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Anything is possible

By Inzamam-ul-Haq


When India toured Australia in 2003-04, just about everybody had written them off even before the series had started. Some had even predicted that India would lose 2-0. But we all know what happened in the first Test at Brisbane. India not only grabbed the upper hand in that drawn Test, but their fighting display set the tone for the rest of the series that ended 1-1.

When we landed in India, we too were written off by the critics and the media, but our super show in Mohali has given me the confidence to say that it will be a different team from here on and anything is possible in this series.

People are saying that our boys performed a miracle in Mohali. I think it was bigger than that. Some of my former colleagues had branded my side as the weakest ever to tour India, but as I had said in my column earlier, ours is a talented, but inexperienced side. In Mohali my young team delivered when it mattered most.

I agree, winning is important in modern day sport, but I also feel fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds and keeping adversity at bay can sometimes be a bigger achievement. Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq did just that with some help from the others.

On the final day they fought it out in the middle against an experienced Indian attack but I missed it all. I found the tension in the dressing room unbearable, so I locked myself up in the wash room and spent the next three-and-a-half hours agonising — pacing up and down, fearing that our innings would end shortly.

However, with each passing minute, my hopes kept rising. It was only when Akmal got to his maiden hundred that I came out.

The first Test in a three-match series is always crucial, for, if you lose that, it becomes very difficult to come back. Now that we have drawn the first game, the second Test in Kolkata will in all probability decide the fate of this series.

Our bowlers struggled a bit initially in Mohali, but on the third day they came into their own and bowled to a definite plan. Sami, Razzaq and Naved kept things tight and that's how we managed to slow down India. Bowlers are often judged by the number of wickets they take, but in my book, how they bowl under pressure is a better indicator of their class.

A revelation

Danish Kaneria was a revelation in his first Test on Indian soil. Bowling to top players of spin bowling is not easy and Kaneria showed that he not only has guile and variation, but that he also has the aggression and hunger to be successful. He passed the Mohali test with flying colours and I expect him to graduate in Kolkata.

I still feel India are the favourites, but post-Mohali, the onus is on them to live up to that tag. Playing before home fans in the sub-continent invites a lot of pressure. Sourav and his boys must overcome that as well as my fighting unit to win the series.

CafeCricket

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