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Pakistan deserve ranking: Gatting

July 15, 2006 23:58 IST

Former England captain Mike Gatting has rated Pakistan as a team of several gifted players and says they deserve to be ranked number two in the rankings.

"It is not a bad side even without Shoaib (Akhtar), Rana (Naved-ul-Hasan), Mohammad (Asif), Younis Khan and (Shoaib) Malik. Once these guys comeback they would be a terrific team," Gatting said as he watched Pakistan on their opening day against England in the first cricket Test at Lord's.

Gatting, however, said he was surprised at the way Pakistanis dropped catches paving the way for England to make a strong start.

"They really did drop some dollies. It might cost them," he was quoted as saying by The News from London.

Gatting also ridiculed suggestions by Pakistan's bowling coach Waqar Younis, who said the players dropped the catches because of visibility problems at the ground.

"I've played here quite often and there have never been any such problems. Probably it's the nerves," he said.

About his finger-wagging confrontation with Pakistan umpire Shakoor Rana almost two decades ago, the Englishman said "Frankly I don't think about what happened that day and wonder why people always keep talking about it.

"It was an unnecessary incident that shouldn't have happened. It was a sad episode," said Gatting, who led England to a memorable Ashes triumph but fell from grace after his spat with Rana and an alleged sexual encounter with a barmaid.

Rana accused Gatting of cheating and had a heated argument with the England skipper on the second day of the Faisalabad Test on England's 1987 tour of Pakistan. Rana refused to officiate the next day unless Gatting gave an apology.

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