Indo-Pak series will be tough: Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar said that both India and Pakistan have momentum going into their upcoming three-Test rubber.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said that both India and Pakistan have momentum going into their upcoming three-Test rubber which he predicted would be a great series. "We both have good momentum going into the series. Pakistan have done well against England and we have won at home (against Sri Lanka). It's going to be a tough and great series," the champion batsman said at a press conference on Wednesday. Asked for his reaction to former Pakistan captain Imran Khan's comments that the Indians would struggle this time around because of wintry conditions, Tendulkar said these conditions were not new to his team. "I come from Mumbai but I have played in such conditions. I have played with two or three pull-overs in England when playing for Yorkshire. And our fast bowlers have done well on the last tour," he retorted. "Last year too, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Akhtar played against us. We don't want to focus on what they do. We want to concentrate on what we have to do and that's what we will be doing," he said further. Tendulkar, however, agreed that the Pakistan team this time around looked better prepared than when they played at home last time against India. "Last time we had the momentum after having done well in Australia where they had not done so well. This time they look a better prepared team," he said. Tendulkar was speaking as chief guest at a function put up by his sponsors MRF to honour its Finnish driver Kussi Valimaki for winning the Asia Pacific Rally Championship under the company's banners with its tyres. On reports from Pakistan that the Indians would be confronted with fast pitches, Tendulkar said the move would benefit the visitors too. "Last time our fast bowlers did extremely well. Playing on fast pitches will help our bowlers too. Ultimately whichever team plays better will win the series," he said. Asked about Indian vice-captain Virender Sehwag's comments that Pakistani batsmen lacked the technique to do well on fast pitches, Tendulkar said that there are players whose techniques are not considered to be good have succeeded at the highest level. Tendulkar, who is set to leave for Pakistan along with the team on January 5, was not willing to comment on the decision of the Indian Cricket Board to ask four players chosen for the tour to delay their departure to Pakistan by a couple of days in order to play Ranji Trophy. "That's a technical thing and I don't want to comment on it," he said on the BCCI move to ask Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble and Parthiv Patel to play for their respective Ranji Trophy teams in the sixth round matches of the national championship (from January 3) before leaving for Pakistan on Jan 7. The world's leading Test ton scorer also expressed surprise when asked about his reaction to the decision of the Pakistan and Indian boards to keep their bilateral engagements to once in two years. "That's news to me and if that decision has been taken they should stick to it," he said. (PTI)