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'Beating Pakistan at home will be a challenge for India'

January 09, 2013

"If we beat them in their own backyard then it will pose a challenge for them to win in Pakistan." -File photo by AP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has said that India will not find it easy to beat Pakistan at home, after his side clinched the three-match one-day international series 2-1 and drew the Twenty20 series 1-1 in India.

Pakistan and India resumed bilateral series after five years. Cricket ties between the two countries were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Ajmal, who recorded his career best figures of 24-5 in the third and final ODI in New Delhi, said that it will be a challenge for India to win in Pakistan.

“We looked at it (the series in India) as a challenge. We felt if we beat them in their own backyard then it will pose a challenge for them to come and try to win in Pakistan. I hope this happens soon,” Ajmal said.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf, who also attended the ODI series, said he was hopeful of India’s return tour to Pakistan this year and denied reports that India has refused to play in Pakistan.

No foreign team has toured Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore in 2009 and Pakistan has played its “home” series mainly in the United Arab Emirates.

“Cricket diplomacy is going on with India,” he said. “The day is not far when India too will come to Pakistan and I am quite hopeful.”

Brushing aside the man-of-the-match award snub, which went to India captain MS Dhoni for being the highest run-scorer for his side during the third ODI, Ajmal said he was not upset and was happy that Pakistan had done well in India.

“I am used to these things. Remember I even didn't get the ICC award. For me the biggest reward was to see our team do well in India,” he said.

Ajmal credited team unity and hard work for Pakistan’s series win, adding that his performance had boosted his confidence.

"That was our simple formula for success. We were positive all the time. We desperately wanted to complete a clean sweep in the ODI series unfortunately this didn't happen," he said.