Cricket: After the terrorists the battle begins

PAKISTAN START their first Test series in India for 12 years today facing an array of problems, ranging from successive series defeats to the lack of a settled opening pair. India, just back from losing a Test series in New Zealand, also have concerns over their openers for the two Tests, which will begin amid overwhelming security.

Tight safety measures are in place as a result of threats to disrupt the tour by Indian Hindu extremists, who called off their protest only hours before Pakistan arrived last week. In the past month members of the right-wing Shiv Sena Party have dug up the pitch at the New Delhi stadium and ransacked the Indian cricket authority's office in Bombay in an attempt to derail the series.

The match, which will be played in a fortified stadium with nearly 6,000 policemen, is expected to be watched by a noisy, partisan Indian crowd of 35,000.

Wasim Akram, recalled to captain Pakistan after they lost consecutive three-Test series at home to Australia last October and to Zimbabwe last month, said disruption threats were not a worry, giving his attention instead to problems at the top of the batting order. Aamir Sohail, the opener and former captain, was declared unfit for the tour and the other opener, Saeed Anwar, had a wretched start in India by being dismissed for nought and four in a three-day game at Gwalior.

Pakistan's problems were compounded by the newcomer, Wajahatullah Wasti, suffering a pair when he opened with Anwar in the match against India's A team in Gwalior.

At least the middle-order batsmen have swiftly found form, with Salim Malik hitting an aggressive century and Inzamam-ul-Haq twice narrowly missing three figures. Ijaz Ahmed, another batsman from the middle order who missed the game at Gwalior because of flu, had recovered sufficiently to practise on Tuesday.

Pakistan, with off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed in the squad, should be encouraged by reports that the pitch is expected to help slow bowlers. The Indian coach, Anshuman Gaekwad, yesterday said that the surface appeared hard and dry, with some initial moisture that might assist the seamers. "I think it will offer some bounce, too," he said.

India have omitted two all-rounders, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Hrishikesh Kanitkar, to reduce their squad to 12, and must now opt for the off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh, or the left-arm spinner, Sunil Joshi. That will mean a Test debut on home ground for the left-handed opener Sadagopan Ramesh, who scored a stylish 56 for India A against the touring team.

The regular openers, Ajay Jadeja and Navjot Sidhu, were left out of India's squad, handing Ramesh and the relatively inexperienced Vangipurappu Laxman a testing assignment.

Akram said: "India lost the series in New Zealand and that's a good sign for us... but then India play well at home and we play well when we're away. So let's see what happens."

The last time Pakistan and India met on Indian soil, in 1987, the Pakistanis won the five-Test series 1-0. Since the two countries first met in Tests in 1952-53, as many as 33 of their 44 Tests have been drawn.

INDIA (from): Mohammad Azharuddin (captain), VVS Laxman, S Ramesh, SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar, RS Dravid, NR Mongia, A Kumble, J Srinath, RVC Prasad, H Singh, S Joshi. (Pakistan yet to be selected.)

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week