Pak unpredictable, warns Aussie opener Langer

Published: Monday, September 23, 2002, 21:36 [IST]
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Perth: Australia would have to be on its guard against unpredictable Pakistan in the Test series to be played next month, Australian opening batsman Justin Langer warned here on Monday.

Despite Pakistan's recent woeful performances, it still had to be viewed cautiously because it had a talented crop of players, he said. Angry Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials last week reacted to the team's dismal form by sacking coach Mudassar Nazar. The team had crashed to defeat in six of 10 recent One-dayers. Langer, speaking as he prepared to leave here to join his team-mates in Colombo, said despite missing several key players for the Test series starting on October 3, Pakistan had to be seen as potentially strong opponents. "They are, besides us, the team with the most naturally talented cricketers, so you always have to be on your guard," he said. The Australia-Pakistan series will be held in Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates after being moved from Pakistan because of player safety fears. Langer said the absence of stars Wasim Akram and Saeed Anwar and injuries to Inzamam- ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana evened up the stakes for the Test series, given Australia's poor record on the subcontinent. "There are a few disappointments," he said. "One is that the series is not in Pakistan, and obviously there are reasons for that. But it is always good to play a Test series in home countries. "Wasim Akram is the best fast bowler I have ever played against in Test cricket and he's not playing, so that is disappointing." But Langer said Australia would still face one of the best bowling attacks in the world -- Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Muhammad Zahid and Abdul Razzaq. Langer, Australia 'A' player-of-the-series in its recent seven-match, One-day tour of South Africa, said he was eager to resume his successful opening partnership with Queenslander Matthew Hayden.

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