akmal, who has played four Tests.

"Losing Moin is not good, but Kamran is an able replacement," Inzamam said. "He is a very promising player and I expect him to do well."

Inzamam said he was not concerned either about the scathing criticism his team had received in the media, nor about the growing demand for him to step down as captain.

"My worry is not the captaincy but about how well the team performs in the remaining two Tests because the fate of the series hinges on these two matches," he said.

"A team can bounce back with one good session and I hope we can get that session in this match.I know the whole team wants to do better than Multan, including Shoaib Akhtar. I hope we will not disappoint our fans."

Write Comments