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India to test their bench strength
November 17, 2007 18:50 IST
With the fate of the series firmly sealed in India's favour, the trio of Zaheer Khan [Images], R P Singh and Harbhajan Singh [Images] would sit out of the fifth and final cricket one dayer against Pakistan in Jaipur on Sunday.
Going into the final match with an unassailable 3-1 lead, the Indian think-tank has decided to rest them and test their bench strength.
"Now that the series has already been decided, we would like to give chance to others who have not played in the series," cricket manager Lalchand Rajput told reporters here on Saturday.
Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik [Images] is to take Harbhajan's place while Praveen Kumar looks certain to win his maiden one-day cap.
"With the trio being rested, you have a 12-member squad and we would decide the final eleven only after having a look at the pitch tomorrow," Rajput said.
Rajput felt the gruelling home series against Australia prepared India for the series against Pakistan and the result was there for all to see.
"That series did a world of good to us. It was a tough series and helped us get into the groove before taking on Pakistan."
While all seems going well for the side, Rajput said Sachin Tendulkar missing century for the second time in the series has left the camp disappointed.
"The entire team is disappointed that he missed on yet another century. But he himself is happy that the team has won and would not mind missing one more if that ensures team's victory. But I think he is keen to get his century and hopefully we would see it as soon as possible," he said.
He also shot down suggestions that Tendulkar was getting nervous in the 90s.
"Had he become nervous, he would not have scored so many centuries in the first place. It started in England [Images] where umpires did him in and later on it was circumstances."
Rajput, meanwhile, claimed that India had solved the problem of bowling at death and said, "I think in the recent matches, we have shown the difference."
Though the match has been rendered inconsequential, Rajput predicted a tough fight tomorrow.
"The wicket seems good and hard, even though dew would be a factor. Expect a good contest tomorrow," he said.