The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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It's still advantage India: Rameez
- 'Pak aren't underdogs, but shift in balance hasn't been enough to make it 50-50'

Calcutta: Pakistan may have come off with more pluses in Mohali, but Rameez Raja has no doubt the advantage is still with India.

The second Test gets underway here on Wednes-day.

'Today, Pakistan aren't the underdogs, but the shift in balance hasn't been enough to make it 50-50. The advantage remains with the home team,' the former Pakistan captain told The Telegraph.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Rameez added: 'The shift in balance, though, has been more mental' Not so much on the skills front'

In the city on a TV assignment, he acknowledged India's batting will always be a 'threat' and that Pakistan had to 'neutralise' the Sachin Tendulkars.

'Danish Kaneria, I think, did a fantastic job in Mohali (six for 150 in the first innings). He spun on what really was a dead wicket and looked in absolute control. That even Sourav Ganguly, an excellent player of spin, couldn't put him away is reflective of the impact he had.

'The bread-and-butter leg spin apart, Kaneria has a good googly and has developed the flipper. He attacked with close-in fielders and the Indians must watch him closely,' Rameez opined.

Praising Pakistan's strategy on the last day in Mohali, he said: 'Forcing a draw was the agenda and everybody worked towards that... A common goal was brilliantly realised' With this being a three-Test-series, strategy becomes more important now'

Rameez also lauded the 'tight cricket' by Pakistan on the third afternoon. 'The captain has been firm about being tight and, at an important stage, the Indians were kept in check.'

Talking about the expected recall of Harbhajan Singh, he observed: 'I guess it's going to be tricky' The Indians have to be clear whether they want to attack straightaway, in which case retain the three seamers, or go for the kill in the second innings, when two specialist spinners will be needed'

Rameez termed as 'unfortunate' the shoulder injury to Rana Naved-ul Hasan, which has taken him out of the XI.

Incidentally, the decision to pick Shahid Afridi in place of Salman Butt was taken much after our chat, but Rameez is bound to be thrilled.

After all, he has been calling for Afridi's inclusion as he sees him as a potential matchwinner in 'Indian conditions.'

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