In the aftermath of India recently reclaiming the highly coveted number one Test ranking, former skipper and Pakistan’s chief selector, Inzamam-ul Haq has expressed reservations about their arch-rivals’ overseas record, whilst exuding optimism that his players can wrest back the top spot.
The 46-year old also conveyed his dismay regarding India’s refusal to play Pakistan due to the prevailing tense atmosphere between the two countries.
Pakistan can get back No.1 spot
Inzamam felt, “What can one say on this Indian refusal since 2007 to play us in Test matches. It is disappointing for me as I have played and captained against India in both countries and I know how much these matches mean to people of both countries and cricket world. There is nothing we can do but Pakistan is still capable of beating other teams and get back the number one Test spot from India.”
Also read: India becomes No.1 ranked Test team
One of the most fabled rivalries in sport, dating back to more than 60 years, India and Pakistan last played a Test series way back in 2007 in which Anil Kumble’s side won 1-0. Though there has been a tri-nation tournament (2008) as well as an ODI series (2012/13) since that tour, the strained relationship between the two countries has restricted their duels to ICC tournaments and Asia Cups for the most part during the last few years.
Following the England tour from which they emerged with a creditable 2-2 draw, Pakistan, under Misbah ul Haq’s captaincy, rose to the top of the Test rankings for the first time since rankings were introduced in June 2003. On the other hand, India have spent three separate stints (cumulatively 22 months) as the top-ranked Test team, apart from the current one.
Having regained the number one ranking after winning the first two Tests against New Zealand (The third Test is under progress), Virat Kohli’s troops are now eyeing an extended reign at the top with as many as 10 Tests lined up at home following the ongoing series.
India not done well outside India, says Inzamam
A disgruntled Inzamam claimed, “India is playing 13 Tests at home in the next few months, we have not played at home since 2009. But, I still believe this Pakistan team can do well anywhere and against anyone. The way we fought back from 1-2 down to level the series in England was a heartening performance. India has not done that well outside their country in Tests. They lost their last series in England.“
Under MS Dhoni’s leadership, India’s previous trip to England ended with a 3-1 victory for the hosts. However, under Kohli’s captaincy, they defeated Sri Lanka (2-1) and West Indies (2-0) away from home.
Though Pakistan face a stern test of character with successive tours to New Zealand and Australia, Inzamam remained hopeful of a solid showing down under.
Pointing to the effect of drop-in pitches, the veteran affirmed, “Whenever we toured Australia, our batsmen always struggled there because of the bouncy tracks. But, I think now every board wants Tests to last for five days to save their commercial interests and nowadays even pitches in Australia are not that fast or bouncy. I think the way our team is playing this time, we have a very solid opportunity to upset them in their own backyard.”