KOLKATA: Junaid Khan was surprisingly overlooked for the Twenty20s against India but his first five overs in the opening One-Day International (ODI) at Chennai has given hope to Younus Khan that Pakistan will be able to find someone similar to Wasim Akram in the future.
Junaid grabbed four wickets to rock India’s top-order but it was the manner in which he picked up those that remained more impressive – swing, seam and sense. Younus, nevertheless, hoped the show continues for a long time.
“The great thing about Junaid is the way he’s performing consistently,” said Younus following the team’s training session at Eden Gardens yesterday. “This is a good sign not just for the team but for him as well. And if he keeps going on like this, we’ll hopefully find another good left-arm fast-bowler, someone like Wasim Akram. Junaid’s keen and wants to do well..”
Pakistan have never lost an ODI against India at this venue, beating them in 1987, 1989 and 2004. Younus last ODI innings at Eden Gardens lasted just eight balls and he failed to score. But centuries in his last two Tests here, along with his 60-ball 58 in the opening ODI, gives Younus the confidence of another good show.
“Hopefully, I will be able to carry on the Chennai form and play an innings that’ll help the team. But the onus will be on teamwork. We’re 1-0 up and we will try and further improve on things we did right in Chennai and also try and rectify the mistakes so that we go 2-0 up.
“I know that we’re playing India but we’re not taking any pressure on ourselves. We had lost the second Twenty20 but went into the opening ODI with confidence, playing according to the game-plan and that worked for us. I was making my comeback into the team as well but played without thinking about it too much.”
Goodwill ambassadors to watch Kolkata ODI
Meanwhile, four former Pakistan cricketers – Mushtaq Mohammad, Sadiq Mohammad, Imtiaz Ahmed and Intikhab Alam – will be present at Eden Gardens for tomorrow’s ODI.
Hanif Mohammad, who arrived in Delhi on Monday, is expected to be present at the final match of the series at Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2013.