Nehra ruled out, Sourav doubtful for Rawalpindi

Skipper Sourav Ganguly is not well and left-arm pace bowler Ashish Nehra has been ruled out of tomorrow's match against Pakistan because of injury.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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India will be looking to consolidate their 1-0 lead in the five-match one-day series against Pakistan tomorrow at Rawalpindi. But there's some bad news for Team India. Sourav Ganguly is a doubtful starter for the day-night tie and Ashish Nehra has been ruled out due to injury. "He has a swollen ankle and would not play the match tomorrow," Indian vice captain Rahul Dravid told reporters in Rawalpindi today. Ganguly apparently has a mild fever and the decision on his playing will only be taken tomorrow. He did not practice at nets today. However, the good news is that VVS Laxman, who had to sit out of the Karachi one dayer, is expected to be back in the team. While a replacement for Nehra yet to be announced, young left-arm bowler Irfan Pathan could be the likely replacement. Nehra has a history of ankle trouble which also forced him to miss action for almost a year after the World Cup in South Africa last February-March. Focus on bowlers India pulled off a narrow win in Karachi last Saturday and Nehra's absence from the squad leaves India's bowling attack looking even more depleted than before, already without ace spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh and seamer Ajit Agarkar. "It was an excellent batting performance, too close for comfort. I thought they batted really well. But you know our weak area is obviously our bowling performance. We need to look at it particularly," said coach John Wright. Meanwhile, Pakistan's bowling attack was bolstered with the return of Shabbir Ahmed. The pace bowler who had missed the Karachi one-dayer because of injury has just returned from Australia after having his action corrected. And that would be good news for Pakistan since it was their batting that nearly pulled off the impossible in Karachi. "You'll see difference the from the first match tomorrow. All the players have worked hard since the first match," said Pakistan coach Javed Miandad. The psychological edge The psychological edge however will be with India after having take a 1-0 lead in the series. In fact, the Pakistani media has come down very heavily on captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq for choosing to bowl first in Karachi, a decision they say cost Pakistan the match. Bt Pakistan will be relying on levelling the series in Rawalpindi - a venue where they have won 10 of the 13 matches they have played. India who have never played here before will be hoping to consolidate their lead and give the "Rawlpindi Express" a run for his money on his home ground.