Kolkata:Having done his bit to take Pakistan close towards avoiding the ignominy of a follow-on against India, Kamran Akmal said his defiant century is the product of his positive attitude.
The diminutive Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman said with a dominant India dictating terms and a partisan Eden Gardens crowd rooting in their favour, it was advice from coach Geoff Lawson and stand-in captain Younis Khan that stood him in good stead.
"This century was difficult. The wicket helped the spinners and the crowd was rooting for them. So there was a lot of pressure. Still I played a positive game, as advised the coach and the captain," he said.
Asked whether it was one of his toughest tons, Akmal replied, "These are tough times for us. The wicket was also not playing easy. To score the runs here was very satisfying.
Misbah (Ul-Haq) was a help and we played positively."
Coming together at 150/5, Akmal and Misbah put on 207 runs for the sixth wicket and the partnership ended when Akmal (119) was bowled by Harbhajan Singh.
Akmal regretted he had got out at the wrong time. "I should have stayed on," he said.
Akmal has been slated of late for being sloppy behind the stumps and when asked whether he would like to be called a batsman-keeper, Akmal said, "I want to be a keeper-batsmen".
And having hit form with the bat, Akmal expressed hopes that he would come equally good behind the stumps as well.
"I talked to my seniors and former wicketkeepers and improved on my keeping so that I could keep to (Danish) Kaneria better.
"I also talked to my brother who is a keeper. Hopefully I will get my peak form in keeping too," he said.
Four of Akmal's five Test tons had come against India and three of them in crisis situations. Asked what goes on in his mind when he meets India, Akmal said, "When my team needs me, I need to save the team."
Despite tons by Akmal and Misbah, Pakistan are yet to avoid follow-on but the stumper-batsman asserted the match was still open.
"Still two days' play is left and though the wicket is not easy to bat on, I think that the match is very open still now. We need to score at least 80 runs more."
Asked whether he thought India would enforce the follow on if the Pakistan first innings ended short of 417, Akmal said, "Yes, with Kumble saab, it's definitely yes."