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Cricinfo Newsletter - Pakistan v India, ODI Series

Pakistan v India, ODI Series February 6 - 19
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The momentum is all with Pakistan at the moment, so expect to see some of this during the ODI series.
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Questions for India to answer
Now that the dust has settled on a run-infested Test series between India and Pakistan, it is time for the players to doff their whites and don their coloured pyjamas. If Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi bled runs, can Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Multan shed less? If Shahid Afridi mauled Harbhajan Singh during a thrilling hundred, can the 'Turbanator' be safe tossing it up under lights at Lahore? Will Virender Sehwag, who smacked the second fastest double hundred in Tests while making a mockery of the Pakistan attack, transfer his greatness into the one-day version of the game?

India v Pakistan has always thrown up great contests between bat and ball, and India have much to prove following their Test series defeat at Karachi. Pakistan, on the other hand, will be looking to continue their rich vein of form into the five-match one-day series beginning at Peshawar on February 6.
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Pakistan Squad Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Arshad Khan, Salman Butt, Naved-ul-Hasan, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Yasir Arafat

India Squad Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Sreesanth, Murali Kartik, Harbhajan Singh

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Younis Khan With 533 runs at the staggering average of 110.60 from three Tests, Younis Khan was Pakistan's most successful batsman. He has shown an unbridled hunger for Indian bowling attacks, and the manner in which he picked runs off both pace and spin does not augur well at all for India. His ability to dig in when needed has reaped dividends for his side in the past, and India seem to have no clue as to how to dislodge him. On the small grounds of Multan and Peshawar, Younis's big hitting and effortless ability to pierce the gaps may well prove the difference between a sub-par total and a monumental one. Really?
Rahul Dravid Rahul Dravid, the India captain, goes into the one-day series as India's most fluent batsman. Opening the batting in all three Tests he carved out two hundreds. With Virender Sehwag not his usual bustling self in the shorter format of the game, Dravid will be expected to shoulder much of the responsibility of both building good totals and properly executing the chase. His recent one-day exploits have been spectacular, and his form in the Test series was workmanlike and full of grit. Always a steady hand down the order, Dravid has shown an appetite for a challenge in the recent past, and if his hundreds at Lahore and Faisalabad are any yardstick, Dravid will carry his form into his next assignment


Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar has over 10,000 one-day runs under his belt, has more international hundreds than any other batsman, has scored runs the world around, has helped end bowlers' careers (Any doubts? Look up a certain Heath Davis), and is the classic model for many a coaching manual. But in the Test series against Pakistan he cut a poor figure of himself; in fact, he was a phantom throughout - lurking in the shadows and never revealing his true self. Expected to lead India's batting as opener, against the likes of Shoaib Akhtar with the new ball, Tendulkar goes into the one-day series an out-of-form batsman. He has aged, yes, and he has been dogged by a severe bout of tennis elbow, but his dismissals in his last two one-day series have been unflattering. The Mumbai maestro will need to really pull his socks up if India hope to get decent starts during the next two weeks.
Mohammed Sami Dropped from the eleven for the final two Tests against India following a miserable first outing, Mohammad Sami has gone from pace ace to bench warmer. That he was included in the squad for the one-day series - one that includes six fast bowlers - is an indication that the management sees him as vital to some aspect of their planning. Touted by none other than Imran Khan as the future of Pakistani fast bowling, Sami has plenty to prove if selected for any of the five fixtures against India. In his last 10 matches, he has taken just 8 wickets at 54.50, a figure that will do his confidence no favours. Imran's backing aside, Sami needs to work on his line, length, and temper if he has any aspirations of troubling India.

Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal, the diminutive Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman, has come into his own over the last 12 months. His glovework behind the stumps is masterful, his composure impeccable, and his batting - which has soared with each cover drive unfurled in Australia, India and at home - effortless. With Australia's Adam Gilchrist a mite below his usual stratospheric standards, some have dared to cite - albeit in hushed tones - that Akmal is the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the game. A tall claim, you say? Hardly. If his seven international hundreds in the last year are anything to go by, Akmal is the next big thing. His heroics in India saved a Test, his hundred against England crushed their bowlers, and his innings in the recent Karachi Test won Pakistan the series. All of his three one-day hundreds - two in the last four matches - have come opening the batting, and if he were to be paired with, say, Shahid Afridi, India are seriously in for it.

Series Schedule
Match 1: February 6, Peshawar
Match 2: February 11, Rawalpindi
Match 3: February 13, Lahore (D/N)
Match 4: February 16, Multan (D/N)
Match 5: February 19, Karachi

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