Pakistan team doubly determined after warm up shambles
Pakistan cricket team’s coach Bob Woolmer insisted his team’s comical draw with England A in their final warm-up match would steel the tourists ahead of the start of Thursday’s first Test against England at Lord’s.
What might have been an intriguing fourth and final day at Canterbury rapidly descended into a ludicrous contest, not a single wicket falling as both sides employed part-time bowlers for lengthy spells.
“It is not going to affect our preparation, if anything it is going to make us more steely about what we have to do in the Test series,” Woolmer said. “People here would have seen the same game as I did and if I had been a member of the public I would not have been too pleased with what was going on.”
“I can understand why England A did it but I don’t agree with it,” insisted Woolmer. England A shut down the game by leaving Pakistan, in their second innings, 507 to win at a rate of 11 an over. The tourists, already unhappy with their hosts’ approach, responded by retiring openers Salman Butt (50) and Imran Farhat (44) to give others a chance to bat.
Earlier, part-time spinners Butt and Farhat were the only bowlers used by Pakistan on Sunday. Their tit-for-tat response to England’s tactics was understandable as they tried to keep currently fit pacemen Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq fresh for Lord’s.
In Sunday’s rain-affected morning session, when only 10 overs were possible, Pakistan saw fast bowler Mohammad Sami hit on the right knee while fielding at mid-wicket. They had taken the field without fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who had an injection in his right elbow on Saturday and is not expected to be fit until the eve of the first Test.
And first-choice gloveman Kamran Akmal again did not keep wicket as a precaution after bruising his left index finger last Thursday morning. Spearhead quick Shoaib Akhtar is currently sidelined with an ankle problem while fellow paceman Rana Naved-ul-Hasan is struggling with a groin injury.
All this helped to explain Pakistan’s approach in a match where England A captain Robert Key, who let his side’s first innings of 595 for nine declared run on until the third morning, refused to enforce the follow-on despite a lead of 353.
“I assume that the England A side wanted to play it ‘hard’ and keep us in the field as long as they could to tire our bowlers out,” said Woolmer. “When that became obvious we stopped bowling our main seamers. In that respect it stopped being a game of cricket, which was a shame, but there we are.”
England A coach Peter Moores, unsurprisingly, took a different view. He cited the fact that Butt and Salman bowled all but four overs of the home team’s second innings, which finished on 153 for one declared, as the time when the match ceased to be a contest.
“We played really hard cricket for everything but the last hour of the game,” he said. “Once they retired two batsmen it was no longer a competitive game, it was a net and we acted accordingly.”
Source:The NewsMore on:Bob Woolmer, england, Pakistan, Pakistan in England 2006
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