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Past record inspires Pakistan
Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 07, 2007 16:05 IST
Pakistan are hoping to draw inspiration from their previous tour in 2004-05 and win the third and final Test against India and level the series.
The visitors have never lost in four previous encounters at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, and beat India by 168 runs in their last appearance in 2004-05 to level the series 1-1.
"I am just telling my team to that we need to win the match, because if we draw it won't make any difference; so we are thinking positively," Pakistan stand-in captain Younis Khan said in Bangalore on Friday.
Younis pointed out to Pakistan's last tour of India, in 2004-05, when they faced a similar scenario as they came to Bangalore facing a 0-1 deficit. Then, too, they escaped in the second Test with a draw before outplaying India in the final one.
Younis said the battling draw in Mohali last time was the much-needed trigger for the team and expressed hope that it will be a repeat.
Pakistan showed great determination in the recently-concluded second Test in Kolkata to escape with a draw and are hoping to carry the momentum into the Bangalore Test.
"In the last match in Kolkata when we were batting in the second innings, I was talking to the team about how we managed to save the match in Mohali [in 2004-05]. We still try and draw inspiration from our performance in that match," he said.
Pakistan will also been helped by the fact that India are struggling with injuries and nearly half the side could miss the third Test.
While Sachin Tendulkar [Images] and Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] are doubtful starters, their bowling in Bangalore will have a completely new look. Regulars Zaheer Khan [Images], R P Singh, Munaf Patel [Images] and S Sreesanth [Images] are all laid low with injuries, giving way to the inexperienced trio of Irfan Pathan [Images], Ishant Sharma and VRV Singh, in conditions that will certainly suit the pacers.
"It doesn't matter who is fit or not [in the Indian team]. We will play according to our game plan. We do not care who is playing or not [for India] because if we go by that it will be a problem. We will need to play hard cricket because we are 0-1 down. I think it is important to remember that we drew the last Test match and didn't win it so we must not be celebrating," he said.
There were reports on Thursday that said Younis was reluctant to lead the side and Pakistan could have a new captain for the third Test. However, he denied all that, saying since he is the vice-captain of the team he has no option but to lead the side.
"The problem is that till I keep playing for Pakistan these things [rumours] will keep happening. I try to run away from the captaincy, but it keeps following me. Even if you see in the past I have been trying to run away from the captaincy because captaining teams like India or Pakistan means that your life is destroyed. So I always try to smile and be relaxed because my performance is affected whenever I am the captain.
The more I run away from the captaincy, the more it keeps coming back and I have no choice but to take it," he said.
When questioned if he was so averse to captaincy then why did he accept to be vice-captain, Younis replied: "I was not the vice-captain before this tour, but for this tour I was requested to be vice-captain because it was such an important tour. I always like to take on challenges so that is why I accepted it."
Despite India being depleted due to injuries, Younis refused to believe that Pakistan will start as favourites.
"Nobody is favourite in this match. It will depend on who wins the toss and only after two days, maybe, we will know who is favourite. As of now, it is a 50-50 game," he said.
He, however, said that Pakistan's experienced pace attack gives them the edge.
"We have a good pace attack. We have good pace bowlers who can win the match for us."
The 30-year-old, however, said Pakistan is not entirely dependent on pace ace Shoaib Akhtar [Images], who has taken eight wickets in the two Tests.
"Shoaib Akhtar is a big player and the world's fastest bowler, so definitely he is an important player for us. But what I am saying that if you put additional pressure on a particular player then it creates a problem.
"If you see, in the last two Tests, he has played well because there is no pressure on him and he has played freely. So there is nothing like if he doesn't perform we will not win. And we don't put so much pressure on Shoaib Akhtar. We will try to see that he enjoys the game," he said.
Younis also reiterated that Pakistan are not too bothered about Shoaib enjoying late nights.
"It is Shoaib's own life and you can't stop him. What he likes, he is free to do it," he said.