India plays Pakistan in The one-match Friendship Cup in Glasgow tonight (Tuesday 3 July 2007). The match is a charity fixture. However, one can rest assured that there will be no charity shown on the field by either team! Moreover, as with most India V Pakistan game, there won’t be much Friendship out there in the middle. The game will raise funds for Prince Charles’ Charity.
India, for the first time on their Ireland-Scotland-England tour have a fully-fit team to chose from. They also have Ishant Sharma and Ranadeb Bose as back-ups! The flu-bug that was swirling around the Indian camp appears to have vanished.
However, one thing remains a constant: the weather! Rain is threatening to spoil the party!
The other aspect of this game is the dark clouds of the terrorist threat that it is being played under.
Although Prem Panicker suggests that India should abandon the game because “BCCI is missing an opportunity here. Western nations are quick to act all high and mighty when they visit the sub-continent and take exceptions to anything that happens in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. They get all jumpy.”
Even considering that, I think we have to go with the best advice that is available and that is from Scotland Yard — and Scotland Yard is about as professional as it can get! I don’t believe that a somewhat puerile tit-for-tat opportunity-grab is really valid here. The teams have indicated that they are happy with the security arrangements. And really, the show must go on.
Both teams are without a coach!
Pakistan’s only warm-up game against Scotland was washed out without a ball being bowled. Since the World Cup, Pakistan played a three match ODI series in May against Sri Lanka, which they won. They haven’t played any cricket since then. So it is likely that Pakistan will be a bit rusty. But you can never write the Pakistanis off in any game; especially one against India.
Traditionally, Shoaib Malik has done really well against India and, as the new Pakistan captain, will want to continue his form against India into this game too.
India will take some confidence into this game after having beaten South Africa over the weekend. I will be surprised if Rahul Dravid changes the team combination around too much. The only change that I would advocate is to bring in Uthappa or Rohit Sharma for Gautam Gambhir at #3 and Ramesh Powar in for Piyush Chawla. I think the experience of Powar will prove more handy in this game especially against the likes of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi. The other toss-up would be between R.P.Singh and Sreesanth. I’d be tempted to give Sreesanth a go in this game.
Pakistan will welcome back Mohammed Asif and Shoaib Akhtar after their drugs ban was lifted!
Team India (likely)
Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Gambhir/Uthappa/Sharma, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ramesh Powar, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, R.P.Singh/Sreesanth