India well prepared to face Pakistan: Sehwag

Published: Sunday, February 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag on Sunday said India would not repeat the mistakes that cost them the series against Australia when they take on Pakistan in the upcoming cricket series.

Sehwag said whereas India were punished for lack of preparation by the Aussies, the players would be well tuned after playing in domestic cricket when they take on Pakistan in three Tests and six One-day Internationals beginning early next month.

"The Deodhar Trophy, the Challenger Series and the Duleep Trophy have seen international players compete and give their best. We are all preparing in match situations and match practice is most important," Sehwag said.

"We are not having any camps (like we did against Australia), camps are mainly for fitness and training. Now we are in the middle of a season, and all batsmen have shown they are in form," the Delhi batsman said.

Pakistan are scheduled to arrive on February 28 and open their campaign with a three-day game against Board President's XI in Dharamsala from March 3 to 5.

The first Test will be played in Mohali (Mar 8-12) followed by the second in Kolkata (Mar 16-20) and the third in Bangalore (Mar 24-28).

Sehwag, who scored the first ever triple century in Test cricket by an Indian with a 309 against Pakistan in Multan last year, did not agree that he reserves his best forPakistan.

"That is not true because it would mean I have not done well against other teams. It is just that there is some pressure and excitement when playing against Pakistan that brings out that extra bit in your performance," he said.

The flamboyant player also said the absence of Shoaib Akhtar will not affect the visitors' chances in the coming series.

"Shoaib's absence will not matter. Pakistan have other bowlers who can do well, like Rana (Naved-ul-Hasan) and (Danish) Kaneria. They also did well in the One-day series against Australia. To bowl out Australia for less than 250 is a good achievement," he said.Sehwag said constant changes in the opening combination did not affect his batting.

"Not at all. I always concentrate on my batting, not on my partner."

He said neither the non-cricketing issues surrounding the visit by Pakistan, nor the change in rule with regard to illegal bowling actions were a problem.

"It is not an issue for us. It is for the two Boards to deal with," he said when asked to comment on the controversy surrounding Ahmedabad as a Test venue and the pitch-digging attempts by some Shiv Sena activists at Mohali.

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