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Inzamam plays down pressure of India match
November 09, 2004 15:00 IST
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq says his players will only have cricket on their minds when they play a ground-breaking one-day international against India in Kolkata on Saturday.
"It is a very important match for both sides and we know it will be a full house at the Eden Gardens. But the only pressure of playing in India is the huge expectations on us to win," Inzamam told reporters on Tuesday.
The Pakistan team travel to India on Wednesday for the first time since 1999 to play a match being held to celebrate the platinum jubilee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It was formed in the year 1929.
When Pakistan last toured India there were political overtones to the Test series with the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena activists digging up a pitch at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi to protest against a Test match.
The Test at the Eden Gardens was hit by crowd trouble after India's leading batsman Sachin Tendulkar got tangled up with fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and was run out in a freak incident by a direct throw from the boundary.
Pakistan won on the final day after police had to empty the stadium to avoid more crowd trouble.
"This time the conditions are different and I think people of both countries are eagerly waiting for the match. We are also only thinking about cricket," said Inzamam, one of three surviving members of the 1999 squad.
India resumed bilateral cricket relations with Pakistan after a period of nearly four years by playing a one-day and Test series in Pakistan this year.
The series was a success in diplomatic and financial terms for the boards and since then peace talks have been held between the two governments.
Pakistan and India have played three one-day internationals in Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and England since, with Pakistan winning all three.
"We are not complacent because of our previous wins. We know India is a difficult team to beat on home ground. It is not going to be easy for us," Inzamam said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan said the match would continue improving relations between the two countries.
"Cricket will be the winner in Kolkata like it was when India came to Pakistan. There should be no problems," Khan said.
India have invited Pakistan for a Test series in February and March next year.