Absence of Shoaib is the reason behind England success

England’s in-form batsman Ian Bell is happy that Shoaib Akhtar remains doubtful for the Test series against England. Probably, he thinks, scoring back-to-back centuries against Pakistan at Lord’s and Old Trafford would not have been easy for him had the visitors’ had the tearaway fast bowler in their ranks.

Bell was a part of the England squad that visited Pakistan last winter and was blanked 2-0 by Inzamam-ul-Haq’s men in the three-match Test series.

Pakistan’s batsmen dominated that contest but Shoaib was the home team’s biggest star with 17 wickets in the series. This time, however, it is the Englishmen who are calling the shots on their home soil.

Bell, who hit a brisk 106 on the second day of the second Test here the other day, believes the reason behind the reversal of fortunes for the two teams is Shoaib Akhtar, or perhaps the absence of him. “The only difference between this Pakistani attack here and the one we faced back there is Shoaib,” he said.

Bell, who scored an unbeaten 100 at Lord’s, said that Pakistan have not been very threatening without Shoaib in this series. He said that leg spinner Danish Kaneria is a good bowler but has so far been unable to give his best in England.

Kaneria took just one wicket and that too of tail-ender Steve Harmison in England’s first innings in the Old Trafford Test. It cost him 106 runs in 37 overs to do that.

Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on July 31st, 2006 with no comments.
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