Pakistan 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.
â€œIt is not going to be easy,â€ 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. â€œEngland may not be doing well recently but they are a strong team and should not be taken lightly in any circumstances,â€ said the seasoned batsman.
England went through a disappointing drawn series against Sri Lanka recently and are looking to overcome the absence due to injury of their star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and quick Simon Jones.
Inzamam agreed England would struggle if some of their key players sit out but pointed out that Pakistan, too, will have to without the injured Shoaib Akhtar. â€œInjuries are a part of the game,â€ he said. Pakistan left out Shoaib from their squad after a medical commission advised him against bowling for four to six weeks.
Inzamam noted England would be aiming to defend the Ashes in Australia later this year, something that might spur them during the preceding series against Pakistan. â€œYou can expect a team like England to bounce back from a disappointment which is why I must say that our players will have really apply themselves in the series to be able to win it.â€
His views were echoed by coach Woolmer who warned his players against any complacency.
â€œEngland would be a tough team to beat no matter which player might have to sit out because of fitness problems,â€ said the Briton who would be looking to succeed in his first tour of England as the Pakistan coach.
Under him, Pakistan trounced England 2-0 comfortably at home last year but Woolmer made it clear things could be different for his team in England.
He insisted that England would be looking to make amends for their unimpressive showing against Sri Lanka with a better display when they meet Pakistan.
He also conceded that Shoaibâ€™s loss could also be felt in England, saying, â€œShoaib is a wicket-taking bowler and it is disappointing not to have him in the squad.â€
Shoaib, 30, took 17 wickets in the home Test series against England last fall before suffering from a twin knee injury that almost ended his international career.
Woolmer urged his other bowlers including comeback pacer Mohammad Sami to continue from where Shoaib left. Pakistan have not lost a Test series in England since a 1-2 defeat in 1982. Their first Test of the up coming series would be played from July 13 at Lordâ€™s.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, June 11th, 2006 and is filed under Cricket.
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