India vs Pakistan: Wanted - Patience by the bucketload
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The nets session on the eve of the Kolkata game looked no different from the ones held on previous occasions, before one-dayers at the Eden Gardens. Still, something must have been different in the way the Indians went about their training on Wednesday. It may not have even been noticeable, considering the only changes the Indian players had hopefully made were to their mindset — collective and individual.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team did not fare well under the new ODI rules — applicable from October last year — in their first attempt in Chennai last week. Pakistan hadn't played under these new amendments to the 50-over game either. But with Mohammad Irfan, a shade over seven feet tall, and Junaid Khan, blessed with the ability to viciously swing the ball both ways, opening their attack, the new rules looked to be tailor-made for Pakistan to exploit.
With two new balls being used in ODI cricket, not to forget the recent amendment to Law 42.6 which allows bowlers to bowl two bouncers in an over, India found themselves all at sea in Chennai, in dealing with Junaid's relentless movement off the air and wicket (the ball was twice as new from both ends) and Irfan's quaking bounce (two an over).
Also, with fielding teams now only allowed four men outside the 30-yard circle throughout the game, the onus was on India's openers to preserve their wickets in the early going and set up a springboard for a final assault.
They, however, played the old-fashioned way of trying to hit out of trouble and soon found themselves on 29 for five. And if India do not equip themselves with this new mindset and openers who have the temperament to see off the early bounce and swing, then expect more of the same in Kolkata.
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