LET THERE BE ‘ LIGHT’

Rain threat­ens to play spoil­sport in first ODI in Chen­nai where Pak­istan have fond mem­o­ries

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - BOOKS - Manju Sub­hash Chan­dran CHEN­NAI

Even as Yu­vraj Singh lofted Saeed Aj­mal for three sixes in the penul­ti­mate over on Fri­day, a cou­ple of Pak­istan’s veteran crick­eters were silently work­ing away at the Chep­auk.

It’s dif­fi­cult not to re­mem­ber Mis­bah- ul- Haq, the man who al­most took away the 2007 World T20 tro­phy from In­dia. He may not play in the T20s any­more but now he is Pak­istan’s ODI cap­tain and the more dan­ger­ous for his ex­pe­ri­ence. Younus Khan, an­other se­nior player, has al­ways been a thorny propo­si­tion to In­dia.

With both In­dia and Pak­istan shar­ing the spoils in the T20s, both the coun­tries will now take their bat­tle to the next level, and this time it will be the ex­pe­ri­ence rather than in­trepid flair that will take ei­ther side the dis­tance.

Both Mis­bah and Younus have been in the side long enough to give cre­dence to their ma­tu­rity tag. While Pak­istan abound in young tal­ent, brash­ness does seem to creep in time and again and here is where th­ese two play­ers will be emo­tional lev­ellers.

The pres­sure is only set to in­crease as the se­ries grad­u­ates to the next level. Pak­istan will bank on the two se­nior play­ers in their side to guide them in hours of in­ten­sity. Both Younus and Mis­bah have played against In­dia and know the in­ten­sity of th­ese matches.

Bowl­ing, as ev­i­dent so far, re­mains Pak­istan’s strong suit. Mo­ham­mad Ir­fan ex­cel­lent drainage sys­tem, and if it didn’t rain in the four hours be­fore the match, the game could go ahead as sched­uled with­out any hitch. has been a ‘ tall’ or­der for the In­di­ans, both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. With the likes of Umar Gul and Saeed Aj­mal adding teeth to the at­tack, the onus will be on the young bats­men in the side to fire.

For In­dia, Yu­vraj Singh and Bhu­vnesh­war Ku­mar are the pos­i­tives that have emerged from the two T20s. Yu­vraj’s scin­til­lat­ing 36- ball 72 in the sec­ond T20 gives hope that the form could be trans- muted into the ODI arena too.

Af­ter an im­pres­sive three- wicket haul in the first T20, Bhu­vanesh­war couldn’t get the same nip and move­ment on Motera’s bel­ter. It would be in­ter­est­ing to test his skills in the longer for­mat. With his nat­u­ral swing, he could be an ideal foil to Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda.

Mean­while, Viren­der Se­hwag re­turns to the top, though like Gautam Gambhir, he hasn’t quite been prolific in the shorter for­mat in re­cent times.

And then there is the Chep­auk fac­tor. It’s been rain­ing here since Fri­day evening. Although the sta­dium has fine water- dry­ing fa­cil­i­ties, the MeT’s pre­dic­tions of light to heavy show­ers on Sun­day means the match could be called off with­out a ball be­ing bowled.

As for play­ing at Chep­auk, it is some­thing Pak­istan should cher­ish. They have fond mem­o­ries of this venue. A one­time ODI record of 194, a stand­ing ova­tion by an ap­pre­cia­tive crowd two years later and a 10- wicket haul in the Test. Prob­a­bly, this Pak­istan side could add to the list. the shorter bats­men to stand on a stool to face him.”

— PTI

In­dia skip­per MS Dhoni with his Pak­istan coun­ter­part Mis­bah- ul- Haq dur­ing the ODI tro­phy un­veil­ing in Chen­nai on Satur­day

— PTI

Grounds­men in­spect­ing the MA Chi­dambaram Sta­dium af­ter in­ces­sant rain on Satur­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.