Former cricketer and selection committee chairman Chandu Borde said the key to India's success during the forthcoming tour of Pakistan would lie on the complete fitness of their key bowlers.
Borde said the wickets in Pakistan would be similar to the ones here but with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, leggie Anil Kumble and left-arm seamers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra nursing injuries, there would be some concern in the Indian camp before the important tour coming after a gap of 14 years.
But he said India can look up to their new crop of fast bowlers who proved their potential Down Under.
"The most heartening aspect of the Australian tour was the emergence of two new seamers in Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji, who shouldered the responsibility after their seniors -- Zaheer, Nehra and Ajit Agarkar -- were sidelined with injuries," Borde said.
On the chances of the two teams, Borde said ultimately the game will be the winner.
"I really don't like to predict the outcome of the tour but I can tell one thing for sure that the biggest winner would be the game itself as millions of people all over the world are eagerly looking forward to this tour," said Borde, the only Indian to have toured Pakistan as a player (1954-55) and manager (1989).
"The Indians are back from a morale-boosting tour of Australia, the top team in the world. It is also an open secret that the Indians have a very strong batting line-up which can be compared with the best in the business," said Borde, who played in 55 Tests and scored 3061 runs at an average of 35.59.
"On the other hand, Pakistan's batting is not so formidable as most of them are new but their bowling looks very impressive though short on experience. I do not think the current crop of bowlers can be compared with the likes of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Aquib Javed," he said.
"The wickets, which will be slow and with low bounce, will play an important role as well and the Indians, particularly Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman, who were in great form in Australia, would be very difficult to dislodge.
On India's preparations, Borde felt the need for a short duration camp.
"A short camp (one-week) would be very helpful as the players can get used to the low bounce and slowness of the wickets.
"I know the players are exhausted after the Australian tour but it is better to be prepared for the eventualities before a very important tour," he said.
Borde, however, was not impressed with the Pakistan crowds and said "The crowds over there are partisan. We find that kind of crowd even in India and once the tour kicks off and the Indians start doing well, I think things will settle down".
As told to V. Veerakumar
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