| Ramesh Powar
Islamabad: There’s a huge uncertainty over Harbhajan Singh’s participation in the remaining four matches of the one-day series. Not willing to take any chances, the team management in consultation with national selector Sanjay Jagdale, who is accompanying the side, decided to call up Ramesh Powar as the 16th member.
The Mumbai allrounder is expected to arrive here on Wednesday, well ahead of the second match in nearby Rawalpindi on Saturday. India lost the opening match by the Duckworth/Lewis method.
According to sources, the swelling on the off-spinner’s right index finger has not subsided and with the home series against England starting next month, the Indians are not wanting to risk him. As of now he’s staying but the decision might change. Harbhajan did not forget to remind waiting mediamen that he is upset with the injury, before leaving for the tea party at the Indian High Commission in the evening. Both teams were invited along with the match officials.
Harbhajan, who missed the 2003-04 tour because of surgery, got injured in Karachi while fielding as a substitute. Powar, on the other hand, was also a member of the squad last time. The Indians are expecting dead batting wickets in the series, as witnessed in Peshawar, and a slow bowler could be much useful than a pacer in the circumstances. Moreover, Murali Kartik’s performance has also not been satisfactory.
There is talk of playing four specialist bowlers, instead of the five that was used in the first game, and distributing the fifth’s quota between Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh.
The Indians drove into Pakistan’s capital city ' it takes three hours to cover the 175km from Peshawar ' in the afternoon to the news that Match Referee Chris Broad had fined the players 10 per cent of their match fee and the captain 20 per cent for being two overs short on Monday.
Located against the backdrop of Margalla Hills at the northern edge of Potohar Plateau, this well planned city is distinct with its greenery and boulevards. The Muharram processions, that left traffic clogged for hours, is not to be missed at this time of the year.
Meanwhile, there’s been no official word as yet, but President Gen. Pervez Musharraf might host the Indians during their stay here. The President, a known cricket lover, had met the players and watched the match during their trip in 2004. He also visited New Delhi to watch the final one-dayer during Pakistan’s return tour.