ICL: Indian Cricket League

Woolmer confident of ODI series triumph


Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer is expecting his team to push for a series-winning triumph in the final one-dayer against the West Indies here at the National Stadium tomorrow following the return of master batsmen Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf.

“It is always great to win a series and I believe we are in a good position to do so on Saturday when some of our leading batsmen will be back in the side,” Woolmer told ‘The News’ in an interview here on Thursday.

The home team leads the five-match One-day International (ODI) series 2-1 in spite of a seven-wicket defeat against the West Indies in the previous game held in Multan on Wednesday.

In Multan, Pakistan were without their big three - Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis Khan - and failed to counter the resurging tourists with makeshift captain Abdul Razzaq in command.

Younis, who missed the one-dayers in Lahore and Multan, will also stay away from the Karachi game as he has decided to stay back with his family in Mardan because of the death of his brother last week.

Inzamam and Yousuf, however, are set to return to the Pakistan line-up and Woolmer said it was great news for him.

“It is difficult to do well if you take out Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis from the equation, all of them at the same time,” said Woolmer.

“It is great to have at least two of them back for the match in Karachi and they are going to make a big difference,” said the coach.

Inzamam missed the last match because of a finger injury while Yousuf had stayed back in Lahore to be with his wife. Woolmer said that the return of Inzamam and Yousuf has strengthened his team but made it clear that West Indies would be a tough side to beat in the day-night game.

“West Indies won the previous game in Multan and that result must have given them a lot of confidence. Such a mood can make a team quite dangerous,” he said.

The national team management was criticised by some experts for what they believed was some unnecessary experimentation in the Multan match but Woolmer disagreed.

“We tried to use the previous match for some experimentation in the absence of some of our top players and it was a calculated move,” he said pointing out that Pakistan are currently in the process of finalising their World Cup squad.

Pakistan recalled under-performing dynamo Shahid Afridi for the Multan match and opted to open the innings with him. The move flopped and ignited a scathing attack from former Pakistan captain Imran Khan, who said Pakistan should have gone for the regular opening pair of Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez and fielded the big-hitting Afridi down the order.

But Woolmer said that the team management had their reasons for the decision. “With our top batsmen not available we thought Hafeez could do well in the middle order. We also wanted to give Afridi ample batting opportunity,” he explained.

Woolmer said that he was happy to be back in Karachi, a city which he likes for the superb atmosphere at the National Stadium. “It is great to be back in Karachi to finish this series. I am looking forward to a great crowd in Saturday’s match,” he expressed.

Pakistan wrapped up the Test series against the West Indies 2-0 by winning the third and final Test in Karachi earlier this month.

Source:The News

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