ICL: Indian Cricket League

Inzamam downplays the underdog tag

Written by poster on March 11th, 2007   (240 views)

South Africa’s batting collapse in both its warm-up matches is not a cause for panic, says coach Mickey Arthur. South Africa were bowled out for 192 in their 35-run victory over Ireland and then for 199 in their seven-wicket loss to Pakistan.

“Had the coin had fallen the other way and had we bowled first, it would have been different,” Arthur told the AFP about the match against Pakistan. “Our bowlers had a decent workout, but the only concern is that the top order still needs some runs.”

The game was held up during South Africa’s innings as the batsmen complained about the pitch surface. Arthur said that it took the team 10 overs after the break to get back the intensity but denied that they had given up.

“The last thing we wanted was to lose a player like Jacques Kallis [on an unpredictable pitch] as he is obviously crucial to our preparations. We were five down early and wanted 220, but ended up shorter than that.” Arthur also said he didn’t think that matches in the main competition would be played on such pitches.

“I think it’s certainly going to be a bowl-first competition, but the toss is not going to be as crucial as it was today,” he said.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, agreed that the conditions were difficult when South Africa batted and there had been some concern. But on being asked if the pitches would favour subcontinental sides, Inzamam said that it was the quality of cricket and not the state of the pitches that mattered.

Inzamam was happy with the team’s performance, however, and picked out Mohammad Hafeez, the opener, for special mention. “Hafeez is in form and he is a key member of the team,” said Inzamam. “He is now looking forward to the main competition. It always helps when a top-order batsman scores briskly.”

Hafeez scored 49 against South Africa and added 74 runs for the second wicket along with Younis Khan. “There is a lot of confidence in the team and they are looking forward to the main tournament after morale-boosting performances,” Inzamam added. He also agreed that since people did not have high expectations of Pakistan winning, there was less pressure on the side.

Bob Wooolmer, the Pakistan coach, said that all the players had got the much-needed practice. “All top six batsmen have got good practice,” Woolmer said. “As far as the win goes, since it was 13-a-side match, we do take it with a pinch of salt. We now need to win the main matches.”

Pakistan’s first match of the World Cup is on the opening day of the tournament, against West Indies at Sabina Park in Jamaica, while South Africa’s first match is against Netherlands at Warner Park in St Kitts on March 16

Source: CricInfo.com

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