Pakistan aim to seal ODI series against India in Kolkata today

January 03, 2013 - 1:02:13 am

India’s Virender Sehwag has not fired for a long time with the bat.

Kolkata:  Struggling with the new rules and batting blues, India have their task cut out in a must-win second ODI of the three-match series against Pakistan here today.

Down 0-1 after a comprehensive defeat in the Chennai opener, India go into the tie at the iconic Eden Gardens, trying to rebuild the team after the departure of some of their top stars -- the latest being batting great Sachin Tendulkar.

Leading a comparatively young side, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be keen on reproducing his Chennai batting form in a match where defeat would seal the series in favour of the Misbah-ul Haq-led Pakistan.

In the first game, Dhoni had struck a fighting unbeaten 113, though ultimately in a losing cause, after a top order collapse that saw India tottering at 29/5 at one stage.

Of particular worry to the Indian team management is the form of Virender Sehwag, who has aggregated only 216 at a sub-par average of 21.6 last year in the 50-over format. 

And the single-digit score (4) at Chennai has come at a time when he was expected to shoulder more burden after Tendulkar’s retirement.

Runs have dried up from Rohit Sharma’s blade too. The 25-year-old Mumbai batsman has managed a miserly 89 in his last 10 ODI innings.

Compounding the batting problems is Virat Kohli’s right knee injury sustained during the first game of the series, and youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja must be fancying their chances of taking on Pakistan at the Eden.

Misbah-ul Haq has every reason to feel confident about his bowling arsenal.

With the young fast bowler Junaid Khan, who rattled the Indian top order with a 4/43 effort in the previous outing, already being regarded as another Wasim Akram in the making.

Besides dependable pacers Umar Gul and Mohammad Irfan, the visitors have in their ranks spinners of the calibre of Mohammed Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik. 

Misbah-, who has been described as “captain cool” by his coach Dav Whatmore, said that as a leader of the team it is essential not to show emotions on the field.

“As the captain, it is essential that you do not show emotions or anger on the field. On the field there is no place for emotions. The important thing is you give your 100 percent and not think about winning or losing which is not under your control,” Misbah told mediapersons here.

Misbah also exuded confidence about his team doing well at the Eden where Pakistan have won all the three ODIs they have played against India.

“It certainly gives you confidence. Both as a team and players, we have very good memories from here. When you have done well at a particular venue you feel confident but at the same time we need to play well here to win,” said Misbah.

Meanwhile, former India cricketer Gundappa Viswanath refused to blame Dhoni for the team’s dismal performance in the recent past and hoped Team India would bounce back against the visiting Pakistanis.

“The controversy on whether Dhoni should be the captain or not, will go on. It will be inappropriate for me to comment on that. But as a captain, Dhoni has a good record except in the last few series,” Viswanath told mediapersons here.IANS