Home > Cricket > India's tour of Pakistan > Report
'Green pitches might boomerang on Pak'
Ashish Magotra and Harish Kotian in Mumbai |
April 01, 2004 20:31 IST
Following India's historic victory over Pakistan in the first Test at Multan on Thursday morning, the mood among former India cricketers was euphoric. Rediff.com sought former captains Ajit Wadekar and Chandu Borde, and ace fielder Eknath Solkar's views on the country's first victory on Pakistan soil. Excerpts:
Ajit Wadekar (former India skipper, team manager and chairman of selectors)
I think this is very historic. It is a great gift to me on my birthday, which falls on the first of April. That must be the reason why they delayed the victory yesterday (laughs).
They played as a team and played superbly. They have the best batting line-up. Two or three of the batsmen are always in form and get as many runs as possible so that the bowlers get confidence to bowl aggressively.
They are playing as one single unit. I think this is the best team ever sent abroad. They have got the talent and will to win. They tend to be aggressive and keep improving day by day, match by match. This is a good sign and augurs well for the future.
Yes, this team is very well-balanced. Now people will stop saying that our performance abroad is very bad.
Dravid is a damn good captain; he did extremely well in this match. He rotated the bowlers very well and did not allow the Pakistan batsmen to settle against any particular bowler. I don't think he is vying for the captaincy slot; he is quite happy with Sourav Ganguly as captain. In fact, all the team members seem to be happy with Sourav and the way he captains the side. He has made this Indian side into an aggressive unit.
I think the declaration which denied Sachin Tendulkar a double hundred was just a matter of miscommunication or misunderstanding. I think Tendulkar should not have complained; it was very uncharacteristic of him. He got a little bit frustrated because he was concentrating too much to get those remaining runs for the double century in two or three overs. He is very calculative about how to get runs and in how many overs. So he was concentrating only on that. A little bit of frustration must have come out of that. Otherwise, I don't think he would have got the wickets he got later on.
The best thing is to forget about the incident. This was done in the team's interest and Sachin is the first person to realize it, because he always keeps saying that if his runs are not going to help India win then they are useless. He is the perfect team man.
Virender Sehwag plays his natural game and does not go by another's advice. He has got his own style and sticks to it. Because he is talented and has got the technique he has got so many runs in international cricket. On this flat wicket, except Sachin, how many others got runs? Yousuf Youhana scored a century but it was out of desperation and in the dying hours for Pakistan.
Sehwag has tremendous hand-eye co-ordination and what matters at the top level is concentration and temperament, which he has got in ample. It will take him even higher.
The series result should be 3-0 for India. There is talk about having a green pitch for the Lahore Test. If Pakistan plays around with the wickets, the green pitches might boomerang on them, because our bowlers are bowling so well. So they need to be very careful. I think the idea of having green pitches for the next two Tests is stupid because ultimately it will depend upon who wins the toss and how you take advantage of it.
Even on this flat track our bowlers looked more dangerous, especially Irfan Pathan. Even if you get a green top you still need to work hard to get wickets; but if you spray the ball around, like they did in the Indian first innings, Pakistan does not stand a chance. Our bowlers are more accurate and I think we stand a better chance on green wickets.
Our batting also has proved itself. Batsmen like Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sehwag have proved themselves. Akash Chopra is coming up well and Yuvraj Singh is also a good prospect. In Australia, they handled fast bowlers like Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie without any problem. I have no doubt that our batting line-up is the best in the world.
Chandu Borde (former India skipper, manager and chairman of selectors)
It was a fantastic performance. I think this victory is because of the combination of youth and experience; the way both the young and experienced players performed in the Test. It is really very encouraging and shows the quality of our players.
The way they piled the runs and built the pressure on the Pakistani batsmen was really praiseworthy. Getting a total in excess of 600 runs in Pakistan is a fantastic achievement. This win will put Pakistan on the back foot.
This is a good team. This is the team that was selected when I was chairman of the selection committee. Many of the players selected are still there, barring one or two. I am very proud of them.
They performed very well in Australia and that gave them the confidence. It helped them quite a lot in Pakistan.
Dravid led the side very well. He gave Pakistan the follow-on in spite of not having his regular bowler, Zaheer Khan, in the second innings. That shows the positive attitude of the team. In fact, he instilled confidence in all his players and showed them it can be done. That attitude lifted the moral of the team. The way the Indian bowlers bowled, Pakistan just could not get out of the stranglehold they built.
Hats off Virender Sehwag for his triple century. It was really an amazing innings! The way he restrained himself. Changing from the one-day cricket mode to Test cricket is really magnificent. In one-day cricket he throws the bat at everything, but in the Test he controlled himself. His shot selection is really admirable.
India are in the driver's seat now. The confidence derived from the win will help them a great deal in the next two Test matches. Pakistan are under tremendous pressure now. If they continue playing the way they are, I see no reason why India cannot win this series.
Eknath Solkar (former all-rounder and one of India's finest close-in fielders)
It is a great victory and a great achievement for Indian cricket. Anil Kumble's spell, supported by the close-in fielders, on the fourth day put pressure on the Pakistani batsmen.
I used to stand close-in to the great spinners, like Bishen Singh Bedi, E A S Prasanna and B S Chandrashekhar. Now we have found a youngster in Akash Chopra, who can stand close-in without getting scared. He has good reflexes and is not scared of the shots. That is very important.
I never got scared in my playing days when I stood close-in. In my days there were no helmets, shin guards etc. Nowadays you have got a lot of equipment, so you can stand there without any fear. Still, nobody wants to stands there.
Chopra is a brilliant fielder in that position. He is learning and improving with every game. I think it is very necessary not to get scared. You have to be ready and keep your eyes on the ball.
If Chopra comes to me I will definitely help him and provide him with tips. If the BCCI wants me to help him out I would love to impart my knowledge to the young lad for India's cause.
Yuvraj Singh's inclusion was very good and helped the team. He got a chance because of Sourav Ganguly's injury and he proved his worth with that crucial run-out of Inzamam-ul Haq, who is a very dangerous batsman.