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India-Pakistan Series Preview

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Post those infamous Mumbai attacks in 2008; this will be the first India-Pakistan bi-lateral series. Although there are apprehensions whether this series should have been played, it is underway. The cross-border diplomacy and socio-political manoeuvring have made sure that India have to play a sandwich series pressed between Tests and T20s against England and 50 overs cricket series.

Pakistan on the other hand shall be happy. The attacks on Sri Lankan team’s bus have resulted in an outrage that consequently resulted in no foreign team traveling to Pakistan. Hence, Pakistan are making sure that they latch onto any opportunity that allows them to play. This time around, it is Team India who will host them for 2 T20s and 3 match ODI series. These two teams share a fiercely competitive cricketing rivalry. And their socio-political-economical history adds a different perspective to the entire contest.

Head to Head

Matches India Pakistan
Tied No Result
T20Is 3 3 0 0 0
ODIs 121 48 69 0 4
ODIs (in India)
27 10 17 0 0

Last 5 Matches (India vs Pakistan)

  India Pakistan
Tied
No Result
ODIs 3 2 0 0
ODIs (in India) 3 2 0 0


The series will commence with a Twenty 20 to be played at Bangalore. Ahmedabad will host the second T20. These two teams have played 3 T20Is so far (none in India) and India have won all of them (one match was tied and won in Super over). The noteworthy being the victory in the final of 2007 T20 World Championship. However, it should be remembered that Misbah has played a crucial role in taking Pakistan closer to the victory in 2 of the 3 times. There is no surprise that he tops the list of highest run scorers for Pakistan against India in the shortest format of the game. However he is no longer the part of T20 scheme of things. Mohd. Hafeez who captained Pakistan in 2012 World T20 Championship, will be leading Team Pakistan in these two T20s. On the bowling front, Pakistan is canny with their spin. Although ICC failed to get impressed, Saeed Ajmal has done no wrong while impressing everyone else. Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Afridi (last two for T20s) will support Ajmal in spin bowling department.

As always the pace bowling unit has many interesting prospects to offer. Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul and the new addition Mohd. Irfan too name a few. Mohd. Irfan will go back post T20s and Wahab Riaz will join Team Pakistan for one dayers. He was prolific in the last game India-Pakistan played in the 50 overs format. On the batting front, Pakistan have included Younis Khan in the ODIs. Although the batting has the potential, it has fumbled in recent times. Younis’s record against India can be the other factor that must have encouraged Pakistan team selectors to include him. But there remain no doubts about the talent Pakistan’s batting line up possesses. Nasir Jamshed, Umar Akmal and Azhar Ali are some of them.

India on the other hand have a more balanced and youthful yet experienced side on their hands. India’s bowling line up is undergoing a serious makeover. Irfan Pathan who leads the list of highest wicket takers in T20s against Pakistan is out due to injury. RP Singh’s whereabouts on cricketing maps have disappeared since quite some time. Zaheer Khan is out because of bad form. Ishant Sharma is making a comeback in the shorter format after a long break. Awana and Ashok Dinda don’t have more than 10 games between them. Shami Ahmed’s inclusion though, is a welcome move. Although he is yet to play an international game, his outings during A tours and Ranji season have been impressive. It will be interesting to see how he performs, although T20s are not the best settings to test a player’s temperament. Spin department has Ashwin and Chawla in T20s and Amit Mishra comes in place of Chawla in 50 overs format. Yuvraj Singh however, seems to be leading the spinners club with elan. It will be good if Ashwin and others do half of what Yuvraj is doing with the ball.

Although the openers look in shaky form, the batting front looks more secured. Sehwag is making a comeback to 50 overs side, Gambhir’s form has been patchy and Rahane’s inclusion has been infrequent in the final XI. The middle order though has power-packed and in form batsmen. Kohli has been dominating across formats and Raina and Dhoni are known performers in the shorter formats. However, time has come for Rohit Sharma to shed that potential status and turn into a performer mode. Yuvraj Singh’s ability in the shorter format has never been under any doubt. However, the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar will add nostalgia when Team India walks out to the middle for their first ODI. Although he was not playing ODIs that frequently in recent times, he was a colossal of Indian line up.

So, that quite sets it up. Although it will be fascinating of a contest, the series of such intensity deserved a better planned schedule.

Stats by: Karna Yajnik



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