The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
India may retain the Lahore XI
- Rudra Pratap Singh is being discussed, but...

Faisalabad: It’s certain that Pakistan won’t change the XI which did duty at the Gaddafi. With the second Test drawing near, the Indians also appear moving in that direction.

However, according to The Telegraph’s sources, there’s the possibility of capping quick Rudra Pratap Singh and dropping Harbhajan Singh. “No decision has been taken, but the rookie is being discussed. It’s another matter that, eventually, there may not be a change,” a source pointed out late on Thursday.

Thankfully, the powers-that-be were kind and this premier industrial city (incidentally, as dusty as ever) was bathed in sunshine throughout the day. It lessened the headache of Pakistan Cricket Board chief curator Agha Zahid and allowed the world a look at the Iqbal Stadium wicket.

It had reasonable grass ' brown, not green, to help the binding ' and seemed firm as well. It’s to be seen whether it remains that way: Zahid and his men are still working and the Test begins on Saturday.

Former Team India captain Sourav Ganguly was one of those who had a real close look at the wicket. “It looks good... Hope I’ll get to bat,” he quipped. He didn’t in the first Test, but pocketed $ 400 for the safest pair of hands.

When somebody reminded Sourav about that stupendous catch which dismissed Rana Naved-ul Hasan, he laughed: “Don’t tell me that, now, you’re satisfied with only a catch from me!”

Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh also had to miss out on a hit at the Gaddafi, but is “very happy” with the team’s performance. “Veeru (Virender Sehwag) was amazing... He was determined to go beyond the 30s and produced a great knock... You need to look at his average (112-plus) to appreciate where he stands against Pakistan,” he said.

Yuvraj added: “We (in the dressing room) were hoping a boundary would be struck when the score was 410, something that would have given the world record to Veeru and Rahul Dravid, but I suppose everything can’t happen in one match.”

Sehwag got out at that score, which meant the Pankaj Roy-Vinoo Mankad opening wicket feat stayed.

Asked whether he ‘read’ wickets, Yuvraj replied: “I don’t bother too much... My job is to get runs, irrespective of what is offered... With Shoaib Akhtar and Danish Kaneria, Pakistan have one of the best attacks...”

Talking about the excitement being much less on this tour compared to 2003-04, he observed: “That’s because the ODIs were held first on that trip... Where I’m concerned, Indo-Pak cricket always has the hype and the pressure on us players never gets reduced.”

To a question whether he found it tough preparing himself mentally when the batting order appeared unsettled, Yuvraj answered: “No... I prepare to bat and it’s then a matter of adjusting. Nothing more...”

He acknowledged setting “personal targets,” but declined to reveal exactly what he wanted to achieve on this tour ' “let me get them first...”

Email This Page