It's Pakistani bowlers vs Indian batsmen: Saeed Ajmal

Updated: 28 March 2011 13:15 IST

The World Cup semifinal clash between Pakistan and India here Wednesday will be a contest between the former's bowling prowess and the latter's much hailed batting line-up, according to Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.

It's Pakistani bowlers vs Indian batsmen: Saeed Ajmal

Mohali:

The World Cup semifinal clash between Pakistan and India here Wednesday will be a contest between the former's bowling prowess and the latter's much hailed batting line-up, according to Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.


Ajmal, who has played just two of Pakistan's seven matches in the World Cup, will be fighting for a berth in the playing eleven with left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman.

Ajmal said he was looking forward to playing against India.

"It's a huge match for everyone, the players, the fans, everyone involved in it. A World Cup semifinal can only be surpassed in ODI by the World Cup final itself. The added spice to the occasion, of course, is that the opponents are India and that the match is in India itself," Ajmal was quoted as saying by PakPassion.net.

Ajmal said the intensity of India-Pakistan clash can only be compared with the Ashes series between Australia and England.

"For the Australian and English players, the Ashes is a big series, and for Indian and Pakistani players, the matches against your arch rivals have a special meaning. The whole world will be watching and following the match and it should be a fantastic occasion. These are the matches that you look forward to playing in and dream about," he said.

Ajmal said that Indian batsmen would have it tough against Pakistan spinners.

"We've got a few plans up our sleeve. I see the match as a battle between our bowling lineup and their batting line-up."

"We know that our bowling is our strong suit and their batting is their stronger suit. Our bowlers have been in excellent form during the World Cup. Shahid (Afridi), Umar (Gul) and Hafeez have been bowling very well and the other bowlers have done a good job in supporting them. It's been a combined effort by the Pakistan bowlers and we are hopeful that it will continue in the next match," he said.

"If Pakistan bat first, we will try to reach 300 and if India bat first, then we want to try and restrict them to under 250," he added.

Ajmal feels that the Pakistani players won't be distracted by the huge crowd.

"My philosophy is simple. It doesn't matter where you are playing or who the opposition is - if you let the crowd or atmosphere disrupt your performance, then you don't deserve to be playing at the highest level of cricket."

"You strive to play for your country, you work so hard in domestic cricket to get the chance to play for your country and it would be irresponsible to succumb to pressure or nerves. I don't think we'll be worried by the crowd or let the nerves or pressure of the match get to us," Ajmal said.

"We'll be fully focused on the cricket itself, remembering our game-plan, taking note of suggestions from the skipper and determined to win the match," he said.

Ajmal also said that the Pakistani team had a point to prove in the World Cup.

"We knew that many had written us off before the tournament and said that we would make it to the quarterfinals at best. We wanted to prove those people wrong and the best way to do that was to let our cricket do the talking."

"We won our group, we beat Sri Lanka, we defeated Australia but the job is only half done yet, we want to go further in this tournament. We've been working so hard on areas of our game that previously have been weak. We've put extra emphasis on our fielding and it's paid dividends."

"Our coaches have said to us all that even if you have a bad day with the bat or the ball, you can still make a difference in the field by saving runs, by inflicting a run out or by taking a catch in the field," he said.



Topics : India New Zealand Pakistan Cricket Saeed Ajmal ICC World Cup, 2011
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