M A I N   N E W S

Ganguly pins hopes on Pathan, Zaheer
M. R. Mishra

Peshawar, March 18
Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly is banking on youngster Irfan Pathan to deliver the goods in the absence of the in-form Ashish Nehra, while hoping that strike bowler Zaheer Khan will return to form soon to help the side turn the tables on Pakistan in the third one-dayer tomorrow.

“Nehra had been bowling well but then you can’t do much if you are injured. Obviously if somebody bowls well we will miss him. We have to go ahead with it,” Ganguly told reporters here.

“But we have (Irfan) Pathan, who has done well in Australia. When I left him out for the first two matches, many people asked why I was not making him play. We expect Pathan to deliver.” Ganguly also reposed faith in Zaheer, who is having a torrid time in controlling the Pakistani batsmen.

“He has been out of cricket for three months because of an injury, and he needs some time. He looks good in the nets and I am sure he will come back.”

The Indian captain foresaw some respite for the bowlers on the track at the Arbab Niaz Stadium, venue for tomorrow’s match.

“I have not had a close look of the pitch. But what I have seen from here, there is a bit of grass. It will probably give the bowlers some help. Probably it has been done because it is a small ground,” Ganguly said.

Although the bowlers have got a lot of stick in the high-scoring first two matches, the Indian captain praised the tracks in Karachi and Rawalpindi as “outstanding”.

“So far, it has been outstanding and the tracks have been totally in favour of the batsmen. In one-dayers now-a-days, they try to leave it as bare as possible. It may change here as the series progresses.”

Ganguly also tried to steer clear of the controversy generated by his comments on Shoaib Akhtar’s bowling action.

“I was asked by an Indian journalist whether I found Akhtar’s action legal. All I said is that everybody can see it on television. I don’t have to say anything.” — PTI

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