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  VVS Laxman
Sledging -
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Cricket for India

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Cricket for India

Cricket for India

PLAYING PAKISTAN
 

- By VVS Laxman   

Cricket for India

Cricket matches between India and Pakistan have always been very special. There are several reasons for the same, but the most important one is the expectations of the public of both countries. Another factor, which probably doesn't hold true today, is that the two countries didn't play each other all that frequently.
 



An Indian cricket fan in
Mohali during the first Test
of the 2004-05 series

We are often asked how we prepare ourselves for a match against Pakistan, and whether our methods of preparation are any different from what we normally do.

The fact is that there is more pressure on us when we play Pakistan. But we do try to prepare and take the match in a very professional manner, like we do for any other international game. If we start taking things too emotionally, we could end up putting ourselves under greater, undue pressure. The idea is to just concentrate on our game, play to our potential and execute the plans that have been hatched for the opposition.

I grew up watching the matches played between the two countries, but I never really realised the intensity of the expectations of fans until I started participating in the matches myself. Most of the games between the 'traditional rivals' have been enjoyable and exciting. The highest point for me was India's win in the quarter-final of the 1996 World Cup, and the lowest point was Javed Miandad's last-ball six at Sharjah in 1986.

 

I used to admire quite a few Pakistani cricketers. My favourites were Imran Khan for his charisma and leadership, Zaheer Abbas for his talent and style, Wasim Akram for the infinite variations in his bowling and complete mastery of them. But the player who inspired me the most was Javed Miandad. He was a real match-winner for his team. His appetite for runs was unbelievable and his knack of winning matches from nowhere was his greatest quality.

Touring Pakistan with the Indian team in 2004 was the most memorable experience of my cricketing career. I used to always hear and read about Pakistan, but it was my first visit to that country. I must admit that the entire team was a little apprehensive before going on that tour. But the hospitality and the warmth of the people exceeded our imagination. It was as if the entire nation had got together to welcome us! The cricket itself was competitive. The one-day series went right down to the wire and I was really pleased to score an important hundred in the decider. I have fond memories of that knock of 107, which I was told later had come off only 104 balls. We had a great run in the Tests that followed and won the series 2-1. To be a part of the first Indian team to win a Test series in Pakistan was a great feeling. One of the most unforgettable experiences was the visit to the Wagah border. It felt amazing to see your compatriots on the other side!

We have trained hard for the ongoing series and would like to maintain our winning streak. A lot has been written about the Pakistani team being devoid of stars, but we are not taking them lightly. We have played them enough to know that they cannot be underestimated. Ultimately, the team that plays to its full potential will win.
 

 


- By VVS Laxman   

Cricket for India
 

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