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India has the upper hand: More

By Kiran More
February 28, 2003 17:59 IST
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Although the World Cup was launched in 1975, it took all of 17 years for India to meet Pakistan in the tournament. And when the two teams did meet in 1992 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, one image was imprinted on the minds of cricket fans the world over: Javed Miandad doing a frog-dance under lights. The man at the receiving end of that jibe was wicketkeeper Kiran More, now a national selector.

In South Africa for the World Cup, More recounted to Faisal Shariff the atmosphere in which the two teams met and just why Miandad had picked on him for that piece of cricketing histrionics.

 

It was a tense and crucial match for us. We batted first after winning the toss and Sachin Tendulkar got a fifty. The Pakistan team was under pressure having lost two early wickets. That is when Javed Miandad walked in. Tendulkar was bowling very well. He had picked up the wicket of Aamir Sohail, so his confidence was high. He bowled one to Miandad, which I took down legside and appealed loudly for a catch behind the wickets. It was very close CBW appeal.

We had a heated argument in Hindi about it. He began abusing me and asking me why I was appealing when I knew he was not out. It was a sign of frustration. Three overs later, I appealed for a run-out. He started imitating me by jumping up and down. Skipper Azharuddin was very upset and complained to the umpire about it. Umpire David Shepherd warned Miandad and told him that if he repeated it again he would be thrown out.

Javed was having a lot of problems with his back at that point of time in his career. He was using the flick and the cut to good effect but was gingerly driving the ball through covers or mid-off. So I kept egging on our bowlers to pitch the ball up because he would not be able to step forward. The whole idea was to frustrate him and get him out. I could see that it was working on his mind. It was against that backdrop that the frog-dance incident took place.

That incident was very funny when I saw the pictures and on television later. It was surprising that despite his back injury he could jump four feet in the air to imitate me!

The India-Pakistan match is like a derby, both the teams want to win very badly. We are the not very friendly neighbours. Off the field we are very good friends. After the match we get together and have fun. On the field we are very competitive. Even if we get out for 125, as we once did in Sharjah, they are under pressure to score those runs.

We have done very well against them outside the subcontinent and in neutral venues. They are a very good side, amongst the best sides in the world when they are together. They don't look as good a side right now.

The March 1 game will be a very important game for them to stay on in the tournament. They have the bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar who could turn the match around. But only two of their bowlers are bowling well. It will be a crucial game for us with respect to the points.

We need to get 250 on the board to win the match against them. They have had a very bad tour of South Africa here and have failed on good wickets here unlike India, which struggled on bad tracks in New Zealand. India has the upper hand in this match. Sourav has got runs and Sachin is getting a lot of runs. Rahul Dravid is also getting important runs at number five.

(As told to Faisal Shariff)

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Kiran More