Lahore, January 10:
Star Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday warned that the recent winning run by rival Pakistan will help them pose a stronger challenge than they did in 2004. â€œPakistan have been playing well and have carried a good momentum. I think this series will be more competitive than in 2004,â€ Tendulkar said.
India won both the Test and one-day series on Pakistan soil two years ago, but Inzamam-ul Haqâ€™s men are on a high this time after the 2-0 Test series victory at home over Ashes-winning England in December.
â€œPakistan has shown confidence and a right kind of attitude, so it would definitely be a tough series,â€ said Tendulkar, who scored a world record 35th Test hundred last month.
Tendulkar, however, said India too will be well-prepared against Pakistan when the first of three Tests begins at the Gaddafi stadium here on Friday. â€œTo carry that 2004 experience would be important for us. But we donâ€™t need to be over-confident,â€ he said.
â€œWhen we came here last time we had really played well in Australia and followed that up by beating Pakistan. We want to do as well here this time. International cricket is always competitive but, to be honest, the excitement of an India-Pakistan series does affect the players because there is so much hype in both countries,â€ he said.
â€œOne feels it is a special series. But it is all about competitiveness, nothing more than that. We eventually go out and play cricket but it gets very hard.â€ Tendulkar said he was not worried about speculation that Pakistan, spearheaded by fiery fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, was preparing hard and bouncy wickets to trouble the tourists.
â€œIt wonâ€™t be the first time that we will play on hard and bouncy tracks,â€ he said.