The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Inzamam and the awaam’s fever...
- Pressure will be more on Pakistan: Sehwag

Lahore: Inzamam-ul Haq had just come out of the Pearl Continental’s Shalimar Hall after the unveiling of the trophy (Allianz Cup) for the three-Test series, on Monday evening, when Shaharyar Khan took him by the arm and whispered “Captain, aap jaldi jao and take rest.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman’s concern was understandable: With the mercury having dipped to minus one the other night, this isn’t quite the time to be under the weather. Moreover, the series gets underway on Friday.

Inzamam, though, didn’t look worried. Asked by The Telegraph whether he was actually down with fever, he quipped: “India-Pakistan series mein to poore awaam ko bukhar ho jata hai ... Agar mujhe hai bhi, to kya hua'”

The Pakistan captain, who is moving towards wielding the clout Imran Khan once enjoyed, also gave a light-hearted answer to whether Sourav Ganguly figured in his plans for the first Test. “First, you tell me whether Sourav figures in his own team’s game plan!”

At the moment, he doesn’t.

Inzamam, incidentally, won’t be heading for native Multan to celebrate Id (on Wednesday). “There’s no point, as I’ll have to return the very next day... So, the entire family is going to assemble in Lahore itself...”

Meanwhile, Virender Sehwag expects “kafi accha muqabla” both in the Tests and the five ODIs.

Sehwag, who interacted with the Media after the drawn tour opener at the Bagh-e-Jinnah, said the next few weeks would be a “challenge” for both Team India and Pakistan. He added: “At home, the pressure will be more on Pakistan.”

Asked whether the Indians had particularly prepared for Shoaib Akhtar, he replied: “Yes, by practising with hard synthetic balls... The mental preparation has been there, too... In any case, the match against Pakistan A gave batsmen and bowlers the chance to get into groove.”

Sehwag, of course, himself played no part in the tour opener. Sourav, Anil Kumble and Parthiv Patel fell in the same category.

The vice-captain pointed out he wasn’t resting on the past and that the career-best 309 was “two years ago” ' in the first Test (Multan) of the 2003-04 Revival Series. “Past ko bhool jaiye... A new series is about to begin.”

That’s the pro approach.

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