June 11th, 2006

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Kaneria to fire on all cylinders in England

danishLeg spinner Danish Kaneria says he is ready to take over as Pakistan’s main strike bowler in England after their most potent weapon Shoaib Akhtar had to be dropped from the squad because of injury.

“I will try 101 percent to step into Shoaib’s shoes and lead our attack (in England),” Kaneria said on Saturday ahead of Pakistan’s tour of England to play four Tests and five one-day matches.

Kaneria is expected by many to play a major role in Pakistan’s campaign in England following the absence of Shoaib, who has been ruled out of any international action for several weeks because of a stress fracture on his ankle.

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Proteas to host series against Pakistan

The South African officials are hoping their team would give a forceful performance in a series of international assignments including a home contest against Pakistan in its lead up to next year’s World Cup.

The South Africans would host Pakistan for three Tests and five one-day matches from early January to mid of February next year and are expecting that a spate of good results in the coming months would help them overtake Inzamam-ul-Haq’s men in the ICC Test rankings.

The Pakistanis are currently ranked ahead of South Africa at number three in the list behind champions Australia and England. The South Africans are placed at number four.

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Testing times: Clarion of Murali call puts a fresh spin on things

Muralitharan

The West Indies have so far proved a tough nut to crack on the field but one off-field decision they’ve made may eventually have a bearing on the result of the Test series with India. By not scheduling a Test at the Queen’s Park Oval, the Caribbean ground that has historically encouraged spin bowlers more than any other, the administrators have definitely done the West Indies a favour.

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Coming in as replacement of Shoaib a challenge

shoaib

Comeback medium pacer Shahid Nazir is aware he doesn’t have the pace of Shoaib Akhtar but promises that Pakistan can expect him to live up to the expectations in England this summer.

“It is a great challenge for me to fill in for Shoaib Akhtar,” the 28-year-old said in an interview on Friday after being preferred over Rao Iftikhar and Mohammad Khalil as a replacement for the injured Shoaib in the 16-man Pakistan squad for the series against England.

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Positive attitude will boost Pakistan fielding skills: Rhodes

rhodesJonty Rhodes declared on Saturday that Pakistani cricketers could transform themselves into top class fielders with a bit more application on the field.

Regarded as the world’s best fielder of his era, Rhodes said that Pakistani players are world-class athletes and can bring a huge difference in their fielding with a more positive attitude towards this area of the game.

The former Test cricketer arrived in Lahore on Saturday to serve a brief stint as Pakistan’s fielding consultant ahead of their tour of England that begins at the end of this month.

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No time to party for India

Green makes Lara smile; Dravid & Co. weighing balanced options

“Thanks, buddy,” said Brian Lara, looking up from the green patch on the St. Lucia pitch to its curator, a smile on his face. For Kent Craston, the man behind the surface, those two words made his day. “You heard what he said,” he beamed later, making it clear which way the track will swing in the first round of the second Test.

Six hours later, Lara’s men were having a ball, their feet swinging, hands waving, some virtually thrusting their way into the spotlight. Chris Gayle made the opening move and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo jumped in before wrist-spinner Dave Mohammed came up with some stunning hip action.

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Lara confident of success ahead of second Test

lara

Both the West Indies and India are looking forward with renewed vigour to the second Test, starting today at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.

Though the four-Test series is still level 0-0, after the West Indies’ last wicket pair of Fidel Edwards and Corey Collymore grimly survived the last 19 balls to earn a draw in the first Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground, both sides had plenty to encourage them.

India might have been depressed at losing the preceding One-day International series 4-1, but they fought back from a first innings deficit of 130 to set West Indies a highly improbable, if not impossible victory target of 392 to win the first Test, only to fail at the last hurdle.

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Inzamam, Woolmer want Pakistan ready for England

Bob_WoolmerPakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and coach Bob Woolmer agree their players will have to perform like a well-oiled unit if they are to beat England later this summer even though the hosts are dogged by recent injuries to some of their key players.

“It is not going to be easy,” warned Inzamam, a day after Pakistan announced their 16-man squad for the tour that includes four Tests and five One-day Internationals (ODIs) besides some side games. “England may not be doing well recently but they are a strong team and should not be taken lightly in any circumstances,” said the seasoned batsman.

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