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    January 16, 2006

    Pakistan afraid of losing?

    When Ganguly talks to curators, it always makes the news headlines and a lot of people criticize him and some even go to the extent of giving it a mention in their autobiographies. But, there was hardly any shout against Inzamam when he openly wanted bouncy tracks for this series against India. Having seen the wicket at Lahore, now everyone wants better wickets for the next 2 Tests.

    What surprises me more is that none of these so-called analysts and experts predicted that this wicket was such a lifeless batting wicket until Pakistan finished their first innings. Everyone kept saying that if the batsman can play himself in for a few overs, this wicket is his and would even assist the spinners later on. If they are experts, can't they talk about it before the toss or atleast at the end of day 1, when everyone were just praising Younis & Yousuf? Yes, they batted very well and put up huge scores, but where was all this criticism about the wicket on the first day. When India started to bat brightly, all the criticism started. Does this convey that all those experts expected only Pakistan to fare well. It might probably take all of the year 2006 to dismiss both sides twice on this wicket. As Zainub has pointed out, there have been flatter batting tracks, but my concern is that we are not hearing the real "experts".

    To me, such a pitch shows only Pakistan's fear of losing, especially in the first Test of a series. Though Inzamam talked about good bouncy bowling wickets to the press, I am pretty convinced that a lot of people (including Inzamam) had a say in this flat wicket, as they were a bit scared of giving a green top to Pathan and an improved Agarkar and even a rejuvenated Zaheer.

    This said, I have just been spellbound by Nasser Hussain behind the microphone. This is not the Nasser whom I have hated in front of the wickets. I have just heard a lot of good things about cricket from him in the last 3 days and I really look forward to this series with him. In fact, I am fairly sure that he would be even more delightful in better company than the two at present.

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    7 sledge(s):

    Inzy did request green-tops and fast,bouncy pitches in public and probably requested the curator too. Ramiz Raja might have let the cat out of the bag when he said on air 'Inzy did ask for fast pitches coz he's comfortable facing any attack on them but I do not think that the rest in the top-order are in the same class' which could be close to the truth. End of the day.. whoever it was, PCB, Inzy or rest of the team.. super-dead parking-lot wicket.. and I think the Pak bowlers have got the worst of the deal.. they did make 679-7 but India is still 403-0 and going strong.. with all apparent dissent of ganguly's inclusion and the 'seeds of doubt' dismissed from the dressing room.. atleast for now.. and Pak strength, the bowling attack probably mentally and physically down too. Should be an interesting 'Faisla'bad Test where one can definitely expect a knee-jerk reaction and a responsive pitch.. a la Wankhede when Aussies visited India last year.

    By Blogger Beowulf (16-Jan-2006, 9:49:00 PM)  

    Oh common, 'afraid' of losing sounds like a line straight from an Indian soap, no team in the world is 'afraid' of losing, not even Zimbabawe and Bangladesh.

    Just because we'd rather not have a pitch that doesn't expose our weakness(es) on the expense of exploiting our strength(s), it hardly means we are a negative side, or that we're scared of losing or that we're happy with draws.

    I've made my self clearer here:

    http://blogs.cricinfo.com/different_strokes/archives/2006/01/the_self-image.php#comments

    By Blogger Zainub (17-Jan-2006, 2:40:00 AM)  

    beowulf: I don't think Inzi asked for 'green tops'. Like I mentioned in my post last week, even wickets with a fair amount of juice in them would have been out of the question because in my opinion, Pakistan's batting with the exception of Inzamam would not have survived in those conditions.

    zainub: I am not aware of the weather conditions which made the pitch preparation difficult. But how likely is it that we'll see similar pitches at Faisalabad and Karachi? From a map, it seems like Faisalabad and Lahore at a similar latitude. Karachi, being closer to Bombay and at the southern tip, is more likely to have better weather. So I don't think too much time will be lost there.

    By Blogger Jagadish (17-Jan-2006, 5:41:00 PM)  

    'afraid' may not be the word, but certainly pak did a lot of harm to this test by giving such a 'safe' wicket where they cant lose.

    and also, why has no one raised a question against inzy for doctoring pitches?

    By Blogger Ganesh (17-Jan-2006, 5:59:00 PM)  

    jagadish: i m pretty sure about this article (inzy asking for green-tops)as it came a week before the series started in the Hindu and was followed by a media speak where he had mentioned that Pak's strength was bowling attack and hence the requirement. And ur view is exactly what Ramiz Raja had also mentioned on air.. that nobody apart from Inzy might have coped with them.. and hence the dead wicket later on.. truth be said.. yousuf and younis highly suspect against the moving ball.. evidenced by previous seriesand form. Re. Faislabad and Karachi.. Imran had mentioned earlier that this series will be an one-off decider at Karachi as both Lahore and Faislabad would suffer same weather constraints and could possibly be a tame draw..Karachi being more warmer.. unless one of the teams puts in a god-awful batting display..

    By Blogger Beowulf (17-Jan-2006, 8:07:00 PM)  

    beowulf: I can't remember Inzy saying 'green tops'. He definitely did say bounce and pace though. If you could point us to the relevant source, that'd be interesting to read. Faisalabad is apparently less than 150 km from Lahore. So I really cant see too many weather changes. If they do manage to get the pitch sorted out in spite of the weather, I predict an absolute howler of a wicket at Faisalabad and Karachi so that there is a chance that Pakistan would win (and at worst draw) the series if the toss went their way.

    By Blogger Jagadish (18-Jan-2006, 1:02:00 AM)  

    Agree with your comments on Naseer Hussain. He speaks well.

    By Blogger Rishi Gajria (18-Jan-2006, 6:15:00 AM)  


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