Pakistan hasn’t toured India for a bilateral series since 2007. During that tour, Pakistan played five ODI’s against their arch rivals, winning two of them. The 2008 Mumbai Terrorists attacks in India had a severe impact on the cricketing ties between the two nations and there was no further cricket played between Pakistan and India.
To cheer up the fans, the two cricket boards have now decided to resume bilateral ties with a short tour in December, consisting of three ODI’s and two T20’s. The tour will start with two T20 games followed by a three match one day series. BCCI’s decision was also hailed by former Pakistan Captain Imran Khan.
“I welcome India’s decision to revive cricket with Pakistan,” Imran told reporters in Karachi. “Anything which can bring both the countries to negotiations and normalcy is very good and we must appreciate that.”
“The prospect of India and Pakistan playing against each other is a good news for international cricket because these matches are followed by millions across the world. The Indo-Pak matches are special because of the high tension and whoever deals with that extreme pressure comes out as the winner.”
Pakistan has enjoyed great success against India since the two countries started to play cricket at international level. Their 69-48 win-loss record suggests they have dominated their counterparts from India more often than not. However, in recent times it is India who seems to have the upper hand.
The men in Blue have won their last three meetings against Pakistan. Going back to the 2009 Asia Cup, India clinched a thriller against Pakistan as they reached home with just one wicket in hand. Harbhajan Singh smacked two towering sixes to take his side to a famous victory.
Who can forget the India-Pakistan 2011 World Cup semi-final. The two teams were facing each other for the first time in almost a year. With home crowd working in their favour, the Indians secured a comfortable 31 run victory over their opponents. Full of confidence, they went on to beat Sri Lanka in the final to be claim their second World Cup title.
The 2012 Asia Cup clash also resulted in a disaster for Pakistan as they lost the match despite posting a mammoth 329/6 on the board. Virat Kohli played one of the finest innings of all time to floor the neighbours. Pakistan have also lost all three T20 games against India.
So what a win in India will mean to Pakistan team? It will mean a world of good for them as they have not beaten India in their last three bilateral ODI series including two home series. There is no denying the fact Pakistan have extremely talented bowlers and batsmen in their squad. Akmal brothers, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq and Nasir Jamshed can provide solidity at the top of the order but it is the batting where Pakistan had struggled in recent times.
Sometimes, being talented is not enough to win pressure games and perhaps, that is one area Pakistan will be looking to improve. If batsmen execute their game plan to perfection, Pakistan will have a decent chance of emerging victorious. However, the biggest challenge for Pakistan team will be negotiate the Indian spinners on slow turning tracks.
Pakistan’s bowling attack is one of the best in the business. They may be short of fast bowlers these days but the men in Green have high quality spinners in their side. Saeed Ajmal, of course, will be leading the pack and young Raza Hassan can also prove to be handy in Indian conditions.
But Indian batsmen have shown in the past they can handle Ajmal and his Doosras. The battle between Ajmal and Kohli will be the most anticipated.
Pakistan’s Captain Misbah ul Haq will be looking to get the best out of Junaid Khan and Umar Gul; the two struggled with their line and length all through the past season.
Team India, on the other hand, will be feeling optimistic ahead of the series. They have some of the best batsmen in their lineup, all capable of destroying any bowling attack on any given day. The Tendulkar’s, the Sharmas’, the Kohli’s, the Raina’s will be eager to prove their mettle. Above all, Indian batsmen are the masters of scoring runs on flat tracks. It will be an uphill challenge for the bowlers to control the flow of runs against powerful Indian batting lineup.
So who is the favourite to win the winter clash? Of course, it is India. However, we cannot write off Pakistan either as they are the most unpredictable team on the face of this planet. Over the course of many years, they have beaten the best and lost to the worst. Making a prediction about them is never an easy thing to do. However, considering India’s dominance in recent times, they are the favourites on paper.
While I talked about India’s domination over Pakistan in recent times, an interesting fact should also be highlighted here. Pakistan is the only team to have more wins in India than losses. Out of 27 matches they have played in India, Pakistan has won seventeen.
Pakistan against India
If Pakistan can pull off a victory in India in the next month, it will be very big for them and the fans; in fact bigger than the 2009 T20 World Cup Triumph. Pakistan-India matches are followed by millions across the world because of the high tension involved. Eventually, the team that can deal with the pressure will come out on top.