New rules, same old rivals

Kolkata, Jan. 3 -- "This is an important game for us, we are under a bit of pressure," said MS Dhoni. Over to his Pakistan counterpart, Misbah-ul-Haq's take: "We realise winning this series is very important for us, and we will put in all we have to achieve our goal." The words may not convey the difference in the intensity and determination the captains spoke with - and any attempt towards that end would leave one open to accusations of nitpicking. Yet, truth be told, the Pakistan skipper sounded much more assured and confident on the eve of the game that's must-win for India.

TRANSITION PHASE

While Misbah talked about how "the team has played well throughout the series" and how confident they were heading into the game, the India skipper spoke about the team going through a transitional phase.

"If you see, we are going through a transitional period, even in the ODIs. Our regular bowlers in the ODIs are injured and hence we are a little short on experience there. Batting has been a bit of a problem, that's one area where we should have been good. That sometimes happens, but perhaps this is the best time for them to hit form and come good," said Dhoni.

The new rules too seem to have pushed the India skipper into a "catch-22 situation". Rightly so, as the new rule affects India more adversely than Pakistan. The reason being, India play with just four specialist bowlers, while Pakistan have far more depth in their bowling.

With a maximum of just four men allowed on the boundary at any given time throughout the game, India's dependence on part-timers could cost them dear.

CONFUSED SKIPPER

No wonder, the India skipper sounded quite confused about how to strike a right balance in the playing eleven.

"People will say if six batsmen can't do the job for you, even seven won't. But if we didn't have the seventh batsman in the last game, we might have been 120 all out. "But then, of course, it's equally difficult to play with (a) part-timer, especially if he has to bowl 10 overs," said the confused captain.

The only option the India skipper has, theoretically, to bolster his bowling without weakening the batting is the inclusion of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. However, Jadeja's left-arm spin is nowhere close to Mohammad Hafeez, who lends Pakistan a wonderful balance with his aggressive batting at the top and quality spin bowling.

POTENTIAL THREAT

In the new rules, Dhoni also saw a potential threat to batsmen who could get tempted to play big shots with just four men on the boundary.

In what could be a veiled message to his batsmen for not showing the required application in the last game, he stressed on the need to stay on the wicket.

"Everyone feels it's important to plunder as many runs as possible in the first 10 overs and power plays. But with the new rule, with just four fielders outside, you can take time to get set and still put up a big total," he said.

With rules being what they are, India will need to find a way around them to keep the series alive till the third One-dayer at the Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »