Pakistan’s convincing wins against India in the ongoing ODI series has surprised the country’s former captain Zaheer Abbas, who believes Misbah-ul-Haq’s men handled the pressure of the situation better than the home side.
Pakistan, leading the three-match series 2-0, won the first game by six wickets before recording a thumping 85-run victory in the second game. The manner is which India folded led Abbas to suggest that perhaps the hosts were tired and uninspired.
Prior to this, MS Dhoni’s side were handed an embarrassing 2-1 Test series defeat by England, the visitor’s first such triumph on India soil in 28 years. So when Pakistan arrived, the boys in blue had a point to prove but were clearly found wanting.
“I did not expect such wins. It was a battle of nerves and Pakistan did better to win it. On the contrary, the Indian players were tired. They have played too much cricket recently and have not performed to the potential,” Abbas told PTI-Bhasha.
Pakistan appeared a better-gelled outfit and Abbas particularly lauded the effort of its bowling line that was up against a celebrated Indian order.
“Pakistan has done exceptionally well. Nasir (Jamshed) and (Mohammed) Hafeez were particularly brilliant with the bat while bowlers like Umar (Gul), Junaid (Khan) and (Saeed) Ajmal did not let the famed Indian batting line-up open their hands,” Abbas, widely known as 'Asian Bradman' for his run scoring abilities, said.
“Pakistani bowlers maintained an accurate line and length and none of the Indian top order batsmen could fire.”
Abbas was of the view that perhaps the Indian side succumbed to the pressure of performing at home and defended under-fire skipper Dhoni.
“Naturally there is additional pressure to perform in front of a home crowd and it tends to increase when India and Pakistan play each other. A captain alone cannot win matches. A captain is as good as the team. Bowlers and batsmen have to perform. It was due to Dhoni's unbeaten century that India managed to get a decent score in the first match and in the second match also he batted well.”
Predicting a sweep for Pakistan, Abbas said, “I think this team can do this. Pakistan can clean sweep the series in Delhi and if it happens, it will be a blessing for Pakistan cricket.”