|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Consistency the key: Inzamam
January 12, 2006 17:04 IST
While Team India grapples with its opening woes, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq confirmed that Shoaib Malik will partner Salman Butt and face the new ball in the first Test, starting in Lahore on Friday.
Dispelling apprehensions about Malik's fitness, Inzamam said, ''Shoaib is hundred per cent fit. He has given the team good starts in the series against England and is keen to continue in that position. So we think that he will be useful in the same position.''
''It will only make 10-15 percent difference to the outcome of the match.''
The burly cricketer from Multan, who led Pakistan to a 2-0 win against England, also said past performance would have little impact on the outcome of the three-match Test series.
''What happened in the past will have no bearing on the present series. Whoever plays well consistently will win,'' Inzamam said.
For the record, in the six Tests played between the two sides in Lahore, the hosts won two while the other four were drawn.
But Pakistan have won four Tests on the trot in Lahore.
''There has been a gradual improvement in our team,'' Inzamam said about his team's fine showing in the recent past.
''We did well on the tour of India by drawing the Test series and winning the one-day series. We also did well to beat England 2-0 recently. If we do well in the series against India, it will take the team to another level.''
The Pakistan captain sought to play down the hype regarding Shoaib Akhtar and his new-found sense of discipline.
''It's good for the team,'' he said.
Inzamam said the pitch will be a sporting one which will not just assist the bowlers but also the batsmen.
''It is good for pace and spin and it will also help the batsmen to score runs.''
However, he also stressed that the conditions will help the seam bowlers.
''The moisture will help the pace bowlers,'' he said.
He refused to be drawn into the debate on Sourav Ganguly's inclusion in the final Indian eleven, saying, ''I am more interested in my own team.''
Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said they are not targeting any individual and instead looking at the whole opposition.
Woolmer said, ''They have 11 players and we have to deal with each one of them just like they have to deal with all 11 players from our side.''
He also said given the quality of spinners on either side, they will have their say on the game.
''There is enough moisture in the air and in the ground to allow the ball to grip. At certain stages in the game spinners will have some part to play.''
India's tour of Pakistan: The Complete Coverage