New Delhi: Pakistan's dominance in the ongoing ODI series against India has surprised the country's former captain Zaheer Abbas, who feels the host team looks jaded after playing too much cricket.
India slumped to yet another series defeat with a pathetic display as Pakistan spanked the hosts by 85 runs in the second one-dayer to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The defeat against Pakistan marks another low for the struggling Indians who suffered an embarrassing Test series debacle against England at home.
"I did not expect such wins. It was a battle of nerves and Pakistan did better to win it. On the contrary, the Indian players were tired. They have played too much cricket recently and have not performed to the potential," Abbas said.
Abbas, who has scored 5082 runs in 78 Tests and 2572 runs in 62 ODIs, was one of the most successful Pakistan batsmen against India. He scored six centuries, including two double, in Tests and three ODI hundreds against the arch-rivals. He lauded the Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan's team work.
"Pakistan has done exceptionally well. Nasir (Jamshed) and (Mohammed) Hafeez were particularly brilliant with the bat while bowlers like Umar (Gul), Junaid (Khan) and (Saeed) Ajmal did not let the famed Indian batting line-up open their hands," said the veteran who was widely known as 'Asian Bradman' for his run scoring abilities.
He said it was a daunting task to suffocate the Indian batsmen but Pakistani bowlers succeeded. "Pakistani bowlers maintained an accurate line and length and none of the Indian top order batsmen could fire," Abbas said.
He also felt that India are under additional pressure due to playing at home. "Naturally there is additional pressure to perform in front of a home crowd and it tends to increase when India and Pakistan play each other. India was under pressure but we must give credit to the Pakistani team which has performed really well," he said.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is facing severe criticism but Abbas defended him. "A captain alone cannot win matches. A captain is as good as the team. Bowlers and batsmen have to perform. It was due to Dhoni's unbeaten century that India managed to get a decent score in the first match and in the second match also he batted well," he said.
Predicting a 3-0 win for Pakistan, Abbas said, "I think this team can do this. Pakistan can clean sweep the series in Delhi and if it happens, it will be a blessing for Pakistan cricket.
"We are deprived of international cricket at home and in such circumstances a win against a top team like India will boost Pakistan cricket," he said.
He also urged India to reciprocate by touring Pakistan in near future.
"I would love to see the Indian team playing in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are cricket crazy and they want to see the great cricketing battle between the arch-rivals," he said.